ALAN Richardson has resigned as coach of St Kilda.
Richardson reached the decision after speaking with his management at the weekend, revealing that he came to the conclusion that his time at the helm was coming to an end following the Saints heavy loss to North Melbourne a fortnight ago.
“The conversation with (chief executive) Matt Finnis have been really honest,” said Richardson.
“It started from the start of the year, on the back of the year before, that the team was going to need to show significant improvement.”
“I caught up with Matt after the Kangaroos game down in Tasmania. It was then that there was some real frankness about the unlikelihood of going ahead.”
“No decision had been made, but certainly Matt, I presume felt it was the right time to really be quite transparent in terms of what that might look like. I personally then felt like it was a real challenge to be the coach that I needed to be.”
“There is still a lot of footy left in the year and there are conversations with players that we’re not allowed to talk about from other footy clubs where you’re turning up and pitching. You want them to join your footy club and there’s uncertainty around the senior coach…that doesn’t really work.”
“Once you get an understanding of where it all sits, the footy club needs to start a process in terms of looking for a coach.”
“Really, it’s as simple as, ‘I’ve had my crack at it, it hasn’t worked, and it’s time for someone else to have a go’.”
Richardson entered the 2019 season under immense pressure after a four-win campaign in 2018.
With several key players sidelined by injury, Richardson was only able to manage the six victories across the opening 17 rounds.
“I think the coaching group, of which I’m the head of, has done a good job (this year),” Richardson said when looking at this season in isolation.
“But there is some reality to the fact that the whole thing has got to work, the business of the footy club has got to work. The belief from key stakeholders has got to be that we’re going the right way.”
“Given the sum of work and the fact that we haven’t won enough games or been consistent enough, it’s time for someone else to step in.”
Assistant Brett Ratten will take the reins for the remainder of the year, with the Saints not revealing whether they will go after an experienced replacement.
Instead, Finnis reiterated that the club will look for the best person for the role.
“(The coaching sub-committee) will be charged with the responsibility of aggressively pursuing the right person to coach our footy club and take that step forward,” said Finnis.
“We’re not putting any limits on that in terms of what that background might be or what the strengths are of that particular person.”
“We’re razor sharp in our focus of doing everything we can to win our second premiership here. That’s going to take a lot of work, but this appointment is a pivotal one in that process.”
“It will be a rigorous process and we won’t leave any stone unturned. We’ll aggressively be in the market to get the right coach for our club.”
St Kilda president Andrew Bassatt paid tribute to Richardson’s time at the club.
“Alan’s selflessness and focus on what is right for the playing group and club has always been immense, but it’s perhaps been best demonstrated in the past two days through his decision to step aside and allow the club the time and space to find the next coach of the St Kilda Football Club,” said Bassatt.
“There is no escaping the significant setbacks we have faced this year in regards to player availability, and these, as you would expect, have been taken into account in our decision.”
“Ultimately, after six years under Alan leadership, the team performance and the position in which we find ourselves isn’t where it needs to be.”
“This responsibility doesn’t just sit with the senior coach, and indeed we feel that the performance of Alan and the rest of the coaching group in adverse circumstances this year is to be commended.”
“However, after significant consideration, we believe the time is right to introduce a new voice to oversee the next stage in our development and drive us forward.”
Bassatt said the club will undergo a thorough process to find the coach best equipped to guide them to their second premiership.
“Speculation the club has a pre-determined position on potential candidates should be completely disregarded,” Bassatt said.
“I cannot overstate the value everyone at the football club places in strong governance, and any suggestion otherwise is simply unfounded.”
“We will first put together a selection committee, which I will chair, to evaluate all possible options for the role.”
“As our members would expect, we will be incredibly thorough and open-minded as we search for the right senior coach to lead us to a second premiership.”