How did this come about?
At a tense press conference on Friday, Clarkson acted like an awkward father playing cool when he handed a P license plate the keys to the family car: Whatever you do, don’t scratch the paint.
Meanwhile, Kennett raffled off the club’s family club mantra.
“We recognize that while we are a family club, and this has not been the most traditional way for a family to behave, it does happen from time to time,” he said.
One of the hardest decisions in football is knowing when to fire a legendary coach. History has shown that it doesn’t always work.
The most disastrous was the Demons’ call to sensationally fire coach Norm Smith a year after winning the prime minister in 1964. Melbourne hasn’t won a flag since.
The situation Essendon faced in 2007 was very different, when the Bombers ousted Kevin Sheedy after 26 years and four prime ministerial positions. In his last three seasons, Sheeds posted finishes of 13, 15 and 12. However, they gave him a decent sendoff.
Clarkson hasn’t had a very good past few years either. After being in the top four in 2018, Hawthorn collapsed to the bottom rungs of the ladder and is ready for a lengthy rebuild.
Tony Wilson, author of 1989: The Grand Grand Final, Clarkson said he deserved to sit among the pantheon of those who have led Hawthorn.
“It’s in the Mount Rushmore of Hawthorn coaches,” he said. “We will sculpt the faces of [John] Kennedy, [Allan] Jeans and Clarkson. Maybe add [David] Parkin too, because you need a room. “
Wilson says many Hawks fans had come to peace with the move to Mitchell as a standby coach, but Clarkson’s deal had irritated his fans.
“The fact that they have not been able to handle the personalities or the transfer professionally, that has upset everyone,” he said.
“It was always going to be difficult to lose him. We were ready to be hurt, he is up to 16 or 17 years old, we knew the end would come soon.
“But you want it to go well and you want the club to be professional and reflect its greatness. He has brought incredible loyalty. “
One of the quirks of Hawthorn’s decision is that his leftovers could be another club’s treasure.
Clarkson will be the most in-demand coach to hit the market for several years, should he decide to do so again.
If Clarkson succeeds at another club, Kennett is sure to find out for the rest of his days.
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