AFTER a six-year tenure as the coach of St Kilda, Alan Richardson decided to join Melbourne at the end of the 2019 season.
The 54-year-old, who has 127 games of coaching experience under his belt, says he wanted to be a part of something special, and thinks the Demons are creating just that.
“The club obviously had a disappointing year, but the build-up prior to last year was certainly heading the right way,” Richardson told Melbourne Media.
“I think the group’s close, obviously a bit of work to do, but selfishly for me, the opportunity to be at a club that’s close to having the ultimate success and all the challenge around that is probably the most exciting thing.”
Richardson is yet to officially start with his new club, but he knows the foundations are set and the personnel is there to take the Dees to the next level.
“There’s a bit of change to the coaching staff but I’ve been really impressed with the guys – I’ve been involved in a little bit of their work,” he said.
“I haven’t officially started yet, but I’ve been dropping into the meetings where they’ve been reviewing and looking at opportunities for the club and the team to improve from a method perspective.
“I think the whole industry acknowledges there’s a lot of talent within the playing group.
“From the exposure I’ve had to a couple of the players already, there’s a want to do something about what happened last year which is exciting.”
Richardson has been in the AFL coaching system since 2003 and knows what it takes to be a part of a successful football department.
While many of his previous roles have been as an assistant coach, next season he will be a more senior figure, looking to assist the development of those around him.
“The title is director of coaching, but the title probably doesn’t mean that much – my role is to support the coaches, to support Goody (Simon Goodwin) and to support the players,” Richardson said.
“That’ll change … but the initial part will be about embedding a method and supporting the coaches in terms of the way we educate the players and teach the players, and also working with the players from time to time.
“Then it swings into performance and supporting the coaches in terms of the way … we review performance, and make sure we can become really consistent and great at what we do as a coaching group.”
Richardson has huge faith in Melbourne’s new coaching setup and says working alongside Goodwin was one of the main attractions when signing with the red and blue.
“He’s a very, very hard working, enthusiastic person,” he said.
“He’s got some real innovation in his coaching. Obviously he comes from a really successful footy club and won a couple of flags himself as a player, so he’s got a real understanding of what it takes.
“He also was a big part of why I joined the footy club.
“He’s an impressive person to talk to. He’s going to leave no stone unturned to make sure this footy club gets success and I’m really looking forward to working with him.”
The duo should be able to complement each other nicely, as Richardson’s understanding for the demands of the top job hold him in good stead for the future.
“I think it will certainly help in terms of my role, particularly with Goody, and then in turn with the coaches, knowing what the coach wants and when he wants it and how he wants it,” he said.
“I’m not Goody and we’re different people, but there are certain fundamentals that you need as a footy coach from your support staff and I think I can really help there.”
With a big pre-season looming, Richardson is looking forward to getting to work, and has no doubt the Demons can use this season’s learnings to become a force in 2020.
“I’m really confident that we all know what happened and to some extent why it happened,” he said.
“And I’m probably even more confident … that the group’s in a head space to do something about what happened.
“In my experience, and I’ve worked at a lot of footy clubs and been in footy a long time, they are really important ingredients in making sure you get turn around, particularly if you have the talent.
“So, I’m excited by what lies ahead.”