Long time coming .... new St Kilda coach Alan Richardson. Photo: Wayne Taylor
St Kilda has unveiled Alan Richardson as their new coach to replace the sacked Scott Watters. After days of negotiations between various parties, including talks between St Kilda and Richardson's former club Port Adelaide, the 48-year-old was appointed and said it was a "great honour" to earn an AFL senior coaching position, a role he had sought for several years.
"The direction the club has already started taking in terms of the list is something that really excites me," said Richardson said, who agreed to a three-year deal with the Saints.
Alan Richardson narrowly missed the job two years ago. Photo: Vince Caligiuri
"Culturally we want to make sure we're a really competitive, aggressive and hard-working footy team,’’ he said. "I’ve always had aspirations to coach my own team."
Richardson has been strongly praised by Port coach Ken Hinkley after the Power surged from 14th last year to fifth in 2013 in Richardson’s first season at the club as director of coaching.
A former assistant at Carlton, Collingwood, Essendon and Western Bulldogs, the tough defender played 114 games for the Magpies and missed the 1990 grand final through injury.
Richardson, who was overlooked for the St Kilda job two years ago when the Saints opted for Watters, had initially signalled to Port on Tuesday night he was not interested in applying for the Saints’ job again.
However by Wednesday morning informed the Port management he had reconsidered his position.
St Kilda president Peter Summers said the Saints board interviewed a number of applicants, before ratifying the decision to appoint Richardson. ‘‘Our new coach comes with a wealth of experience,’’ said Summers.
Richmond senior development coach Mark Williams, who guided Port to their only AFL flag in 2004, had previously been favoured for the top job at St Kilda.
But it’s understood the Saints baulked at Williams' request for a five-year contract.
The Saints finished third-last in 2013 with a 5-17 win-loss record and will have three top-20 picks in next week's national draft including pick three.
Earlier on Thursday Richardson arrived at Seaford on Thursday, hours after Port chairman David Koch blasted the Saints for waiting until November to sack Watters.
Earlier in the day, Koch had suggested the Power could match any financial offer made to Richardson.
"As far as we're concerned, he's on contract until the end of 2015 and that's the way it stays," Koch told Channel Seven's Sunrise program.
"Our view is it's the start of the pre-season.
"Yes, St Kilda are a club in turmoil, well sort it out, don't spread that to us."
Richardson had another two years remaining on his contract with Port Adelaide. But the new Saints coach said Koch had been ‘‘very understanding’’ about his decision to leave the Power just one year into a three-year contract.