Overheard at Essendon Part 5: Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word (or, When are you going to pay for the gift!)

Conversation secretly taped at Essendon’s training centre, 4.35pm, Tuesday 18 August 2015

Player: Hi, you left a note in my locker, wanted to see me?

Official: (sob, sob)

Player: Oh, sorry, should I come back.

Official: No, I’m fine (sniffle) just very very upset.

Player: I’ve never seen you cry before, not through this whole thing.

Official: It’s just so upsetting, to see a man treated that way by the media, having to walk away from what he loves, such a great guy. (sob)

Player: You mean David Evans? No, you must mean Mark Thompson. Or do you mean Ian Robson?

Official: No, Hirdy of course! To see him have to leave, just breaks me up. So sad.

Player: Yeah, the way he took responsibility again for everything that happened to us, just broke me up too.

Official: Exactly, I knew you had a heart in there somewhere. I mean, what’s it been like for him?

Player: You mean how has it been for him now, when we were slogging out guts out losing while he had no idea in the coach’s box? Or last year, when we were suffering in the media while he studied at our expense in France? Or do you mean when he was in the witness box, saying how it wasn’t anything to do with him, when we thought the case was called because it was going be about proving there was no case against us? What was it like for him then?

Official: Well, all those times. It must have been awful for him and his family. And now he’s gone.

Player: Yes, gone, leaving us with three games to play, no structure or game plan and talk of mass delistings and no one wanting to trade for us.

Official: You don’t seem to be upset by this?

Player: No, not in the least. If he had the foggiest idea about coaching, had left a lasting football impression on me, set an example by his values, was as accountable as a coach as he expected me to be as a player and placed any emphasis on the truth, maybe I’d miss him. But no, this might scream of self-interest, but I don’t think I’ll miss him at all.

Official: I can’t believe what I am hearing. It’s almost that you don’t care about the club, about the history of the place, about what we stand for, about people! It’s like you are just about yourself!

Player: Well, maybe I learned more from Hirdy than I realised when you put it that way.

Official: See, I knew you’d miss him.

Player: Why did you want to see me?

Official: Well, we’ve talked a few times about donations, and I’ve been chasing you for ages about chipping in for presents. You haven’t contributed to James’s first farewell and welcome back gifts, Bomber’s welcome back and farewell gifts, the Dank, Robson, Evans, Corcoran and Weapon farewell gifts, and now there’s James’s final farewell gift. Also, we need money for Mark Neeld’s and Neil Craig’s farewell gifts too.

Player: I though the review hadn’t started yet?

Official: Just creating a reasonable contingency plan.

Player: Well, we’ve been through this before, I’m not paying up.

Official: Listen, I am getting a little over this. You need to be part of the team here, don the sash, all for one, we fly as one, side by side, we stand for Hirdy, never tear us apart, we’re a happy team at Essendon, you know.

Player: I think you may have included some clubs apart from ours there.

Official: Whatever. Look, James has been part of this place for ages, His goddam grad-dad has a stand named in his honour at Windy Hill. He won flags for us, bled for us, got smashed up for us. He won a Norm Smith and a Charlie, he’s a life member, Hall of Fame, all that. He’d take a bullet for the club!

Player: Or at least a needle.

Official: For the last time, I am asking you to donate some cash for a gift. Is that too much to ask?

Player: Too much to ask? Interesting. Let’s look at what’s too much to ask? Is it too much to ask for someone that said they took responsibility for something to actually then take responsibility? Is it too much to ask for someone not to defy the club and take legal action to drag out a matter to only protect their name? Is it too much to ask for someone who says the truth will come out to then actually share that truth? Is it too much to ask that a person not spend precious company money in defiance of club directions? Is it too much for someone to replace a successful two-time premiership winning coach who got us to a final series after a year’s holiday overseas? Is it too much to ask that someone not stay defiantly in their role when it was clear that the players didn’t respond to him, then nick off when our season was shot, leaving our futures in doubt?

Official: I’m just looking for $20 for a farewell gift.

Player: I tell you what, I will pay up. In fact I’ll give you loads of money for whatever gift he wants. I’ll even pay for another family trip to France, or a trench coat for Tanya, whichever is more.

Official: Great. Oh hang on, I know you, there’s a catch right?

Player: Not really. I just need one simple question answered, then all the gift donations are yours. One simple question, and I pay up, all forgotten, all forgiven

Official: Ok, what?

Player: As soon as you tell me honestly and factually, what Dank injected into me all those times, I pay up.

Official: That’s not fair! I can’t wait that long for your money!

Player: Thought so. See you later.

Door slams

Official: Stuff it, I’ll just talk to payroll, take it from his match payments. (Sings) See the Bombers fly up, up…


Fade to Black (and red)

About Sean Curtain

"He was born with a gift of laughter, and a sense that the world was mad". First line of 'Scaramouche' by Sabatini, always liked that.

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