AFL cancels Christmas

AFL bans James Hird and Danny Corcoran from Essendon Christmas party


THE AFL has banned Essendon coach James Hird and suspended footy boss Danny Corcoran from attending the club’s staff Christmas party.

The league told Essendon the two men were not permitted to join the end-of-year gathering at an inner-city hotel on Friday afternoon.

Hird and Corcoran are banned from serving the club in any official capacity as part of the club’s supplement scandal punishment.

But the Christmas rebuff bemused club officials, still simmering from a year of hostilities with the AFL.

The standoff over Hird’s million-dollar salary ended in farce on Friday when the AFL backed down on its funding threats, allowing the Bombers’ coach to be paid his full 2014 ­salary in an ­immediate lump sum.

Essendon powerbrokers have ­remained in contact with the league to ensure that both Hird and Corcoran remain within the boundaries of their AFL bans.

As part of the negotiations, the Bombers were told it was not appropriate for them to ­attend the informal staff Christmas function.

The latest development after two weeks of brinkmanship between the league and the club has put intense pressure on league chief executive Andrew Demetriou and chairman Mike Fitzpatrick for their handling of footy’s doping scandal.

Mr Demetriou, who sits on the AFL Commission as well as being the chief executive, will attend a scheduled commission meeting on Monday.

Former Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett said it was a continuing embarrassment for the league.

“It’s just another piece of minutiae in what is an annus horribilis for both the AFL Commission and the Essendon Football Club. One can only be certain that this crisis of the commission’s making is going to - in the most generous way - keep giving into the new year,” Mr Kennett said.

But Western Bulldogs president Peter Gordon said the AFL executive still had his club’s full support.

Mr Gordon said the pay dispute was a “misunderstanding” amid “the biggest drugs scandal in the history of the sport and one of the biggest legal problems in AFL history”.

“It is absolutely natural that everyone would be strained in coming to a resolution, and this resolution was better than some of the scenarios which could have played out,” Mr Gordon said.

“I believe there was a genuine misunderstanding between the parties in relation to that (pay) detail. And while one might have one’s own views about what’s happened in the last 24 hours to clear that up, I prefer to focus on the big picture - that we sent a very clear message that drugs in sport and supplements in the AFL will not be tolerated and that the safety and health of our young players is of prime concern.”

World Anti-Doping Agency president John Fahey has conceded comments on Friday that Essendon would be hit with inevitable doping charges was based on no new information.

“I have had some general discussions at different stages over the past year with different personnel, none of which have had any detail in it,” Fahey told the Weekend Australian.

"It has always been my understanding that when they finish their investigation there is a strong likelihood that action will be taken.

"I have learned nothing in recent weeks to suggest one way or another that is correct or incorrect. It has just been my understanding for a long time."

Merry Christmas James and Danny!

Bombers’ blame game - just pin it on the disloyal ones


December 15, 2013

Andrew Tate

Sports Editor, The Sunday Age

As if to prove that modern football marketing really is an irony-free zone, the Essendon membership department tweeted on Saturday morning that the club had just reached 36,415 members. ‘‘That’s over 5000 up on last year and a great start! Keep ‘em coming,’’ the backroom minions enthused, seemingly oblivious to the brickbats the club and coach James Hird were copping in other parts of the media - social or otherwise.

Still, given the lure of a 2014 lapel pin with your membership package, the Windy Hill exuberance is probably justified. If just over half of those extra 5000 memberships were $375 home-game reserved seat packages at the ‘‘fully ticketed’’ Etihad Stadium, there will at least be no trouble at the bank when James Hird rocks up to cash his million-dollar Christmas cheque.

Operators are standing by to take your call, Bomber fans.

It’s a reminder that, for all the bluster about being part of ‘‘the family’’, to the clubs, the footy public mostly resembles a bloated, overflowing pot of doubloons - albeit one cloaked in a fabric woven from the fans’ passion, allegiance and family history.


Tania Hird certainly gets loyalty. Did anyone mention she’s a lawyer? Those guys are big on that stuff, aren’t they? In any case, Mrs James’ ‘‘impromptu’’ interview on the steps of her Toorak home seemed to tick all of the boxes for what’s euphemistically come to be called ‘‘the Hird camp’’. By week’s end, Andrew Demetriou and the AFL had been taken down a peg or two, the waters had been suitably muddied, and the cash was in the bank.

Indeed, so impressive was Tania’s result, it’s a wonder we didn’t see a rush of nature-strip press conferences from the wives of soon-to-be-redundant Holden employees assuring the public that their spouses were also still being paid. Then again, maybe they’ll do better when they have a KIA strategically parked in the driveway?

If nothing else, Friday’s shenanigans made for another week of raucous pub conversations as the beers were washed down with the usual contributions from the man in the street - assorted conspiracy theories, wilful blindness and wishful thinking.

All of which led to a Eureka moment closer to home. Some time late on Friday night - flushed with beer, not tanning lotion - I found it. At the bottom of the kitchen junk drawer, like a tiny nugget yielded from hard ground, emerged a commemorative lapel pin the Essendon marketing gurus flogged to this humble Bomber fan on the occasion of James Hird’s first match as coach on March 27, 2011. What can I say? Blokes like collecting shiny things and, as I’ve made clear, to a football club, we do actually look like a pot of money.

When I bought that little pin it looked so cool and full of promise. On Friday night, it just looked small and vulnerable and out of time. Still, it is a reminder that marketing never sleeps. So here’s an idea to keep the dough rolling in, what about the limited-edition EFC Sliding Doors commemorative lapel pin? I’m envisaging a little red and black metal pin in the shape of Damien Hardwick’s malfunctioning laptop.

