Newly-appointed Essendon president David Barham has confirmed a call on senior coach Ben Rutten's future will be made on Sunday, while also confirming the Bombers had approached coaching great Alastair Clarkson this week.
Barham fronted the media just days after being promoted to the Bombers' top job and merely hours after Clarkson was confirmed as North Melbourne's next coach on a five-year deal, informing Rutten of the club's discussions with the former Hawks coach.
When questioned on whether Rutten will remain at the helm for the final year of his contract, Barham said a decision will be made as early as this weekend.
"We're gonna decide that on Sunday," Barham said.
"Obviously, we have a plan B. We will meet as a board on Sunday and we'll put plan B into action."
Barham admitted the club hadn't acted as quick as they could have in courting Clarkson, however remained apologetic to Rutten and the players in regards to how the week has panned out.
While no candidate looms as a likely successor to Rutten given Clarkson's allegiance to Arden Street, the Bombers have been left in a "horrible" position.
Speaking on the club's advances to Clarkson despite Rutten's ties to the club, Barham stated it was his due diligence to approach "the best coach of the last 20 years", despite its impacts on their current senior coach.
"It's certainly hurt him, it hasn't helped," Barham said of Rutten.
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"I'm not happy about that, but at the same time if I'm the President of Essendon and the best coach of the last 20 years is sitting out there and expressed an interest in Essendon and I don't go and see him, what do you think the members and fans will think of me?"
“It’s been horrible, but my job is to make sure the footy club is the best footy club it can be."
"I had a really long chat to 'Clarko'," he said.
"He's a terrific bloke, great coach. I'm not gonna reveal what we talked about. But he was respectful.
"I'm not sure what Hirdy's got to do with it to be honest. Nobody has spoken about Hirdy.
When asked if Hird was a chance to coach the club, Barham replied: "Does he want to?"
"I haven't asked him."
Rutten is set to address the media on Friday.
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