Hawthorn president Andrew Newbold has surprisingly resigned on the eve of the season handing over to vice-president Richard Garvey as the Hawks re-signed chief executive Stuart Fox to a three-year contract extension.
And further to that desire for stability and unity at the club Newbold said he expected four-time premiership coach Alastair Clarkson, who is out of contract at season's end, to be re-signed soon but said this was now a question for Garvey and Fox.
Hawthorn president Andrew Newbold resigns
Andrew Newbold on Tuesday announced he has stepped down from his position as president of the Hawthorn Football Club, with his resignation effective from today.
After three successive flags, establishing the Hawks among the most financially powerful clubs in the league and giving his successor a year to embed in the job created the perfect timing in Newbold's mind to step away now as Hawthorn president.
The ability to extend Fox's contract by three years and tie him to the club until 2020 was a further factor in that idea of seamless transition.
By moving now and allowing vice-president Richard Garvey a year in the top job before an election at the end of the year to choose the president would enshrine the stability at the club that he says has been fundamental to their success.
"I thought about it over the summer and I think now the time is right," Newbold said.
"On the back of multiple premierships and with the club in good shape, now feels like the right time to hand over the reins. Some people have told me I am going at the wrong time - I won't be here for 'Fourthorn' but I would enjoy that no matter what I was doing.
"Going now gives another person the chance to create their own vision and the move to Dingley is something that someone has to own from the start to the finish and I think Richard (Garvey) is perfect for that."
The new or acting Hawthorn president grew up an Essendon fan and only adopted the Hawks as his club after joining the board.
Garvey as a director of accounting firm KPMG audited Hawthorn's books for years before Newbold and former Victorian premier and ex-Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett asked him to join the board.
"Sandy Ferguson said if you embrace Hawthorn, Hawthorn will embrace you and that is how I felt. Within six months of joining the board my wife died of Leukemia and the players wore black arm bands. That was a sign to me of that embrace," Garvey said.
Other clubs' board members and presidents have supported or had affiliations with other clubs before taking roles at clubs. Melbourne president Glenn Bartlett is a former West Coast player and former Sydney chairman Richard Colless was on the Eagles board before joining the Swans.
Newbold said of his time as president that he was proudest not of how successful the team had been on the field but the humility the players displayed in the face of that success.
"It's been a fantastic thing for me and big part of my life - it is about two-and-a-half days of work a week and another on match day during a season - but I have loved every minute of it."
He spoke to the players and staff on Tuesday to inform them of the decision and in particular praised the "upstairs staff" for the club's on-field success.
"I told the boys they could not have done what they have done without our (non-football) staff."
Newbold took over from Kennett in 2011 and while he arrived with a low profile he proved to be a strong and vocal advocate for Hawthorn, especially regarding the equalisation measures.
"Throughout my tenure the club has been transformed into a powerful organisation, both on and off the field, and I always wanted to be able to step down when I was still enjoying the role," Newbold said.
"It has been a rewarding 13 years for myself and my family, but my motto has always been to leave two days earlier rather than a day late and now is the time."
"The board, club and I have always made well thought out counter-intuitive decisions and I see this as another of those."