Thursday, October 2, 2014

Clear Essendon's Decks Before it's Too Late

So let me see if I have this straight.
  1. On Monday, Mark Thompson indicates that he is unlikely to stay at Essendon in 2015 in any role.
  2. In the same instance, he suggests that he would still like to coach, most likely as he has been reinvigorated after the season he has had.
  3. There are continuing whispers around about Guy McKenna being sacked by the Gold Coast Suns during their slightly awkward end of season review.
  4. Thompson suggests that if he were to coach again, that it would be at a team like the Gold Coast, who are "ready-made' for a premiership tilt.
  5. Gold Coast do indeed sack McKenna (most likely on the proviso that Thompson is a ready made replacement), and media all but anoint Thompson as his successor.
  6. Essendon meanwhile, have decided not to appeal their court case loss.
  7. James Hird, on the other hand, decides he is going to appeal, come hell or high water, which will continue to stretch this saga out interminably.
  8. Essendon suddenly realise their only stable coach alternative, should they finally cut Hird loose, is Thompson. However, Thompson appears all but gone to Gold Coast.
  9. Hird is asked not to attend Essendon's Best & Fairest Awards, and in his absence, Thompson extols "I don't want to leave! I want to stay!"
  10. Essendon and Hird meet on Thursday, with the coach all but sacked before it starts... however...
  11. The meeting ends, Hird is still coach, but Chairman Little suggests the board will meet again next week to consider all options.

For Christ's sake, will this merry-go-round EVER END?!

Hird is too proud to accept any blame, and will fight in courts forever to clear his name when it just can't be done. He will never quit, and yet he needs to go, for the sake of the Club and the players.

Essendon have come too far tied to the same horse with Hird, when they should have taken correct action 18 months ago and cut that rope. Now they are either afraid to sack him in case he is able to win his court case, or afraid of further backlash from fans and media, or just don't have the cash to pay him out. Whatever it is, the Essendon board have once again bungled this whole scenario. They appear incapable of making any decisions to end this story and get back to playing football. Surely they must all go, and the sooner the better.

Bomber Thompson hasn't helped any party with his comments this week - he's screwed Essendon by saying he won't be there in 2015, he's screwed Gold Coast by saying he wouldn't mind coaching a team like theirs, and so they sack their current coach to try and employ him, and then he stabs Hird in the front when he isn't there to say anything at the Club awards by basically saying he wants to stay as coach of Essendon, which also screws Gold Coast and Hird all over again!

I feel for the players and the Essendon supporters, because the way this is going, it could seep into a third straight season before it is resolved. They deserve their day to either challenge ASADA's evidence, or accept that they were injected with banned substances (knowingly or unknowingly, it really doesn't matter anymore) and accept the penalty that is offered. Either way, get this over and done with. The Cronulla saga might have been just as poorly handled by all sides, and with just as unsatisfying results for all, but at least it has been concluded, and next season will not be affected by it.

Get rid of Paul Little and the board. Get rid of James Hird. Issue the infraction notices and let players either fight them or take their punishment. Then let the club plan for next season knowing who they have and how they can go about it. All before this great and long-serving Club implodes.

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