And how are Essendon people (and others) feeling about James Hird’s resignation this afternoon?

I stopped thinking about this a long time ago.

What intrigues me is: why has James Hird resigned now?

And: should it have happened earlier?

And: how do we make sense of any information presented via newspaper, radio, TV etc. Has this issue had an impact on how your perceive the authority of the media?



About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears (appeared?) on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three school-age kids - Theo, Anna, Evie. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst three. His ambition was to lunch for Australia but it clashed with his other ambition - to shoot his age.


  1. Lenin apparently wrote about the politics of creeping inevitability. Seems apt.

  2. Just another example of people in power causing a mess then blaming everyone else than themselves. We then have to pay for their rubbish decisions.

  3. Not sure he resigned. Reckon he copped a shove bigger than any that Autumn leaf Lloyd ever copped.

    With Sir James gone the Bombers are half a chance to start again.

    The media? This issue has confirmed the turgid state of the media. Narcissistic in the extreme.

  4. This was the inevitable outcome from Hird’s part in the supplements scandal in which he was intimately involved. He has been in denial about just how seriously the whole saga has hurt the club and the players involved, he’s a wealthy professional who can now get on with a new life and they are left awaiting the outcome of the WADA proceedings to come. They will be the losers in this sad affair and they’ve already suffered enough. James Hird has walked away with yet another payout and the club, players and supporters are left in his wake.

    I have no sympathy for Hird [remainder of comment has been removed – Ed].

  5. Peter Hille says

    James Hird diid not deserve to be reinstated after his French leave. His record of care is appalling and he increasingly used WADA, etc as reason why he was not succeeding as a coach. In fact the only professional success he has had across a range of fields is on the field as a player. Perhaps Super Rules beckons.

  6. I am extremely sorry for all the Essendon players that have been involved in this hole (intentional) fiasco for an interminable time.
    I recall at one of the early Essendon Press Conferences Hird took responsibility as the person in charge. Ever since he seems to have retreated from that position.
    In another place I said that if I as an employer had provided “supplements” to my young staff, could not produce records of what these were, if I tried to assure everyone that I was the victim and being treated unfairly I would be laughed at and the relevant WHS authority would have me in its sites and quite rightly because I had clearly failed to provide a safe work environment.
    In the Essendon context there are many including Hird, the Essendon Board and the AFL who should be concerned what the Victorian WHS authority has in store for them.
    For Hird I do feel sorry but frankly it is a little too late in this saga; he should be the first of many who needs to go at Essendon so that they can concentrate on looking forward rather than looking back and trying to defend the indefensible.

  7. Bob Speechley says

    Is this the start or the end of the ongoing ESSASADAWADASAGA?

    I publcly, through the 2014 Footy Almanac, severed my long term ties to Essendon over their abuse of the young athletes under their charge.

    My feeling is that the SAGA is still at an early stage and the long term impact on the club will be significant. The defiance of James Hird has been shameful. Paul Little should also go now.

  8. Dr Goatboat says

    The bottom line….what drugs were the players given? Essendon has never shown any interest in fact, in finding out. This hogwash about “being found innocent” is a disgrace.
    Clearly Hird is only leaving because he was finally seen as a liability. He would stay on forever if he could.
    Notwithstanding this he walks away with another payday….the club needs a complete clean-out at the top…
    A lot of the media go over the top, but as we are perhaps seeing now in Sydney vs AFL, so much stuff is hidden, obfuscated, denied…..the punters are taken for mugs by the industry so someone has to be watchdog, however imperfectly…..not to say it is difficult at times to sift the wheat from the chaff

  9. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Fantastic player shocking person ( I have more respect for Troy Chaplin than Hird )

  10. Peter Flynn says

    Dank goodness.

  11. Andrew Starkie says

    Still can’t take responsibility. Why won’t someone ask if he feels guilty? Or, is this whole mess his fault?

  12. C’mon guys, they’re getting off too lightly. Who’s ready to match under the banner of Bring Hird Back to Melrose Drive.

    And what’s Sheedy getting half a mill per to do? Anyone seen any bomber-jacket waving? They must print their own money out there where the Maribyrnong meets the Mountains.

    And let’s not forget City Hall’s role in this sorry sage. True, the claims have never been tested, but you can bet your bottom drachma, when Sir James the Litigious recovers from his wounds he’ll be back on his white charger. Don’t you worry about that.

  13. How do I feel? Went searching for historical analogies. Two came to mind.
    Richard Nixon resigning after Watergate. Had some merit as a President – “peace with honour” withdrawal from Vietnam and the opening to China. Who could forget “I am not a crook”? Like Hird his ego and pride would not let him admit obvious transgressions. Nixon pioneered “Whatever it Takes”.
    On the local front, Alan Bond going to jail after wrecking the life savings of many thousands of investors. When he had strong men like John Bertrand and Ben Lexcen around him, his visionary energy produced great achievements. But totally narcissistic, self absorbed, manipulative and ruthless – when left to his own devices – like you know who – he dragged down once great companies and took innocent employees and investors with him.
    Hird will be back peddling revisionary history in a few months, and become the successful sociopathic CEO of an investment bank.
    Ho hum.

  14. I’ve neither seen nor heard a second’s footage about this event.
    But it strikes me that the contrition of J Hird is a key plank on which to “move forward.”

