Thompson stands firm on exit from Cats - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Thompson stands firm on exit from Cats

Greg Buckle 07/12/2010 07:15:12 PM Comments (0)

If Geelong fans feel betrayed by Mark Thompson's controversial switch to Essendon, he feels sorry for them.

But Thompson wouldn't change a thing about the way he's handled himself over the past few months, quitting the Cats in October citing burn-out, then accepting a role as a super assistant at Essendon a month later.

Looking tanned and relaxed after a holiday in the US, the 47-year-old denied he had been in contact with the Bombers as far back as July on being a mentor for new Essendon coach James Hird for the 2011 AFL season.

Thompson said on Tuesday he felt he could no longer handle the scrutiny and pressure of being a senior coach, which is why he left Geelong with one year remaining on his contract.

While thanking Thompson for his great service over the past 11 years, including the 2007 and 2009 premierships, key Geelong figures such as retiring president Frank Costa have said they would have preferred Thompson made his intentions clear earlier than October.

But speaking for the first time since Essendon officially announced his return to the club, Thompson said making his decision public before the end of the season would have distracted Geelong's premiership campaign.

"Being a senior coach, you just get criticised very heavily a lot of the times in your life and you almost become immune to it and that's where I'm at," Thompson told a press conference at Windy Hill.

"I can look myself in the mirror and just say that I'm happy with everything that I've done.

"If other people don't see it that way well then I'm sorry for them."

Asked if he would have done anything differently regarding his departure from Geelong, Thompson said: "Probably not.

"If you're talking about I should have announced that I wasn't going to coach senior football while the season was still going, that would be a definite no because a lot of the focus would have been off the team and our chances of winning another premiership and we weren't that far away last season (2010 preliminary finalists).

"I pretty much knew in my heart that I didn't want to be a senior coach any more.

"Maybe I told a few people around, a few friends and it snuck out.

"Genuinely I was done. I wasn't burnt out, I just didn't want to be a senior coach any more."

Thompson tried to claim coaching against the Cats on July 2 at Etihad Stadium would "just be another day at the office".

"I haven't got a problem with Geelong at all. If they have, well that's their problem," he said.

Cats fans have expressed their anger over Thompson's departure, which came after he preached mid-year to Cats star Gary Ablett to show loyalty to the club rather than accept Gold Coast's lucrative offer.

"It would have been an easier year if he had made a decision earlier," Thompson said on Tuesday.

"The speculation was just crazy. I was too scared to do an interview because of being asked.

"I've walked away for less money. I've walked away from a job to do another job.

"It's completely different and I hope that people understand that."

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