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Saints snare Alan Richardson

Alan Richardson is expected to front the Saints group at next week's national draft

Alan Richardson is expected to front the Saints group at next week's national draft Photo: Getty Images

Alan Richardson will be installed as St Kilda's new coach on Thursday after the Saints lured the Port Adelaide assistant to Melbourne on Wednesday following two weeks of private negotiations with his manager Gerard Sholly.

Port Adelaide was left blindsided on Tuesday night after Richardson backflipped on an earlier statement and contacted senior coach Ken Hinkley at about 10pm to reveal he harboured an ambition to coach the Saints. 

Richardson was holding talks with the St Kilda coaching panel on Wednesday night – a meeting widely regarded as a formal pathway to the senior coaching job.

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Although the Saints were still insisting no decision had been made, that was not the view held by Port after meeting Richardson earlier in the day.

Mark Williams, the other final shortlisted candidate for the job, spoke with St Kilda on Wednesday, although it is understood the Saints had not yet informed the Richmond senior assistant of their decision.

As reported in Fairfax Media on Wednesday, Richardson had indicated he was not prepared to undergo a lengthy interview process with St Kilda having done so two years earlier and missed the job, which went to Scott Watters.

Richardson and Hinkley together contacted Port boss Keith Thomas shortly before midnight Tuesday and the trio met again at 7am on Wednesday, where Thomas made no secret of his displeasure at the process and the timing of the Saints' power play.

''It's a bit deflating,'' Thomas told The Age. ''I am genuinely dismayed about the lateness of the process and the position it now puts us in.

''We will now get on with it and ultimately let it go. He (Richardson) understands that, he doesn't feel good about it but it's an opportunity he felt he had to pursue.

''Something clearly changed. He has assured us he was not talking to St Kilda prior to yesterday although his manager had been in regular contact and I think what it showed us is that he harboured ambitions to be a senior coach and that is something we could not compete with.''

The Saints never gave up on Richardson despite their genuine interest in Williams. Richardson is one year into a three-year contract at Alberton and three weeks ago began negotiations with the club to extend his deal by a further two years. He recently returned from a Port Adelaide-sponsored leadership conference in London and had been planning to relocate his family to Adelaide for 2014 – including booking his children into new schools.

''Today I'm not happy,'' said Thomas, ''but I can't be too critical. He's made his decision with his eyes wide open and St Kilda have got a good man.'' 

Richardson is expected to front the Saints group at next week's national draft on the Gold Coast and the following week fly with the players to train in Colorado.

He was first contacted by Pelchen shortly after Watters was sacked. On that occasion Richardson is understood to have knocked back an informal request from Pelchen to place his hat in the ring for the coaching position.

Port's displeasure on Wednesday mirrored that of Richmond's last week when chief executive Brendon Gale said he it would not be unreasonable to hold Williams to his contract at Tigerland.

Richardson had contacted the club on Tuesday and requested it release a statement refuting reports he was being interviewed by St Kilda. The statement said Richardson had ''no interest'' and was placed on Port's website after senior club officials had asked Richardson if he was ''absolutely sure'' he wanted to make such a definitive denial.

Richardson, who played 114 games with Collingwood, is 48, one year older than Hinkley and like his Port Adelaide colleague has missed on a number of senior coaching roles in recent years having worked as an assistant at Richmond, Collingwood, Essendon, the Western Bulldogs and Carlton.

He is understood to have rejected overtures from Essendon and Brisbane in recent months to present for senior coaching jobs.

47 comments

  • I'm a Freo fan and been to plenty of games. Saints fans are right up there (if not) the best in Australia. For them and them alone I hope Saint Kilda get their act together. Personally I feel a few of my Saint Kilda friends could run the club more productively than current era. sad thing is, I'm really not joking. Go Saints! Next years motto should be "For the Fans" and everyone should play and act accordingly

    Commenter
    mickeydocker
    Location
    South Perth
    Date and time
    November 13, 2013, 9:20PM
    • Well I've to many football games and find your comment about St Kilda supporters being the best in the country absolutely laughable. However, Freo supporters would have to be the worst so I suppose any other club's supporters would look good to you.
      Still laughing, don't know if I'll be able to get to sleep now. And may the Saints rot at the bottom of the ladder for a few more years yet.

      Commenter
      Rob
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      November 13, 2013, 10:40PM
    • This just HAS TO BE a joke!
      St Kilda supporters would have to be the most spiteful, uneducated on footballing matters, sooky, whiny, walk out at half-time bunch if bandwagon clowns I've had the displeasure of witnessing.

      Commenter
      DanB
      Date and time
      November 13, 2013, 11:36PM
    • @danb....how could st kilda fans be band wagoners if they haven't won a premiership since 1966? I think they are one of the most loyal supporter bases along with the dogs and north melbourne, The top band wagoners would be hawthorn by a country mile followed by collingwood. Hawthorn have a massive supporter base when they are going well but they have 5 bad years and they nearly had to merge. They are the biggest fair weather supporter base made up primarily of 30-45 year olds who just went for the team that was going the best in the 80s and only follow them when they are winning.

      Commenter
      Ben
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      November 14, 2013, 12:56AM
    • Ben, just some facts. The Hawks nearly merged due to financial mismanagement. The club made the finals that year and our membership grew dramatically while we were down the bottom. I'm a little older than 45.Born and bred at glenferrie. Just lucky I guess. Envy is the real curse.

      Commenter
      Steve k
      Date and time
      November 14, 2013, 6:59AM
    • Steve k I agree with you. (And I am not a Hawks supporter.) Many clubs at that time were on the brink of extinction or mergers and it wasn't due to fickly supporters.

      Commenter
      Rob
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      November 14, 2013, 12:10PM
    • I'm a Saints fan, but you can't just say that a certain club's supporters act a certain way. In every club (yes, even Collingwood) there are good and bad eggs.

      Commenter
      Ben
      Location
      Canberra
      Date and time
      November 14, 2013, 2:25PM
  • Any admission of being wrong yesterday, Caro, while knocking St Kilda, for a change?

    Commenter
    Groundhog Day
    Date and time
    November 13, 2013, 9:42PM
    • Yep. Just when my club starts to get its act together with an excellent coaching panel and get some results we get raped again. I hate modern football.

      Commenter
      Tony
      Location
      Port Adelaide
      Date and time
      November 13, 2013, 9:43PM
      • I think you should be more careful with your choice of words - especially in the present St Kilda environment. I am surprised the editor allowed your comment

        Commenter
        Gaz
        Location
        Yarrawonga
        Date and time
        November 14, 2013, 8:06AM

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