Matthew Lloyd blasts Essendon over 'embarrassing' CEO controversy

Essendon legend Matthew Lloyd (pictured right) during training and (pictured left) Andrew Thorburn posing for a photo.
Essendon legend Matthew Lloyd (pictured right) wasn't impress with how the club handled the Andrew Thorburn (pictured left) situation. (Getty Images)

Essendon legend Matthew Lloyd has labelled the club's handling of the Andrew Thorburn situation as 'embarrassing' after the newly appointed chief executive stood down after just one day.

Essendon received swift backlash on Monday due to Thorburn's involvement in a church with divisive views around abortion and homosexuality.

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Thorburn sensationally lasted just one day as Essendon's chief executive after swift criticism from the public, which included Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, caused him to resign.

The 57-year-old took a parting shot at Essendon and the public after his resignation when he claimed people were not tolerative of his faith.

Over the last 24 hours, Essendon has found themselves on the back foot after Thorburn's appointment.

And club legend Lloyd has labelled the whole fallout as 'embarrassing'.

“You used the word embarrassing, I agree with that with how it happened,” Lloyd said on AFL Trade Radio.

“I didn’t follow him too much, I’d heard the name Andrew Thorburn, didn’t know his background too well when he was part of the panel to select the CEO. I never like it when the person who is helping to find the CEO becomes it themselves, I don’t like that part of it too much.

“He got the job. I did get a few texts saying ‘what did you think of this appointment’ and then once I started reading a lot of the comments, there was a lot of people who were disappointed.

“It made me think to myself surely (president) David Barham, who I’m a big fan of, the club must have known the blowback they were going to get with this appointment, particularly having an AFLW side."

Lloyd said the whole saga has been another poor episode for Essendon.

"I always thought his beliefs were never going to align, his beliefs with an AFL football club, so how you get to that point is pretty staggering to me and then the pressure comes on 24 hours later," he added.

“Wouldn’t the club have known that earlier that this was going to come back to bite them? That’s the part of it that’s gobsmacked me to be honest and we sit here and it’s embarrassing. Another hit on the club that’s had a poor decade really."

Daniel Andrews and Andrew Thorburn, pictured here in Melbourne.
Daniel Andrews was among the many to criticise the views of Andrew Thorburn's church, describing them as 'appalling'. Image: AAP/Getty

Tim Watson blasts Essendon after CEO bungle

Fellow club great Tim Watson felt the bungled appointment could have been avoided if a more thorough background check was initiated.

This is despite Essendon president David Barham claiming in a statement that the club was thorough in their reference-check before the board appointed Thorburn.

“You just look at it at face value and so many people have told me that all you had to do was Google him and you’d find out the church he represented and what their beliefs were and Essendon could have found that out easily,” Watson said on SEN Breakfast radio.

“Clearly the process wasn’t rigorous enough and it wasn’t robust enough and the due diligence that needed to be applied to it wasn’t there and that goes to the heart of the football club and other appointments you make.”

Essendon great Tim Watson (pictured) during broadcast in an AFL match.
Essendon great Tim Watson (pictured) was also less than impressed with Essendon's bungling of the chief executive appointment. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Following his resignation, Thorburn took a dig at the club and the public who he claimed were not tolerative of his faith.

"I had seen a picture of a club that was not as broken as feared, and that with leadership and focus, could rebound strongly," he wrote on LinkedIn.

"However, today it became clear to me that my personal Christian faith is not tolerated or permitted in the public square, at least by some and perhaps by many. I was being required to compromise beyond a level that my conscience allowed.

"People should be able to hold different views on complex personal and moral matters, and be able to live and work together, even with those differences, and always with respect. Behaviour is the key. This is all an important part of a tolerant and diverse society.

"Let me be clear - I love all people, and have always promoted and lived an inclusive, diverse, respectful and supportive workplace - where people are welcomed regardless of their culture, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation. I believe my record over a long period of time testifies to this.

"Despite my own leadership record, within hours of my appointment being announced, the media and leaders of our community had spoken. They made it clear that my Christian faith and my association with a Church are unacceptable in our culture if you wish to hold a leadership position in society."

with AAP

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