Essendon coaching legend Kevin Sheedy is expected to be asked to resign from the club’s board following his extraordinary public response to the appointment of new coach Brad Scott, who says he’ not concerned about “things I can’t control”.
The Bombers on Thursday night confirmed Scott had been appointed the club’s new coach after the board “fully endorsed” the coaching sub-committee’s recommendation, according to club president David Barham.
Following Scott’s first official press conference as Bombers coach on Friday, a Herald Sun article was published where Essendon director Sheedy claimed the boardroom vote was 6-1 as he’d voted for club champion James Hird to be the new coach.
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“I am extremely disappointed that the comment from my club was that it was fully endorsed, when in fact I voted for James Hird to be the coach of Essendon,’’ Sheedy told the Herald Sun.
‘’Now, I would’ve expected that to have been written, and that in the end the board actually won that vote.
“But I want to make sure all the fans know that I voted for James Hird and I’m extremely disappointed with the report that went out from the Essendon media department.
“I’m not happy.
“Don’t tell the Essendon fan base an untruth.
“This is what happens when you bring new people into the club.
“I actually felt insulted that Hird would think I voted against him after what he’s done for our club.’’
Sheedy’s comments left many footy pundits and fans stunned.
Speaking on AFL Trade Radio, senior AFL reporter Damien Barrett said Barham would not take “kindly” to the comments from Sheedy, who would be “given the opportunity to resign”.
“I would think if he refuses that opportunity, David Barham will have no choice but to actually just remove him from the board,” Barrett told AFL Trade Radio.
“Right now he‘s just about breaking down the foundations of the Essendon footy club.
“If you remove the name ‘Kevin Sheedy’ from this and just said a director has said this, it‘s a no-brainer. He’s not walking back into that club as a director again.”
Former North Melbourne coach David Noble said Sheedy’s comments detract from “the celebration of Scotty returning to footy”.
“To have a person that was successful in the first tenure, go away, learn, come back in – and now to have, what looks like, a bit of a dysfunctional type of board in that sense, from all the work they‘ve tried to do behind the scenes … it’s not what you’d need,” Noble told AFL Trade Radio.
“It just feels a bit disruptive.”
Former Carlton and Giants list boss Stephen Silvagni added: “The interesting thing about it, though, is that obviously Kevin was staunch with Dave Barham in gaining control of the Essendon boardroom, so the way I read it is really Kevin‘s one of Dave’s allies. All of a sudden this has happened, so it’s going to be a difficult conversation at the end of the day.”
A diplomatic Scott wouldn’t be drawn into a response to Sheedy’s comments.
“I think it’s healthy to have debate. I think its really important that there’s a really rigorous process,” Scott told AFL Trade Radio.
“To be honest, if Essendon had said ‘if you want to coach we’re going to appoint you without a process’, I would’ve been concerned by that.
“The board ratified that decision (from the coaching sub-committee), so I’m not privy to the discussions the board had – and if I was privy to those discussions, I wouldn’t disclose them.
“I’m really comfortable that I’ve gone through a rigours process and that’s the outcome.”
Asked if he was concerned a club director had spoken out likely Sheedy had just hours after Scott had been unveiled as the new coach, Scott said: “There are some things that I can control – and that’s almost 100 per cent the football department and the football program – and the commitment that Essendon have given me is that I’ll have autonomy in the football department, I’ll be able to build a program that we aim to be a world-class football program. That’s my focus.
“There’s a lot of things I can’t control and once a coach starts to step out of his lane and start to get involved in things that are quite frankly above his level, I think we get into trouble.
“I understand the question and I think there will be some people who’d be concerned, but my focus is just on footy and I’ll let the powers that be take care of the rest.”
When asked about Sheedy’s position on the board on Friday — before the Herald Sun article was published — Barham said: “Sheeds has been a great supporter of this team and a really important part of the board and really important part of this club.
“He will fully support, he‘ll be right behind Brad and this footy club as he has been for every other coach in the whole time in Essendon.
“Sheeds is a really important part of the club.”