Bombers board member Kevin Sheedy’s extraordinary response to the club’s coaching appointment of Brad Scott over James Hird have created more debate from the AFL world.
Sheedy went against Essendon’s public messaging that Scott’s appointment last week was a unanimous decision by the board, with the coaching great claiming the vote was 6-1 and revealing he in fact voted for Hird.
The Bombers director went on to express his “extreme disappointment” with the club, saying “don’t tell the Essendon fan base an untruth.”
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Responding to Sheedy’s controversial comments on SEN radio, former Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley believes they weren’t made with the best interest of the club.
“Kevin Sheedy is a legend of the game. What he has done, what he has contributed to the game cannot be questioned. But there are moments where the individual is put above the group and that can never happen for a club to prosper,” Buckley told SEN Breakfast.
“I can’t see how that was done with the (best) interests of the Essendon Football Club today and going forward. If you’re a board member, a senior coach, a player or a staff member and you’re not acting in the best interests of the organisation, well then you need to check yourself in that regard.
“As much as I love what ‘Sheeds’ has given to the game and what he’s contributed, I don’t think that was a wise utterance coming straight out of the disharmony that’s been at Essendon and still has to be sorted out.”
Essendon was left “greatly disappointed” in Sheedy in the aftermath, believing he’s “lost touch” with club members, while it’s been tipped the Bombers will now ask him to quit the board.
Demons great Garry Lyon also weighed in on the matter, saying he thinks the timing of Sheedy’s comments were untimely after the chaos that’s unfolded at the Bombers in recent times.
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“That’s the point that struck me. You’ve got this faith and loyalty to James Hird, which is great, and that’s what he was trying to impress upon everyone,” Lyon said.
“It’s divisive … at a time when this club has been pulled apart to a large degree, there’s dissatisfaction everywhere and the CEO is gone and the coach is gone and the president, you want unity.
“You’re selling unity and at the very first opportunity post the appointment of the coach is anything but. So that’s where the disappointment comes from those around Essendon.”
Buckley added that ultimately when an announcement of such a key hire is made, everyone at the club needs to then support it.
The Magpies champion suggested such issues always loomed for Scott in walking into the unsettled club.
“When you say you want unity, that’s not without challenge and rigour internally,” Buckley said.
“But once the decision is made, then it is our decision. For him to come out and say that … that’s no longer the Essendon’s board decision, it’s not united because he’s decided to step outside of that.
“Brad Scott as a senior coach comes in. This is not his to fix, but this was always going to be the challenge of the person who goes into the role of ‘what are you stepping into?’”