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James Hird Essendon, secret meeting with David Barham, new coach, Kevin Sheedy, Brad Scott, relationship with club

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Essendon great James Hird is reportedly “fully lost to the club” after president David Barham’s decision to appoint Brad Scott as Ben Rutten’s replacement.

Herald Sun reporter and AFL 360 co-host Mark Robinson wrote on Tuesday evening Hird received a visit from Barham in the lead-up to Rutten being sacked as the coach, during which he assured the former captain he and Kevin Sheedy would be selecting Rutten’s successor.

The report also revealed Hird was understood to be considering a run at the club presidency, which was held by Paul Brasher at the time, before eventual president Barham’s meeting at Hird’s home.

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At that meeting, Hird and Barham reportedly agreed the former would apply for a coaching role while the latter would push for the presidency.

Hird and Sheedy, the report said, felt “betrayed” by Barham after he appointed Scott to the role of head coach.

During the announcement of Rutten’s departure at a press conference, Barham was asked if he had spoken to Hird, to which he responded: “Well, no, I haven’t.”

Asked if he would sound out Hird, he said: “I won’t be sounding anyone out because there’s a process. We’re going to rely on a process, a real thorough process to decide who our next coach is.’’

Sheedy expressed his disappointment at Scott’s appointment via a scathing series of comments to the Herald Sun.

“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 said in late September.

“The vote was 6-1. 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.’’

Hird had returned to senior football in 2022 via a part-time role with Greater Western Sydney, seven years after he was sacked as Essendon coach amid the fallout of the infamous supplements scandal.

He won’t be working at the club in 2023 after his departure was revealed earlier in February.

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