IT’S a new era at West Perth and the club’s now former boss would have liked more time to enjoy it as chief executive.
But an opportunity to work with the WA Football Commission was too good to refuse for David Crute.
Crute’s tenure wrapped up on Tuesday after five years at the Falcons underlined by the completion of the club’s multi-million dollar headquarters at the end of last year.
He won’t be forgetting the side’s premiership in 2013 – his first year at the club – any time soon either.
And while Crute wasn’t looking to leave West Perth, he was swayed after being asked to consider a place at the commission.
He is to become the WAFC’s general manager of umpiring.
“It was a really tough decision, I was very conflicted,” he said. “It was an opportunity too good to pass up.
“When I came to West Perth one of the main goals was to gain the experience in being involved in the building of a new facility.
“So I delivered what I said I was going to do and I can walk away with my held high.”
He said another 12 or even six months “would have been great” to see in the first season of the club’s impressive overhaul.
But “we can’t always pick and choose what happens in our lives”.
“The club is on the cusp of becoming something really big,” he said.
“Maybe it is the right time for me to step away to bring in someone with a different skill set in order to take it to the next level.”
Former South Fremantle boss Stuart Kemp, who has been consulting with the Falcons, will step in as interim chief executive.
Crute expected the club to announce its new chief executive in March.
Falcons fans will have the first opportunity to tour the redevelopment at a Friday night intra-club match, which will double as an open day, on March 2.
West Perth will also trial its new gate entry system and membership cards on that evening.
The Falcons host the AFL pre-season clash between West Coast and Fremantle the following week, with expectations of one of the biggest football crowds in Arena Joondalup history.
West Perth players are now using the facility for training and gym work.
The side has been quiet in the off-season recruiting phase after rumoured links to former AFL players Nick Suban, Greg Broughton and Josh Deluca did not come to fruition.
The Falcons have welcomed former South Fremantle forward Mitchell Dzelebdzic, who kicked nearly 60 goals for the Bulldogs reserves last year.
Crute said West Perth had made a “deliberate attempt” to invest more time and resources into the existing playing group.
“We’ve decided that, given the time and effort that went into this facility in making it what we think is AFL standard, our existing players deserve an opportunity to benefit from that,” he said.