James Hird’s legacy is currently in tatters, and if he wants to regain the faith of Bombers fans he needs to return as Essendon coach in 2015. But in a new experience for Hird, this decision is ultimately up to the club.
Hird is used to calling the shots, whether as a player or in his coaching career. If he wanted something done, people would listen and more often than not get it done.
James Hird could do no wrong. This is what most Essendon supporters believed when he stepped on a football ground, and again when he returned to coach the club in 2011.
Three years on it has been proven that he could, in fact, do things wrong – a great many of them.
Whether the wrongs were intentional or not, they happened. The club is currently paying for it, while Hird is overseas with $1 million in his back pocket.
After Essendon’s stirring Round 1 win over North Melbourne under new coach Mark Thompson, a new question is being raised.
Do Essendon really need James Hird? I, for one, never thought it would reach this point. Hird was the closest thing to ‘God’ Essendon had ever seen.
Yes, it is only Round 1. But the way in which Thompson’s players outworked their opponents showed they are a very good team and he is still one hell of a coach.
Thompson’s game plan stood up against an opposition many regarded as top four material. In fact, the defence more than stood up – it demoralised the North Melbourne players.
If Thompson is willing to coach beyond this season, letting go of Hird would be the smart move for Essendon. It would be a huge financial blow to pay out his contract, but it rids the club of the controversy that is Hird and his wife, Tania.
This move would be disastrous for Hird, but the club needs to think about its own future before the legacy of Hird.
The manner in which Tania Hird went about speaking up in defence of her husband was completely irrational. If your husband is being paid $1 million to not coach the club, surely you could stay quiet for the season and let the club focus on improving its image?
The club should’ve been celebrating Dustin Fletcher’s amazing milestone, but once again Hird’s future was on the agenda because his wife couldn’t contain herself.
If Hird does return to coach the club in 2015, his legacy will be on the line. If success follows, he will once again be seen as the saviour. If disappointment follows, he may just be remembered as the villain.