Not wanting to put a dampener on last night’s performance (my adrenaline is still on high), just posting re other’s thoughts.
Me, I think his argument is simplistic (and maybe his was wearing the jumper we presented him with at time of writing )
What James Hird needs to do to minimise fan backlash on grand final day
GILLON McLachlan says he has great faith in the AFL’s supporters not to boo James Hird on Grand Final day.
Where did he get that naive notion from?
If the lessons of the past five years are anything, Hirdy is an absolute certainty to get a mixed review from fans as he hands over the Norm Smith Medal.
If McLachlan had any faith it was surely eroded by the shameful Adam Goodes episode which lasted years.
Booing was once a bit of harmless fun over pantomime villains — you booed the opposition star each week, you booed the bloke who just whacked your matchwinner.
But for many Essendon figures it turned into a systematic response to years of fury from fans that the game was being hijacked by ASADA-related strife.
Many fans who booed Goodes did so adamant it as not racially motivated but were still happy to subject him to derision even when he made it clear how much their response stripped his enjoyment from playing.
Which is why if Hird is to avoid much of that circus, a return to an Essendon game before Grand Final day would be a welcome move.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan revealed yesterday the AFL Commission thought long and hard about Hird’s invite.
They decided it was a crucial part of the healing process, especially given Hird was next man up on the AFL’s list of Norm Smith Medallists.
Imagine the headlines if they had overlooked him — “AFL SNUBS HIRD” — so they couldn’t really win either way.
Hird has served his time over the ASADA dramas — albeit on a well-paid overseas educational jaunt — and should eventually be welcomed back in a game as forgiving as any.
It is understood Essendon has a standing invitation for Hird to return for a function or AFL match.
Kevin Sheedy told the Herald Sun at the start of the month after he and Hird attended an official Dons coterie function in Tasmania he was just glad to see Hirdy smiling again.
If Hird was to appear at any of the next six games in an informal capacity, we would get all those emotions out.
Catharsis or anger or fury, it would all pour out but it would be mostly over with.
Then a key talking point of Grand Final week would not be wondering whether the booing of Hird would be subtle or Force 10.
Hird’s mistakes as a coach in a hurry destroyed his reputation, his livelihood, his standing in the community and nearly had more catastrophic effect earlier this year.
Time to move on from painting Hird as Public Enemy No.1 but if that happens at an Essendon game first, it would surely expedite the process.