    His behaviour up to this point demonstrates pretty conclusively that he feels no remorse, and even that he feels himself to have been wronged. Without his contrition or apology, the club and players will be able to mechanically go through motions, and eventually time will heal wounds. But for emotional closure, I guess a heartfelt apology to those other humans whose very lives he has so disrupted, would have helped.

    Hird had to go, of course.
    Essendon have done this untidily.
    That Hird pocketed another 700K for his trouble must be gratifying.
    Should find plenty of Board rooms of former sponsors in which to practice those French management lessons. Best avoided.
    How do I feel? Contemptuous.

    As for my perception of media and its role; it’s very challenging.
    What would I tell my kids about this?
    I’d say that we seem caught up in opinion. An endless cycle, growing in volume and reach.
    Facts and analyses are always “someone’s” facts and analyses.
    There are many ways to carve a pie.
    So we should always ask who presents the information and what is their motivation.
    Try to listen to a range of voices.
    Loud doesn’t mean right.
    Find one or two that you trust, and about whom you can rationalise that trust.
    But it’s a jungle out there.

  15. I’m fascinated by the language used in these situations. The richness of the clichés, which are woven together to form nonsensical drivel, are so artistically contrived. They regurgitate rubbish about adversity and “staying strong”. Most of it is not even worthy of a tattoo.

  16. Andrew Starkie says

    Gillon said on ABC radio not ten minutes ago that – paraphrase – Hird’s legacy was not tarnished, he is one of the biggest/important people in footy, there is still a place for him in the game.

    Nex tbreath, he said Rupert is a legend.

    Boys’ club continues.

    Have they learned anything? Should we expect anything to change?

  17. It’s life imitating Football again guys. It happens all the time.

    And this time I think the Appalling Football League is in a bit of trouble with its brand. Not The Game, that’s alive and well in the parklands and recreation grounds. No, just their brand of it. Gillon just doesn’t do it for me. The Goodes booing that was actually a carry over from last season, and of whole EFC/ASADA business was handled disgracefully. Make that abominably.

    But September’s around the corner, eh?

  18. I think we should always remember the sign that was behind the Essendon Press Conference when this saga started “Whatever it takes!”

  19. Yes, the stink of “What ever it takes” will hang around the Essendon Football Club like a dead carp.

  20. Football, like politics, has abandoned the convention that the head person takes responsibility for the actions of those under their charge (well, in bad times, anyway). James Hird should have stood down 3 years ago when it was obvious that a shonky injection program was operating under his purview. Just as Bronwyn Bishop should have stood down immediately her chopper flight was discovered. Both relied on claiming the legal high ground, but ignoring the moral equivalent.

  21. If you believe that Jim-Bob resigned of his own accord, then I’ve got some quality swampland to sell you.

    Hird the player will always be a champion to me, but Hird the coach had to go. Paul Little should join him in heading out the door. Immediately. As Gerard Whateley has suggested; what possible value is there in Little overseeing the appointment of the new coach if his next move after that will be to make way for a new Chairman? And how does a new Chairman deal with the possibility that the next coaching appointment doesn’t work out? How is this possibly allowing Essendon to ‘move on’ as has been stated so often in the last few days?

    What I wouldn’t give to have Armando Iannucci and Tony Roche adapt a season of “The Thick of It’ based on the Essendon Football Club circa 2012-2015. Does Peter Capaldi play Hird or Bomber Thompson? Or does Paul Higgins (Jamie) get the role of Bomber (“I will remove your iPod from its tiny Nano sheath and push it up your c–k and then I’ll put some speakers up your arse and put it on tae shuffle wi’ mah fist. And every time I hear something that I don’t like – which will be everytime that something comes on – I will skip to the next track by crushing your balls…” )?

    On the media’s role in all this: On Monday evening on AFL360, Mark Robinson stated unequivocally that there would be a challenge to the current board/rival ticket up and running within 48 hours. That was Tuesday. There’s less than 10 hours left for the supposed challenge to eventuate. This, ladies and gentlemen, is coming from the CHIEF football writer for the Herald-Sun. This mystery nine might want to get their skates on.

    And Bravo to Caroline Wilson for winning a Walkley and a Quill Award from all this by waiting for leaks from AFL House to appear in her inbox. Well played. Work smarter, not harder people.

    Old mate at the bar of your local pub has disseminated information that’s about as reliable as some of the stuff that we’ve read/seen at times in our media since February 2013.

  22. Simon Killen says

    I read elsewhere in this week’s edition that there’s a piece on the transition of AFL from “sport” to “industry”. Timely.

    Because the whole Hirdy circus has been the logical extension of the flush of staggering financial sums into the VFL/AFL, the money, and the endless amount of toadies that get to hang around. I heard the other day there are 700 people employed by the AFL. 700!!?? Is Rupert a legend as dribbled by Gillon? Yeah he is. But not for so many reasons of quality.

    Love to hear/read more about how the media (of whom there seems about 700 people as well) managed to get absolutely nowhere on this (excluding Wilson/Smith). It’s beyond anything I have learnt about ethics and responsibility that Hird was able to get a few weeks into his pathetic failure to take responsibility. But a few years??

    Life is not as we knew it Jim.

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