Another rat in the ranks. Please read before considering a vote for Bill Jennings

Another one who is not what he seems . . .




Posted on

November 23, 2014
	The Elephant (Hird) in the Hangar

This is the fifth go I‘ve had at writing this article. I ran a version past a far better writer that me yesterday and – as a Carlton fan – he said that I was viewing through one red and black eye the person I think is the best player I have ever seen: James Hird. My navy blue writing friend said I must never have seen Gary Ablett Senior play. I did. Hird was better.

And for the record Gazza‘s not even in my top three – next is Barry Cable and the third one is of my mate‘s fold – Kenny Hunter. Anyway, that will probably start a debate, and debate is the central point of this article.

A lot of Essendon people have James Hird right up there as the, if not one of our greatest players (I never saw Coleman, Hutchison or King Richard). And there‘s my dilemma, because I think the best I have ever seen on the field should not be senior coach of our club at the moment.

Why? Irrespective of the approaching results of the upcoming tribunal hearings, James Hird has to be more responsible for the mess our club is in.

Either you are nodding in agreement now or ready to smash the screen and get on Twitter or talkback and vent against me. This is such a divisive issue; perhaps the most sensitive and powerful issue that has ever torn at our club. An issue in the midst of many in these horrible past two years. It looms so large that I reckoned it was only fair to let you know my thoughts. So if you are still reading, thanks, and please bear with me as I lay out my thinking.

Notice I said James shouldn‘t be our coach now. I imagine a day when he could return to the club if he wanted to.

How could that happen? How could he come back one day?

Well, I grew up in a family environment that had a faith and I still subscribe to one of the tenets that underpins most world religions: we all deserve redemption. We all muck up. We all will, at some point, need the kindness felt in the midst of being forgiven when we least deserve it, when we have totally ballsed something up. My philosophies are a bit broader than the constricts of institutional religion these days, and I liked William McInnes‘s character in his Laughing Clowns novel who said to a registrar in a Catholic school, “I‘m more of a Father Bob kind of believer than . . .”

I‘m a massive fan of Father Bob and consider him a comrade. He has a saying based on the medical profession‘s rule of thumb, “Do no harm, and try to do a little good”. And Father Bob is a Collingwood supporter – hope for us all!

On the first part, Do no harm. I reckon that‘s where the sequence of events that have unfolded at our club track back to James Hird. He has to take some responsibility for deciding to go down the supplements regime path. It doesn‘t, in one sense, really matter what the final outcomes are. The damage scattered behind us is substantial. Let‘s look at what that is:

  • The players will be under medical surveillance for some years to come because there is uncertainty about what they were administered. I‘m a parent. If something like this was systematically expected of my kids, I would feel as though my trust in the institution had been broken.
  • On the former point, it appears that worry about the unknown health consequences contributed to Paddy Ryder‘s desire to leave the club. That is so sad.
  • I used to say proudly that my grandparents (RIP Grandma and Grandpa), both survivors of the Great Depression and my footy club, were the only organisms I knew who never had a debt in their living history. Errr, well, it‘s only my grandparents now who I can say that about, as Essendon now have a debt to the tune of several million dollars.
  • Clearly there was a deal done last year to enable the shift to the ‘Governance‘ penalties. I struggled with the incongruence of James Hird still being paid $750,000 for a year he was suspended while the club (to this day) has a policy of removing a ‘donation‘ from members who use the ‘Advantage‘ payment facility unless we Opt-Out. The deal happened around the same time that people were losing their jobs at Holden.

Now to the other section of Father Bob‘s statement: try to do a little good. This is part of my appeal to James Hird. He has the capacity to take what I reckon is the best path; to resign would be a noble, unifying act that could help the club move on. I reckon such a decision might also help his place in history, and leave the door open for him to return one day.

This is a genuine invitation for James‘s consideration. Resign. Take no payout from the club. Acknowledge that the decisions you made contributed to the sequence of disastrous consequences our club has endured. Being genuinely sorry will also give opportunity for those within our club who feel aggrieved at his actions to actually forgive him.

Why do I say he could come back after that? Well, footy has more redemption stories in it than the Bible. Case in point – Wayne Carey. Friends of mine will testify that I have been spruiking this example long before Caroline Wilson wrote about Carey earlier this year. He took three decent goes at saying sorry until his remorse was deeply sincere. Don‘t get me wrong – James Hird‘s and Wayne Carey‘s circumstances are very different. But the similarity is the torture to fans that the favourite son has met with controversy. Carey ultimately left the public eye and after what seemed like an appropriate absence, he re-emerged and now has a prime spot on Friday Night Footy on Channel 7. He clearly appears to be a different person. Nothing can change the things that happened (and some of them still simply can‘t be condoned), but it appears that a commercial organisation like Seven have made the assessment that the public has forgiven him. The same path could be tilled for James Hird at Essendon.

James Hird was definitely one of the catalysts that started us on this course, but he could now be the circuit breaker and the reason that the healing begins. I understand that this will be anathema to many readers. but if you have made it this far, thanks for hanging in with me. I respect your rights to your passion and the different angle of vision you have on the coach. I suspect if you‘ve read this far that you love the Essendon footy club.

So do I. It is an old maxim but a good one: we have to find ways to recognise that the things we have in common far outweigh the things that divide us.

Resign James. You might save our club by doing so.


  • Clearly there was a deal done last year to enable the shift to the ‘Governance‘ penalties. I struggled with the incongruence of James Hird still being paid $750,000 for a year he was suspended while the club (to this day) has a policy of removing a ‘donation‘ from members who use the ‘Advantage‘ payment facility unless we Opt-Out. The deal happened around the same time that people were losing their jobs at Holden.


Completely irrelevant.

What does hird have to do with holden jobs?

I knew Hird was responsible for those jobs at Holden.

Thanks for the heads-up.  That's another crossed off the ballot paper.

He can gagf

What a load of gibberish.


Suggest he'll need another five attempts at getting it right.

No wonder he hasn't showed up here.

Thanks Boot.
It‘s amazing anyone can have watched the last two years and think throwing a bone to the campaign against us will resolve it.


but he thinks hirdys the best ever.

therefor he must be objective.

No wonder he hasn't showed up here.

I'm not so sure.  The prose sounds a little bit "Dodga" to me  ;)

So he thinks we should let a commercial organisation, like Seven, make the assessment on when the public think Hird can come back to the club.


That's brilliant. Who needs the courts when all we have to do is run a FANGO poll on Channel 7.

He can gagf

and this

I prefer to focus on the good people :slight_smile:

A vote for Jennings is a vote for Beverly Knights. 

Sneaky bastards

Thank God for social media.

He sounds like a total ■■■■!


No vote for Bill!

Hird has saved this club from itself and now he wants to sack him?
■■■■ off fark stick.

Yep, thanks Boot. Undecided members need this info.

Darth is spot on, he can GAGF.