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James Hird will have an official role to an AFL club for the first time since 2015 after joining GWS as a part-time leadership consultant.
The Brownlow Medallist and two-time Bombers premiership player resigned as Essendon coach near the end of the 2015 season after he was a key figure in the club's supplements debacle.
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He was suspended from the AFL for 12 months and while he returned to coaching the Bombers, the club legend eventually resigned.
Hird then suffered from serious mental health struggles, but spoke to GWS players last year players about his AFL career.
On Tuesday it was revealed that he now will have a formal role at the club for the 2022 season.
He credits his former Essendon teammate Mark McVeigh, now a Giants assistant coach, and GWS veteran Matt de Boer for his involvement with the club.
"I had got to know (Matt) quite well through some work away from the club and he invited me to come down and have lunch with the players while the team were in Melbourne last year," Hird said in a club statement.
"Mark McVeigh then asked if I would come and speak to the group about playing football in Melbourne, my experiences in the AFL, and impart some of my life journey.
"For younger players it's good to hear, but also for senior players."
AFL world divided over James Hird appointment
Hird also said he had a lot of respect for GWS coach Leon Cameron, a former opponent during their playing days, and he is looking forward to working with him.
"It's a part-time role and very much around the leadership group, but also around the emerging leaders and sharing my experiences in football and trying to get them to lead and encourage and work hard on that side of things," he said.
Giants football manager Jason McCartney said Hird had a lot to offer the club.
"It's fantastic to have someone of James' calibre join our program and work with our leadership group and emerging leaders' group," McCartney said.
"We welcome James' insights from both his storied football career and his work in the business world."
Footy fans flocked to social media to celebrate the news, however there was also some criticism.
You go James Hird, your a wonderful person I wish you luck in whatever you do. So proud of you. Hold your head up high.wonderful news.💛💙❤️
— lindy. (@littlejackieboy) January 11, 2022
Well done James. Great to see him back where he belongs.
— Scott (@ScottElderfiel1) January 11, 2022
Too good of a footy person and brain to not be involved somewhere Alves
— Josh Pierpoint (@Pierie19) January 11, 2022
Shouldn’t be trusted around an AFL team.
— Four Months of Kayo (@4monthsofkayo) January 11, 2022
Dunno how he can be trusted but you do you, GWS.
— Ben Helliwell (@shihad_rocks) January 11, 2022
About time… should have happened years ago
— Allan Edwards (@big_al_ed) January 11, 2022
Massive get for the Giants.
— Life Of The Party (@LOTP1234) January 11, 2022
Congratulations GWS! Devastated he's not back at Essendon but I know he will do great in his role. Please look after our Hirdy 😍
— td (@td_bomber05) January 11, 2022
Served his time.
Deserves to get on with his life.
Welcome to the club am sure you will benefit us in our mission for a first flag.
— Scott P.\tten (@ScottPatten76) January 11, 2022
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