LEAGUE Immortal Bob Fulton says his job is done at the Manly Sea Eagles.
After overseeing a successful multimillion-dollar, two-year restructure at Brookvale, Fulton has informed owners Rick and Scott Penn of his decision to step aside to officially end a 50-year association with the club that began in 1966 as a rookie player.
He will remain in the game as a Kangaroos selector to support Mal Meninga and a 2GB commentator on the Continuous Call team.
“The timing is right,” Fulton told The Daily Telegraph.
“I did a handshake deal with Rick and Scott Penn two years ago that I’d stay for as long as it takes to restructure the football department from junior reps and development through to first grade.
“Given our achievements of winning the Holden Cup, making the grand final of Harold Matthews and finishing sixth in the NRL when most experts suggested we wouldn’t make the finals convinced me the club is now in great shape and it was the right time.”
Under Fulton, the Sea Eagles have had a massive — and highly successful — overhaul in recent years.
Stars Brett Stewart, Keiran Foran, Anthony Watmough, Jamie Lyon and Steve Matai have all moved on yet the future is secure with skipper Daly Cherry-Evans and the Trbojevic brothers, Jake and Tom, all locked up on long-term deals.
He also signed Blake Green from Melbourne Storm and Marty Taupau from the Wests Tigers.
His biggest decision was to replace club legend Geoff Toovey as head coach.
“It’s been a hectic ride,” Fulton said, “I struck gold with my decision to appoint Trent Barrett as head coach.
“Baz has achieved results no one thought would be possible two years ago. There are not many coaches that tick all the boxes but Trent is one of them.
“A coach needs a loyal and well-organised assistant, so we recruited Gareth Holmes from the NRL. The club is now where it should be.
“Scott Penn agreed and is more than comfortable at what we’ve done with the restructuring of the coaching staff and retention of our playing rosters at all levels.”
Fulton, who turns 70 in December, said he was ready to spend more time with his family. He recently returned from a holiday in the Northern Territory with his grandchildren.
Barrett said Fulton would be sorely missed.
“We couldn’t have achieved what we have in the last two years without him,” Barrett said.
“He’s taught me a hell of a lot in a couple of years. I’m forever indebted to him for giving me a start and getting us on the right track.”
Ken Arthurson, the man who brought Fulton to Brookvale 50 years ago, said the timing was right.
“It was inevitable that Bozo would walk away once he’d completed his commitment to the Penn family,” Arthurson said.
“I honestly doubt any other person could have achieved what he has in such a short time. Knowing him like I do, I suspected he’d exit gracefully and he’s doing just that.
“It’s been remarkable what he’s done. He has given his all for the club and he’s now at an age where he wants to spend more time with his wife Ann and his extended family.”
Cronulla’s Lyall Gorman will be appointed Manly chief executive this week.