Pinned to a collectable card, it could tell a dreamy story about the alternate history the club could have enjoyed had Dimma got his final presentation right when seeking the senior coaching job in 2007. Sure, we don’t really know how successful Hardwick the younger would have been as coach, but Bomber fans just think what you wouldn’t have had: NO Matthew Knights payout, NO burnt-out Matthew Lloyd, NO injections, NO Weapon, NO Stephen Dank, NO Toorak media calls, NO nasty journos asking difficult questions, NO Caro or Jake Walkleys to bell the cat.

To be honest, it’s not really the sort of collectable that will do big business, but it’s surely a perfect stocking filler for the tired, sad and hungover Bomber fan who’s sick of watching a great club laid low by so much self-inflicted grief.

And maybe it’s time for a little more fantasy in my football. It seems to be doing wonders for the fans, who have spent the year blaming everyone but the club and the coach - not to mention themselves for funding this fiasco.

I like the sound of a 2014 lapel badge - I really do - but right now, it’s still 2013 and I’m saying, ‘‘Stick a pin in me. I’m done.’’

Andrew Tate is The Sunday Age sports editor.

Read more:–just-pin-it-on-the-disloyal-ones-20131214-2ze7n.html#ixzz2nUXOqHBX

stop. my sides, my sides.

Did someone say vindictive ? Beyond the pale now.



Even with a bit of licence to get creative, they get turgid. It’s a hard thing to climb up to a good job in journalism but it appears the old fashioned skills like prose, creativity, originality and generally having a thrust in the narrative are not considered necessary or important any longer. Just be dogged and, above all, LOYAL to the company line, however compromised and un-“independent” it may be.

The Age story. What is it about?


How did even it make it into a paper?



Lol. That's just sad.

The Age.

Irrelevant. Always.


fairly sure James will be devastated, but then he’ll stop being devastated and remember he just filled his pool with $20 notes, and be quietly content instead.

I see Andrew Tate is gunning for a walkely.

Can they move the xmas party to Jims place?

would Vald stop that?

The Age.


Independent.  Always.


Of Relevance & Readership.

Essendon doesn’t need his membership, but the Age needs our subscriptions. It’s because of journalists like this buffoon, MsWilson, Jakey and Will Brodie that I have resigned my Age ‘membership’ and will remember the insulting manner in which he has described Essendon supporters, the Hird family and dragged up totally irrelevant matters like the failure of Damien Hardwick’s computer. It’s amazing how people get to be editor and how they use their positions to spew forth their own pitiful opinions when Essendon has a bit of good news. Tate reminds me of another ex-Essendon opinion writer. Why can’t they just walk away like I would if I were dissatisfied? As a member who desires change, he could have stood for the Board but he prefers to snipe. Not worth anything really, just a rant.

Lol. That's just sad.

When we win our next flag, Vlad and Mike Fatprick are not welcome in any way, shape or form at my club. l don't want them within 100 k of the celebrations. Kennett is right, and so was John Lennon, 'and so this is Christmas,' good to the Australian Fascist League getting into the festive mood and the showing true Christmas spirit. Perhaps this was what Andy was telling Tim the other day. How petty. l am sure the Hirds feel much relief at not having to be in the vicinity of that loathsome, slimy toad and be breathing air in the same room. Did l mention petty.


The second article is so bloated and poorly written that it has trouble sustaining its own bloated sense of importance. Pointless.  

Who made the decision Hird and Corcoran couldn’t attend the function? Hird was certainly allowed to attend the Crichton. And who made the decision Essendon would not receive it’s monthly payment from the AFL if it didn’t toe the line? Was that a Commission decision or just Demetriou and Dillon?

" Time for a little fantasy?" The Rage has printed almost nothing else all year. And as for loyalty glad Tate never joined the Army. Fancy having you alongside in the trenches. How sad. Once one of the great newspapers of the world now reduced to no better than the old Melbourne Truth. Ezra Norton would have been proud of you.

The pettyness is becoming comical.

How did Peter Gordon, head of the biggest shitstain of a club in the AFL, become the official spokesperson of the other 17 clubs? Not really surprising that the head of a club that only survives on the breadcrumbs handed out by the AFL backs the regeim…

Well played Peter. For your loyalty, the AFL will give you $1 for every general admission ticket sold to prop up your basket case of a club. Keep up the anti-Essendon rhetoric and Vlad will slip you an extra couple of million

I'm sure that there is some legal brain out there that could work this small problem out about when the 2014 xmas party actually takes place.

We (THE CLUB) merely have to state that we are having our 2015 in advance and all should be ok as we had always "intended to have our 2015 party in 2014"

Tania Hird certainly gets loyalty. Did anyone mention she's a lawyer? Those guys are big on that stuff, aren't they? In any case, Mrs James' ''impromptu'' interview on the steps of her Toorak home seemed to tick all of the boxes for what's euphemistically come to be called ''the Hird camp''. By week's end, Andrew Demetriou and the AFL had been taken down a peg or two, the waters had been suitably muddied, and the cash was in the bank.

Playing the 'lawyer card' to try and denigrate Tania's capacity for loyalty.  And, then suggesting one of her key motivations for talking to the press was to increase membership revenue?
Apparently, stereotyping and projecting are the only 'skills' required to be a journalist in this country.

WHat was that about?