Sheedy backers wrecking Bombers: Watson - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sheedy backers wrecking Bombers: Watson

14/07/2010 06:15:54 PM Comments (0)

Essendon great Tim Watson says the AFL club is being destabilised by a faction still bitter about the 2007 exit of longtime coach Kevin Sheedy.

The Bombers are out of finals contention after a slump stretching to five consecutive defeats, ramping up the pressure on coach Matthew Knights, who is yet to take the team out of mediocrity since taking over from Sheedy.

Club chairman David Evans stopped short of guaranteeing Knights' tenure on Tuesday, but former skipper Watson said issues ran deeper than dissatisfaction with the 2010 win/loss ledger.

"There are people that have never been able to let go of the fact that Kevin Sheedy was not re-signed as the coach," Watson told radio station SEN.

"There are people around the club who talk about the fact that they are really strong Essendon supporters, who at one point actually had a power-base because they were around Kevin.

"When Kevin was no longer there, they lost that power-base., (and) they've never been able to forgive the club for that.

"Those people need to grow up. They need to understand that they support, or should support, the Essendon Football Club.

"And if they don't support the Essendon Football Club, if they really don't love the Essendon Football Club, they should move away.

"All they're trying to do from the outside is they're trying to dismantle the Essendon Football Club.

"They're being divisive, and it's not the right thing for a football club, if you say you're a true supporter of a football club."

Watson, who played 307 times for the Bombers and is also the father of current captain Jobe, contended that some players needed to be reminded of the damage that can be caused by leaking information.

"I think the players sometimes misunderstand how damaging it is to their own football club, when they move out of that group and they talk to people beyond that group," said Watson.

"They allow confidential discussions to then be a part of the general conversation of people.

"If they need a reminder of that, and based upon that story in the paper this morning, they need to be reminded again."

Essendon club leaders, including Jobe Watson, later issued a statement in which they denied reports that players had challenged Knights over selection decisions.

The statement, also on behalf of Evans, Knights and chief executive Ian Robson, said those within the club shared the pain of supporters.

"The coaches hurt, the players hurt, the board and administration hurts and the fans hurt," they said on the Essendon website.

But the Bombers hierarchy again refused to guarantee Knights would be allowed to see out his contract.

"As senior coach, Matthew Knights has a clear mandate from the board by virtue of a contract that runs to the end of the 2012 season," the statement said.

"That said, we all understand that none of us have guarantees."

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