Lions great Michael Voss all class, even in his own sacking
MICHAEL Voss was all class on the field, captaining the Brisbane Lions to three premierships and winning all-Australian honours five time.
And he was all class off it as he talked about being sacked by the club that had been his life for 22 years.
Voss, speaking after chairman Angus Johnson confirmed the Lions had spoken to former Swans premiership coach Paul Roos six weeks ago about the role, said he had no problem with the timing of the club's decision and had been aware potential candidates were contacted.
"Certainly there was a process to see whether there were other options," Voss said.
"As a result of that, they've got to take some action. I was aware of that, that there'd been a discussion."
Voss said that like all AFL coaches, he knew he needed to improve the list and the playing group to warrant an extension of his contract.
Coming off 10 wins last season, an 8-11 return in 2013 was obviously not enough for the board, although Voss said he believed five wins in the past eight games had confirmed progress was being made.
"We saw improvement in their training, we saw improvement in individuals, improvement in results ... and I got rather bullish about what the guys could do going forward," he said.
"But the question had to be asked, 'was I the person who was going to get them to the next level?' We are at this level and to go to the next level is a much bigger one ... and they've made that decision that I'm not that person, that it will be someone else.
"From my position, that's good to know. I'd rather know that now than find out later."
Johnson confirmed potential replacements other than Roos had also been contacted and said the selection process would be announced shortly.
Angus Johnson wrote the following to Lions fans
On a personal level - this was a difficult decision.
I've known Michael for 15 years. We've supported each other through good times and bad.
The 2011 floods were an incredibly challenging time for many Queenslanders - my family included.
Like they are for many at the Lions - Michael and his wife Donna were a huge support for us during this time.
All of that has only made this decision, for personal reasons, a difficult one.
But what all it reinforced to me was the need to ensure that the process the Board undertook in determining who was the best person to take our team to the next level was comprehensive, robust and thorough.
It was a decision not taken lightly and it was certainly not a personal one.
This was not a decision that was arrived at over a short period of time.
Michael was aware of the process that we've been going through for some months.
Further to this, we informed Michael six weeks ago that we be would be moving to identify, then contacting and conducting due diligence on a number of potential coaching candidates.
In the interest of transparency for our members and fans - as Paul Roos confirmed in the press this morning, he was one of those contacted.
As you can appreciate, out of respect to Michael and the process that will begin to determine a replacement, I don't intend to go into the detail of who we will be discussing the role further with and won't be providing a running commentary.
The Club will announce the process to be undertaken in appointing a new senior coach in the coming days.
I do, however, want to make it clear that we have not made an appointment at this stage.
In the interim, Mark Harvey will assume the role of Senior Coach, starting this Saturday against GWS at the Gabba.
Decisions like these are never easy and we understand it will be greeted by a mixed reaction from our members and stakeholders.
Ultimately, though, we are adamant that we have made the right decision and acted in the best interests of the Brisbane Lions Football Club.
The Board made an offer to Michael to see out the season. That offer was declined and we accept and fully understand the reasons for that.
As I said earlier, the decision not to offer Michael a contract extension was made following a robust, thorough and comprehensive process.
The Board resolved that a fresh approach was required to ensure the Club reached the next level.
Football is a results-driven industry, however, out of respect for Michael, as well as others and the process, I won't be commenting further on that.
At our meeting yesterday, the Board for the first time reached a unanimous outcome, signalling the end of the process.
We had a choice - sit down with Michael in three weeks' time and pretend everything was fine, or be up front and advise him now.
Subsequently we strongly believed that it was in the best interests of the Club and to Michael to inform him immediately rather than wait until the end of the season.
While Michael achieved so much at this Club as a player - I do want to acknowledge the contribution he has made over the past five years as senior coach.
The progress the team has made since 2011 and the efforts in developing our young list, along with others within the football department, will hopefully be an equally significant part of his legacy.