by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago
Rumors of discontent between Coach Scott Watters and the rest of St Kilda were rampant during the latter part of the season. Watters went on SEN's Morning Glory program to dispel the rumors. When asked about discord between himself and football manager Chris Pelchen, Watters dismissed the suggestion as "almost laughable." He also said that he had been assured by new president Peter Sumners that the club saw him as a long-term coach.
Just hours later, Watters was out as senior coach. His departure came on the heels of assistant coach Dean Laidley leaving the club to take up a position with Carlton's coaching staff. President Sumners denied there was any rift between Watters and the club, but said the reasons for the sacking would remain confidential. He did indicate that an internal review identified poor relationships between Watters and other senior figures at the club, however he reiterated that it had played no part in the sacking. Sumners was not aware of Watters' interview on SEN, an interview Watters himself initiated without consulting or getting approval from the club's media department.
The club wasted no time in setting up a committee to seek a replacement. Initially the Saints were keen on former Port senior coach Mark Williams, now a development coach with Richmond. However the Tigers said they would hold Williams to his contract. It is also believed that Williams wanted a five year deal to cross to the Saints, a deal the Saints rejected. They then set out to obtain Alan Richardson. Port initially told the Saints they would not let Richardson go but relented after Richardson had a chat with Port officials. Less than two weeks after Watters' departure, Richardson was installed as senior coach without the usual interview process.
At first, Richardson had said he had not been interested in applying for the job after having missed out on several other senior spots over the past several years. He then decided it was a chance "too good to pass up". Richardson comes to St Kilda well-credentialed, having served as an assistant coach at Carlton, Essendon and the Bulldogs as well as development officer at Collingwood where he played 14 games.
Source: theage.com.au, sen.com.au, AFL Record Season Guide
Article last changed on Monday, December 30, 2013 - 5:56 PM EST