St Kilda’s decision to sack Brett Ratten just over three months after re-signing him has been ridiculed by former AFL stars Garry Lyon and Kane Cornes.
Ratten’s contract was terminated by the club last week despite a mid-year contract extension, with Saints president Andrew Bassat and CEO Simon Lethlean insisting the findings of a football review necessitated the backflip.
Still, there has been immense blowback from the AFL world towards the decision, which was added to by Lyon on Monday.
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President tells how Ratten lost his job | 01:06
“It’s a balls up any way you look at it,” Lyon said on SEN Breakfast.
“Rightfully, there would be St Kilda supporters and long-term members out there who are saying, ‘Ok, what faith should we have in you as a football club to now make the right decision given that only 99 days ago you deemed that Brett Ratten was going to be your man and in the space of three months you’ve turned around and changed your mind again’.
“Why should we have trust and faith that you’re going to get it right this time?”
Some critics have taken aim at Bassat and Lethlean for their role in Ratten’s messy departure.
Cornes – Lyon’s co-host – added to the blowback towards the pair.
“The people that re-signed him sacked him. I get you’ve got to be respectful to the coach on the way out, but I don’t know what they’ve uncovered in terms of Brett Ratten’s leadership style,” Cornes said.
“Clearly, the review was scathing on that. Now, they don’t want to say that because you’ve got to let Brett Ratten walk out the door with some dignity.
“This struck me, it was Andrew Bassat speaking about the fact that they decided to sack him but then they made his plead for his job.”
“So, you make the decision on the back of a review then you sit him down for seven hours and get him to plead for his job and convince you that you got something wrong.
“How humiliating is that.”
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During Bassat and Lethlean’s press conference to announce Ratten’s departure, Bassat said the club effectively asked Ratten to justify his job in what were ultimately the final days of his tenure.
Such an edict was widely panned, with Lyon joining the chorus on Monday.
“I found that strange as well. In their eyes, were they just being too respectful?”, he said.
“If after 99 days you go to make the decision that we mucked that up badly, therefore we know how hard this is going to be, and we know we’re going to be criticised and we know we’ll look like a laughing stock but we’re going to make the call anyway.
“In some weird sort of twisted way, I admire that. Well, don’t then turn around and go, ‘Can you talk us out of it?’. They can say we were certain 99 days ago, why then do we have faith in you to be certain this time?
“If they were certain they’d go, ‘Nup, you’re gone, I know it’s harsh and I know we’re going to look like mongrels’.
“What were the things that they did uncover that said this necessitated a 99-day turnaround?”