MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 07: Alan Richardson, Senior Coach of the Saints looks on before the round three AFL match between the St Kilda Saints and the Adelaide Crows at Etihad Stadium on April 7, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Despite their poor start to the season, St Kilda still believe coach Alan Richardson is the right man for the job.

Club CEO Matt Finnis says he feels for Saints supporters, but believes it is a lengthy process to get the club back where it wants to be and the coach is not their problem.

“The majority of our performances have been completely unacceptable,” Finnis told The Age.

“They’re disheartening for our supporters, and dispiriting in many ways. There’s no hiding from that.

“We don’t think it’s going to change with the flick of a switch. Like anything it’s always a combination of factors. But there’s no use hiding from the reality of our performances being unacceptable and well short of our expectations to date and in sitting round and feeling sorry about that.”

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Richardson is contracted to coach the Saints until the end of 2020 but is already into his fifth season at the club without playing a final.

“The decision that we made (was) based on all of the skills, all of the knowledge, the experience, the relationships, the work that Richo does in our football program, and what we see as the potential for him to continue to add that as he becomes a more experienced senior coach, are all of the reasons why we extend him out,” Finnis said.

“When you do that, you know there’s going to be some speed humps along the way and that the path our goal is not going to be linear.

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“Did we anticipate the kind of football that we played in the first part of the year? No. Are we frustrated with that? Yes. Do we lose faith in the direction that we’ve taken and the people we’ve got?”

“No, not at all. To the contrary, I’m actually really confident that Richo will come out of this process a stronger coach. My job is to support when required, to challenge as appropriate and make sure that we’ve got an environment that he can succeed.”

St Kilda have only beaten Brisbane and drawn with GWS so far this year, and it does not get any easier this week as they face Melbourne on Sunday at Etihad Stadium.