Suspended coach James Hird will return to Essendon on August 25, but it won’t in a coaching capacity.
Suspended coach James Hird’s return to Essendon has been confirmed by the club, however he will take up a limited role for the rest of the season.
The club will welcome back Hird on August 25, however his role will be confined to preparation for the 2015 season – meaning he won’t have any coaching duties for the rest of 2014.
Essendon chairman Paul Little outlined the club’s plans for Hird in a club statement.
“The principle agreed on was heavily influenced by what was in the best interests of the club and, most importantly, the players,” he said.
“Earlier this week I met with James, general manager of football performance Neil Craig, CEO Xavier Campbell and 2014 senior coach Mark Thompson to discuss what is in the best interest of the club and more specifically the playing group, as we prepare for what we all hope will be an active finals campaign.
“As a result, we have all agreed that when James is eligible to return to the club on 25 August, James’ focus will be entirely on the 2015 season – he will not be in the coaching box or have an active coaching role at training.
“In that time period between 25 August until our final game of the season, James will take the opportunity to begin planning the upcoming pre-season, list management, recruiting and preparation for 2015 away from the club.”
While Hird was keen to jump straight back into a coaching position, he said he understood the club’s position.
“As much as I would dearly love to have jumped straight back into working with the team, I am determined that whatever role I play should in no way act as a distraction from the 2014 campaign,” Hird said.
“I would like to congratulate the club on what has been achieved so far this year. In very tough circumstances, the club has demonstrated great strength and resilience.”