Thompson ‘no’ to coaching

Mark Thompson says Essendon players deserve a coach who can fully commit to a revival next season and has made it official he will not lead that charge.

Essendon will continue exploring “plan B” options in its search for a replacement for suspended coach James Hird following Thompson’s decision to withdraw his name from the top of the list of candidates.

After a season where the Bombers had their finals position stripped off them in the fallout from the supplements saga, Thompson said the players must have a coach that can help them reclaim the success they earned but did not get to enjoy this year.

Speaking on Fox Footy on Monday night, the former Geelong premiership coach confirmed reports earlier in the day that he had officially ruled himself out of taking the job.

Thompson said he had been emotionally drained by the drugs scandal and he was not sure he could commit to the all-encompassing workload of a senior coach.

“We went through a big year and I think the players deserve someone who is going to be fully into it. They deserve the best chance they’ve got to play their best footy,” Thompson said.

“I feel better, but I’ve still been through a tough year, a really tough year,” he said.

“We felt so lonely inside our own club at times this year. It’s taken a lot out of me.”

The Bombers have committed to re-appointing Hird as senior coach in 2015, but need to find a coach to lead the team next season while Hird serves a 12-month ban for his role in the drugs scandal.

Thompson, who was fined $30,000 for his part in the saga, had been the Bombers’ first choice to fill the role, and Hird had declared his desire that his senior assistant step in.

However the Bombers will now have to turn to other assistant coaches already at the club or widen their search for someone outside Windy Hill.

What role Thompson, currently a senior assistant, will play at the club in 2014 remains unclear.

It is possible he could take a break from football and Thomson admitted it was not 100 per cent certain that he would be at the Bombers next season.

“It just depends on who they select as coach and where they see me fit, if they do,” he said.

Although he insisted: “I certainly want to help the club if they think I can help, if the players think I can play a role, then I’ll do it”.

Thompson admitted he was tempted to take over the interim role in the days after the AFL handed down its penalties from the drugs saga.

Although he said that initial desire was “just anger”, rather than a passion to return to coaching.

“I said ‘I’m just going to go there and we are going to win as many games as we can, we are going to get the support behind us and show the AFL’,” he said.

“But it’s just taken a big toll.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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