New Essendon president David Barham has admitted mistakes were made as the Bombers left embattled coach Ben Rutten in the dark during their botched pursuit of Alastair Clarkson.
The Bombers this week audaciously attempted to lure Clarkson, the four-time Hawthorn premiership coach, as Rutten's position hung in the balance.
But North Melbourne on Friday jubilantly announced they had landed the master coach's signature on a five-year contract.
Rutten is contracted for next season but his position now appears untenable after a week of chaos at Tullamarine.
The 39-year-old's future will be decided after the Bombers' final regular-season game against Richmond on Saturday night.
Barham, who replaced Paul Brasher as Bombers president on Monday, described the situation as "really horrible" when addressing media on Friday.
He would not be drawn on speculation Bombers hierarchy are floating the idea of James Hird returning as coach, seven years after the Bombers great left amid the fallout of Essendon's supplements saga.
"I should have called him (Rutten) Monday, and I apologise for that," Barham told reporters.
"I called him Tuesday, went and saw him at his house on Wednesday; I got that wrong.
"Players are disappointed they weren't more consulted, and again I have to live with that."
Rutten's manager Adam Ramanauskas earlier on Friday hit out at the treatment of the Bombers coach.
Ramanauskas, who played in Essendon's last premiership back in 2000, is staggered by how his former club has handled the situation.
He labelled the treatment of Rutten "poor" and "really disappointing".
Ramanauskas claimed the club had failed to inform Rutten of their intentions.
"It's fair to say Monday and half of Tuesday were pretty difficult days because no one was telling (Rutten) what was going on," Ramanauskas said.
"He was reading on Monday he was sacked, and there was nobody who was telling him otherwise.
"The behaviour and way he's been treated is fundamentally not right."
Clarkson expressed embarrassment and regret the day before about how his move back into AFL coaching had played out.
"With the situation around 'Truck' (Rutten), he's still got a year of his contract to run and it's quite embarrassing being the centre of attention in a situation that is just so difficult for both him and his club," Clarkson told Ten News on Thursday.
"I'd prefer to be able to get off the back page, and I know full well that this circus will all end once I can make a decision, one way or another."
Rutten is due to front the media at a yet-to-be-confirmed time at Essendon's headquarters on Friday.
Clarkson will be unveiled as the Kangaroos' new coach at 1pm on Friday.