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 Sco 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.