New North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson says he couldn’t seriously consider Essendon’s offer as he feared prolonging his decision would “take hostage of the game”.
Clarkson said he would have needed until at least September to do his “due diligence” on the Bombers, but ultimately decided he didn’t want to leave anyone lingering any longer.
“I only really spoke to (new Bombers president) Dave Barham briefly. For me this whole process of trying to do due diligence for them on me on them but also me on the club and see if we were suited to each other was a three, four, five, six-week process,” Clarkson said On the Couch.
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“For the Bombers, whilst it was flattering that they expressed interest, it was really a four-day process – two of which I was in Adelaide and couldn’t even speak to Essendon really.
“It was too hasty. The timing wasn’t right and I was just too far down the process with GWS and North Melbourne to be fair.”
Clarkson also revealed why GWS was ruled out of the running, with his family ties crucial to his decision.
“It just didn’t suit our family at the time (to relocate to Sydney),” he said.
“We’ve got a daughter that lives in Brisbane and son who might be in the Northern Territory next year.
“If we were to be in Sydney and our other daughter was going to be in Melbourne it was just like … where is home for all our kids?
“It just didn’t fit.
“I was so impressed with (GWS panel) Tony Shepherd, Dave Matthews, Jimmy Bartel and Jason McCartney. They’ve got some real optimism about how they are going to go about it at the Giants.
“Both of (North and GWS) were very real up until last Tuesday when my management and I informed GWS that due to family reasons it just wasn’t going to suit us.
“At that point in time it was going to be North until that phone call from Essendon.”
Clarkson admitted he wanted to hear the club’s pitch, despite the 11th hour bid.
“They are a big club, a proud club,” he said.
“When I was most impressionable with my football which was around the late ‘70s early ‘80s when Sheeds took over and took that club to back to back flags and Roger Merrett and Glen Hawker were from my home town, Essendon wowee!
“It was just like, let’s give this some consideration.
“But once we did realise it was all too hasty and what sat really uncomfortably with me, was that the whole process you take hostage of the game. It’s right across the media.
“There’s just so many people in the industry that are relying on a decision to be made quickly.
“I’d already been involved in the GWS and North Melbourne processes for four weeks.
“To do my due diligence and they on me at Essendon it would have just extended it out for another two weeks probably. And it’s just like … I can’t go through that any further.”
Clarkson even laughed when asked what he thoughts of comments made by Bombers great Kevin Sheedy, suggesting his arrival at North Melbourne would see the club relocate to Tasmania.
“Sheeds is Sheeds. He’s been a great ambassador for the game, not just for his footy club,” he said.
“I think we’ve got a lot to be grateful for with Sheeds.
“But sometimes he just shoots from the hip and you just wear it whatever comes his way.”
Clarkson had been part of the Tasmanian taskforce as an advisor for a 19th AFL team, before taking on the North Melbourne job last week.