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Dons abandoned me in time of need, says Hird

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The people inside the club at the time were not about supporting emotionally the people who were going through those times
James Hird

IN THE wake of Essendon great Mark Thompson's fall from grace, Bombers champion James Hird says he felt abandoned by the club during its recent turbulent era.

Thompson fronted the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday after being charged with seven drug-related offences, including trafficking.

Hird coached the club during its doping scandal, and said Essendon did not offer enough support during a tumultuous period.

Speaking on his podcast with fellow Brownlow medallist Shane Crawford, Crawf & Hirdy – We Talk Football, Hird said: "They weren't (offering any support). The people inside the club at the time were not about supporting emotionally the people who were going through those times."

Personnel coming and going didn't make the situation easier, he added.

"The president left, we had three CEOs in the space of six months, we had HR people go," Hird said.

"It was really us — myself, 'Bomber', (former football manager) Danny Corcoran, (club doctor) Bruce Reid and some other staff. We weren't equipped to deal with it.

"Hopefully, we got the players through but 'Bomber' and myself, we didn't get through and I know Danny has had his (tough) times as well."

Hird suffered through deep clinical depression and overdosed on sleeping pills at the start of last year.

"That (anti-doping case) was the tipping point for a lot of us. My issues have been well-documented and now he is going through something that, hopefully, he can get through that and it doesn't go any further," Hird said.

"We all thought he had a problem in that area, personally, but no-one thought that it was any more than that."

Anyone needing assistance can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or go to beyondblue.org.au

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