two-time North Melbourne premiership coach, Denis Pagan, has revealed he very nearly became coach of the Demons in late 1992.
Pagan, who coach the Kangaroos to premierships in 1996 and 1999 and led the side to finals in all of his eight seasons in charge, said he was interviewed for the vacant coaching job at Melbourne following the departure of John Northey, who left for Richmond.
However, he was ultimately unsuccessful, missing out on the job to Neil Balme.
“A couple of months earlier (prior to getting the Roos job), Melbourne were interviewing for a coach and I got a gig there, so I had done a lot of work,” he said.
“The night before I went for the Melbourne job, I found out that Neil Balme had been appointed.
“I can remember saying to my manager Ron Joseph, “you heard that Neil Balme’s got the job and they still want to interview me tomorrow? I don’t want to do it, tell them to stick it up their jumper.
“Ron said: ‘nah, go along, it’s a great experience. People who interview for coaches they probably do it once in their life, they’re not experts at it and some of them wouldn’t even know if a football coach jumped up in their Weetbix in the morning’. It was the best advice he ever gave me.
“So I went there and I was amazed being interviewed by the board of Melbourne, I went along with the charade and when I finished I can remember (jokingly) saying to (then-Melbourne CEO) Hassa Mann on the way out, ‘you’ll regret this’”.
“When it came to preparing for North Melbourne, all I had to do with put a ‘North’ in front of the ‘Melbourne’ and change the colors from red and blue, to royal blue and white, and the rest was history.”
Neil Balme coached Melbourne for for five seasons, with a record of 98 games, 41 wins and 57 losses.