The photo we saw of Alan Richardson following his stepping down as the coach of the St. Kilda Saints showed him with a properly downcast expression, but he is probably happy on the inside to be relieved of the burden of a lost cause.
The Saints do not have a prayer until they find a senior group of players who can play at the level of the 1966 group that brought St. Kilda its first and only AFL premiership. Okay, VFL for the sticklers.
Richardson was in place for 126 games. From 2014, the Saints won 43, lost 81 and had two matches drawn. He played 114 games for Collingwood from 1987 to 1995, when the Pies were only mediocre, so here is a bloke who needs and deserves a break.
In the Toyota 2019 AFL Premiership competition, the Saints were mathematically eliminated from finals. It took math 17 games to figure out what we knew back in March.
Our faith that the true Saints would emerge following four wins from their first five came to fruition and the Saints have lost four consecutive and five of their last six.
We have often expressed the view that the failure of the players should not be laid at the doorstep of the coach, but the St. Kilda club deserves credit for giving Richardson an ample opportunity to turn the Saints around. Coaches are aware of the stakes when they accept the reins, so all we can say is that we wish Richardson well, along with a chance to coach a decent club.
The Saints saw a promising start wasted when they lost five key players to injuries and a sixth to mental health issues.
With six games remaining in the 2019 season, St. Kilda joins the list of clubs seeking a coaching solution that includes Carlton and North Melbourne.