Alastair Clarkson says his decision to coach North Melbourne “just felt right” after the club beat out Essendon for the four-time premiership boss’ signature.
The Kangaroos on Friday morning confirmed the super coach would join the club on a five-year deal, putting an end to week-long speculation around his much-anticipated decision.
Speaking to media on Friday afternoon, Clarkson opened on his decision.
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“There was sentiment with Essendon, and I‘ve got enormous respect for GWS, but this just felt right. I feel comfortable here. It was a difficult position to be in, and I was aware it was becoming a circus. I don’t like being the centre of attention,” he said.
Clarkson said the approach from Essendon came “far too late” to seriously consider.
“We were so far down the road with North and GWS, the Essendon process came far too late to give it serious consideration.
“It was really out of respect that I listened to what they had to say. Due diligence takes a lot longer than four days, for me.”
In a letter to members, president Sonja Hood described the coup as a “real watershed moment for our club”.
“I’m delighted to announce that last night Alastair Clarkson agreed to coach the North Melbourne Football Club for the next five seasons, Hood said.
“Our former number 23, Shinboner #781, and four-time premiership coach will lead our talented, young group from 2023 until at least 2027.
“This is a real watershed moment for our club. I am writing to share it with members and supporters first … this is a moment for all of us.
“Today is a good day. Alastair’s coming home. To our home.”
Hood praised Clarkson and his manager James Henderson for how the handled the delicate negotiations.
“I can’t speak highly enough of the professionalism of Alastair and his manager James Henderson over this past four weeks. We’ve had a crash course in getting to know each other and Alastair’s passion to drive our club back to where we belong is incredibly infectious,” she wrote.
Clarkson will officially take over the reins from November 1.