By DAVID NAGEL
CRANBOURNE’s drought-breaking 2011 premiership coach Doug Koop will not be leading the club in 2014 after a stunning week of developments at Casey Fields.
Koop was called into a meeting with Eagles president Gerry Kelly and football and sponsorship director Shane Baker after training last Thursday night, and told his contract would not be renewed for next season.
Kelly denied the decision was player driven and said after six years at the helm it was time for a change.
“Doug Koop has been a great servant to Cranbourne Football Club for many years, and will leave a mark of excellence on the club for the next generation coming through, but there comes a time when a new voice needs to be heard,” Kelly said.
“After consideration of several factors the board is of the view that it is best for the club and for Doug that a new coaching regime be employed.”
Koop was under the impression that negotiations were on track for 2014, and even beyond, and was stunned by the news when it was delivered.
“It came as a complete shock,” Koop said.
“We’ve been talking, as we always do at this time of year, about what the club needs to move forward, and I thought things were on track.
“I feel extremely let down by the club, the decision and the process to reach this decision is very hard to accept. I would have thought that at the very least I would have had the opportunity to put forward my plans for next season,”
Kelly said the timing of the decision may seem strange, but it gave both parties the opportunity to move forward and he hoped it would reinvigorate the club for the remainder of the season.
“Doug can do what he has to do to plan for next season, and so can the Cranbourne Football Club,” Kelly said.
“We’re still hopeful we can win this year’s premiership and that the decision will totally reinvigorate the club.”
Kelly met with the players after their recovery session on Sunday and said the meeting was very positive.
“The players are aware there are problems at the club and that decisions need to be made to move forward,” he said.
Koop will coach out the 2013 season and is also hopeful the club can cause a massive upset in September.
“The players have been fantastic and I just want to finish the journey with them in the best way possible,” Koop said.
“I still our best football can be competitive against any team in the competition and that’s what we’ll be striving for in the coming weeks.”