James Hird Survives Essendon Board Meeting

AFL Rd 21 - Essendon v North Melbourne

Though reports indicated that the club was expected to announce his dismissal today, James Hird has kept his job as Essendon coach after another day of drama for the Bombers. Reports indicated that the Essendon board was expected to vote today in favour of sacking Hird.

As The Herald Sun reports, Hird left the club’s Tullamarine headquarters feeling relieved. “I’m still the coach, so that is great,” he told reporters. “It was not a normal day but we have a big job ahead of us with the trade week and finding an assistant coach, so we are keen to get that going as soon as we can.”

The 41-year-old coach said he had not spoken to Essendon board members and would find out more about their deliberations soon. According to News Limited, the swell of support from players, fans and members, as well as ongoing legal issues have kept Hird in his current post for another day.

In a repeat of last Thursday’s drama, when it was reported that the first stage of Hird’s sacking was already underway, both the club and Hird have confirmed that his job is safe for now, but his future with the Bombers remains unclear.

As he made his way to Bombers HQ this morning, Hird told reporters that he expected he will still be the club’s coach at the end of today. When pressed on whether he had the full support of the club’s board members, he replied, “I didn’t say that, I just said I think I’ll be coach at the end of the day.”

A statement from chairman Paul Little indicated that there is “no timeframe” on resolving the club’s dispute with the coach. “The board believes it would be potentially reckless to make any decisions of significance until there is further clarity on these crucial matters,” he said.

“The board recognises the rights of James to pursue his appeal of the recent Federal Court decision,” he continued. “James remains senior coach of the Essendon Football Club and will work closely with other members of the football department during this particularly important trade and planning period in preparation for the 2015 season.”

Little added, “The board understands the uncertainty ongoing media speculation creates for our members and supporters. We recognise there are many different opinions on these matters and reaffirm the board is committed to acting in the best interests of the club and its members.”

Hird and Bombers brass have been at odds since he launched an appeal against last month’s Federal Court verdict that found ASADA‘s investigation into the 2012 Essen­don supplements program lawful.

According to The Age, Hird could threaten Essendon with a contempt of court action if the club uses his Federal Court appeal as the basis for his firing, on the premise that it is wrong to threaten to fire an employee for pursuing their legal rights.