Media reports swirling this morning that St Kilda have parted ways with embattled coach Alan Richardson have been confirmed.
Tom Browne of 7 News Melbourne tweeted the update this morning and the Saints have recently confirmed the news via an official statement.
“On behalf of everyone at the football club, from the board to the players, staff and supporters, I want to thank Alan for his commitment and contribution,” said club president Andrew Bassat.
“Alan brought great integrity, knowledge and experience to our football program, and under his leadership, the foundation for future success has been laid.
“He inherited his role at a difficult point in the club’s history, developed the young players now beginning to make their mark, took the club to the cusp of two finals appearances, and in recent times, showed great resilience in the face of adversity.
“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.
“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’s leadership, the team performance and the position in which we find ourselves isn’t where it needs to be.
“This responsibility doesn’t just rest 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.”
Former Carlton coach and Hawthorn assistant Brett Ratten – who joined the club earlier this season – has been confirmed as the interim replacement for the rest of the season.
In his sixth year at the helm of the club, Richardson faced intense speculation as to his future after the Saints found themselves anchored to the bottom four for the second year running. That speculation grew more intense in recent weeks when football boss Simon Lethlean was spotted sitting in the coaches box.
Coming into 2017 and 2018, they’d been considered strong chances to return to the finals for the first time since 2011, but missed in disappointing circumstances on both occasions.
It is the third coaching move this season after Brad Scott departed North Melbourne and Brendon Bolton was sacked by Carlton earlier this season. Both clubs have enjoyed vastly improved fortunes under caretaker coaches.