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Clauses in Alan Richardson’s contract gives the Saints room to end his tenure early

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Published by Staff Writers, 14 August 2018 on foxsports.com.au

A LOOPHOLE in Alan Richardson’s contract could give the Saints a window to end his tenure a year early, according to reports.

In October 2017, the Saints signed their senior coach until the end of the 2020 season, while football boss Simon Lethlean has publicly backed Richardson to coach next year.

But senior AFL reporter Tom Morris says the 2020 season is dependent upon a performance-based trigger clause.

“Make no mistake, Richo’s job isn’t completely safe for next year … the critical thing to understand about Richo’s contract is yes, it goes until 2020 but there’s a trigger clause that gets it to 2020,” Morris said on Fox Footy’s On the Couch.

“So it’s whether if the new president comes in — that’s if Peter Summers steps down — the new president can make the move.

“Now Simon Lethlean … has been unequivocal in his support, that’s understandable,

but everything I’m hearing out of St Kilda, from all different facets of the club, is it’s not a particularly happy place to be right now.

“So we’ll have to wait and see on that, the last two games are crucial.”

Morris’ view was supported by top AFL journalist Caroline Wilson, who said the clauses in Richardson’s contract were performance-based, meaning a poor 2019 could allow the Saints to release him from the final year of his deal without a payout.

“I think Alan Richardson in reality only has one more year on his contract, not two,” Wilson said on Channel 9’s Footy Classified.

“They announced that he was being re-signed until the end of 2020, but my understanding is the clauses beyond 2019 are heavily performance-based.

“If things don’t work out next year, the club will let him go without a payout.”

Wilson said she believed the Saints would back Richardson in for 2019.

“I do think that he will survive into next year,” Wilson said.

“I probably think that’s fair enough, given it sounds to me that Simon Lethlean’s gone in there and identified some real problems within the footy department.”

Melbourne great Garry Lyon said the Saints were currently “non-competitive” and needed to provide Richardson support to improve the club.

“So the next question is … what do they surround him with to make this footy club better?” he said on On the Couch.

“Because they’re sort of non-competitive at the moment.”

Brownlow Medallist Gerard Healy said the Saints had “lost their brand” and gone away from their high-pressure game.

“They are (non-competitive) and they’ve lost their brand,” he said.

“I mean, they continually talk about being a pressure team. Well they’re one of the worst pressure sides in the competition at this stage.

“And you only have to look at how they fell away (against Essendon). That game was there for the taking.”

Between when Essendon hit the front, at the 22-minute mark of the second quarter, and full-time, the Bombers laid 31 tackles to 17, 14 more than their opponent.

In that time, 12 Saints failed to lay a tackle, with the Bombers recording a resounding win despite having zero players on the bench by the final quarter.

Former Sydney and Melbourne coach Paul Roos said the Saints didn’t appear to be “listening” to or “actioning” Richardson’s directions this year.

“Their drop-off has been dramatic,” he said.

“Whatever Alan’s trying to teach them, which he did a terrific job, to be fair to him, for four years, having coached against them, they were a really good pressure team.

“So whatever he’s trying to teach him this year, they’re not listening and they’re certainly not actioning — because that’s a damning stat.

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