Ben Rutten’s manager has slammed Essendon’s “fundamentally not right” treatment of the Bombers coach and says the club’s handling of this week’s coaching saga involving Alastair Clarkson has been poor.
Rutten’s tenure at the Bombers is heading or an ugly ending, likely to coach his last game in Saturday night’s clash against Richmond despite Essendon’s pursuit of Clarkson falling short after the coaching great decided to join North Melbourne.
Speaking on RSN radio, TLA management’s Adam Ramanauskas joined in a chorus of those who’ve hit out at the treatment of Rutten, who’s contracted for next season.
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“I think it’s been really disappointing the way it’s unfolded. You’ve got to look at the human side … the behaviour and the way he’s been treated is fundamentally not right,” Ramanauskas said.
“Whether that’s Ben Rutten or another senior coach, we’ve got to understand there’s only 18 of these jobs available in the country, it’s a very high-pressure job. The way you treat these individuals is critical to the success at your football club.
“I just think the way and the manner in which it’s been handled has been poor.”
New Bombers president David Barham, who took over from Paul Brasher amid a week of turmoil at the Tullamarine-based club, is set to speak to the media on Friday ahead of Saturday night’s clash with Richmond.
Rutten is meanwhile still expected to front the media for his weekly Friday press conference following the turbulent week including a frank meeting with Barham at his Mount Macedon property.
“It needs to be clear communication, and that comes from senior leaders at a football club. Ben is still under contract, Ben’s still got another 12 months remaining on his contract, but the club has openly said their speaking to another senior coach,” Ramanuskas added.
“Three weeks ago they said publicly he’s their coach. I’m not sure how that’s fair that you’re treating a person in this manner.
“A lot of people will say, ‘the club has got to be ruthless’ — that’s fine, but communicate with people if you’re going to go down this path. Have a clear plan set out.”
Asked how Rutten is going amid the ugly saga, Ramanuskas said: “It’s fair to say Monday and probably half of Tuesday were pretty difficult days because no one was telling him what was going on.
“He was reading on Monday that he’s been sacked. There was nobody telling him otherwise, which id a really hard situation for anyone to be in.
“He was calling a lot of people and wasn’t getting much response back at that stage.
“That’s what I’m talking about — the communication and the wat the club behaves — they’ve got to line up.”
Ramanuskas said at no stage has Rutten consider walking out on the club due to his “responsibility to the players and win a game this week” and given he’s under contract and that reports he’s lost the playing group are “absolutely incorrect.”
And he even said Rutten could coach on at the club next year.
“Absolutely he could, and I think that’s based on the endorsement from the players, that’s first and foremost. If we had lost the players, that becomes pretty difficult,” he said.
“Relationships would need to be mended, no doubt about that, but I still think there’s a scenario where he can still coach the Essendon Football Club.”
Clarkson broke his silence on the coaching saga on Thursday and labelled the situation “embarrassing”.
“It’s quite embarrassing to be fair to be quite the central figure in all this,” Clarkson told Channel 10 on Thursday night.
“You know, I’ve got enormous respect for the three guys involved in their clubs, you know Spike McVeigh, Truck Rutten and Patch Adams are all terrific people and they’re trying to do the right things by their clubs.
“In particular with the situation around Truck, you know he’s still got a year of his contract to run and it’s quite embarrassing being the centre of attention in a situation it’s just so difficult for both him and his club.
“I’d prefer to be able to get off the back page and I know full well that this circus will end once I can make a decision one way or another.
“So the sooner I can do that the better.”