St Kilda have refused to be critical of Ross Lyon following his shock defection to Fremantle, CEO Michael Nettlefold and president Greg Westaway insisting they are disappointed but not bitter or angry with the club's now former coach.
The football world was left stunned on Thursday night when the Dockers announced they had sacked Mark Harvey even though he had 12 months to run on the two-year extension he received 12 months ago.
But that shock deepened further when it emerged within an hour that Lyon had walked out on the Saints on the very day his management firm Elite Sports Properties were finalising a four-year deal for him to stay on.
Having been blindsided by Lyon's confirmation at 5pm on Thursday that after five seasons he was moving on, Westaway and Nettlefold were at pains to point out that there is still a lot of love for Lyon at St Kilda.
"Disappointed is about the only word that I can come up with because Ross served us well," Westaway said.
"He's had five good years here, he's achieved a lot and I had every reason to believe up until (I was told at) 5:30 last night that he was going to continue on with the St Kilda Football Club."
"(But) I wouldn't say (I feel) betrayed because football's that sort of business."
"People move on, things change, so I wouldn't call it betrayal."
Nettlefold echoed Westaway's sentiments: "My view was the same when we caught up, we were disappointed clearly."
"Ross was disappointed (too)."
"But there's great respect in this club for Ross Lyon."
"He's done a wonderful job at this club."
"He's got a great working relationship with the players, he's got a great working relationship with the executives, so clearly we were disappointed that Ross indicated that he wanted to move on."
Westaway began Friday morning's media conference by reading from a prepared statement in which he said the club had no choice but to quickly move on.
"We thank Ross for his exceptional service during his time with the Saints and obviously again it's very disappointing for us."
"But there's no point on us dwelling on the past, we have to move forward and we're now focussed on the future and a speedy transition to new arrangements."
"We don't want to keep anyone here that doesn't want to be here and their heart's not here."
"We've got a new agenda now."
"Ross was, we are, and we are going ahead with our business."
Nettlefold also confirmed that the club will set up a sub-committee charged with finding Lyon's replacement, with directors and former players Nathan Burke and Andrew Thompson as well as Nettlefold himself and director of football Chris Pelchen to be involved.