Alastair Clarkson has chosen North Melbourne.
Clarkson has agreed to a five-year deal, turning his back on a desperate last-ditch bid by the Bombers.
The four-time premiership coach had a relaxed start to what shapes as a defining day, jogging with his dog, Beaver, along beach road.
Incumbent Essendon coach Ben Rutten will lead the Bombers for what shapes as the final time against Richmond on Saturday night.
The architect behind Essendon’s late play for Clarkson, new Bombers president David Barham, will on Friday morning meet with the players before fronting the media.
Rutten’s manager Adam Ramanauskas said the whole episode had been handled poorly.
“I think it’s been really disappointing. You’ve got to look at the human side … the way he’s been treated is fundamentally not right,” Ramanauskas said on RSN radio.
“….It’s fair to say Monday and half of Tuesday were pretty difficult days because nobody was telling him what was going on. He was calling a lot of people and wasn’t getting much response back.”
Rutten is expected to speak at a press conference today.
Entering today, North Melbourne was still positive about its chances of landing the four-time premiership coach.
While Clarkson yesterday conceded he had to make a decision and soon.
“It’s quite embarrassing to be fair to be quite the central figure in all this,” Clarkson told Channel 10 on Thursday night.
“You know, I’ve got enormous respect for the three guys involved in their clubs, you know Spike McVeigh, Truck Rutten and Patch Adams are all terrific people and they’re trying to do the right things by their clubs.
“In particular with the situation around Truck, you know he’s still got a year of his contract to run and it’s quite embarrassing being the centre of attention in a situation it’s just so difficult for both him and his club.
“I’d prefer to be able to get off the back page and I know full well that this circus will end once I can make a decision one way or another.
“So the sooner I can do that the better.”