Mark Thomp­son

Inside Sport - - IN HINDSIGHT -

De­spite be­ing a deep and in­no­va­tive thinker about Aus­tralian rules foot­ball, Mark “Bomber” Thomp­son has as much pas­sion for the peo­ple as he does for the game – per­haps more. In terms of per­son­al­ity, phi­los­o­phy and achieve­ment, he’s been one of mod­ern foot­ball’s most im­por­tant fig­ures, yet re­mains a re­luc­tant celebrity. A key mem­ber of three premier­ship sides dur­ing Essendon’s golden era un­der Kevin Sheedy, Thomp­son found him­self coach­ing a floun­der­ing Gee­long after a rel­a­tively short ap­pren­tice­ship. Seven years later, in 2007, they were premiers, and a club to be en­vied. He coached them to another win in 2009. After Thomp­son wearily re­signed in 2011, Chris ScoŠ took over his side and im­me­di­ately won a third. Bomber took a pay cut to men­tor Essendon’s new se­nior coach, James Hird, but two years later, scan­dal erupted when Essendon con­fessed to a sup­ple­ments regime. There fol­lowed three years of pro­tracted trou­bles, in­clud­ing Hird’s sus­pen­sion and even­tual sack­ing, res­ig­na­tions of the pres­i­dent and CEO, a hefty fine for Thomp­son and oth­ers for “bring­ing the game into dis­re­pute” and the even­tual sus­pen­sion of 34 past and present Essendon play­ers for 2016. To this day, no one has proved any player took a banned sub­stance. In 2014, Thomp­son took a bridg­ing role as Essendon coach un­til Hird’s re­turn at the end of that year, then le€ the AFL be­hind for­ever. Bomber holds noth­ing back in his new au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, Bomber –

The Whole Story Story. He talks to Robert Drane.

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