Incoming Essendon board member and club great Kevin Sheedy says he would welcome back former coach James Hird if he was appointed to a football department role.
As a player, Hird was an Essendon champion, but led the Bombers as coach during the supplements saga that ultimately saw him depart, 34 players suspended and the club hit a low point from which it is yet to recover.
Sheedy, who is due to join the Bombers' board on October 15, said Hird's football mind was still an asset at AFL level.
"I'd welcome back James Hird to Essendon any time," Sheedy told Melbourne radio station 3AW.
"His knowledge is fantastic, so that wouldn't worry me at all."
The Bombers finished 13th this year and haven't won a final since 2004, when Sheedy was still coach.
But the former mentor rejected the suggestion the club was in serious trouble.
"We're not happy we're 13th," he said.
"Every now and then obviously clubs go up and down the ladder and we've been probably out of really serious contention for a top-four finals berth for a long time.
"So I think in the end we need to get that sorted out and see where we go."
Sheedy hinted the club was still dealing with the after-effects of its supplements saga, including some of the large contracts used to retain the affected players.
"The club has gone through an enormous amount of turmoil with the supplements saga," he said.
"To be honest, some of the contracts would have been being loyal to the players as they went through that - we would have a couple of the boys are still there on those contracts."
The Bombers have been hit by Adam Saad and Joe Daniher, requesting to leave in the past week.
Sheedy said Essendon needed to focus on supporting coach Ben Rutten, rather than other clubs' moves, while he said he didn't know football department boss Dan Richardson well.
He also flagged Port Adelaide assistant Michael Voss and fellow former head coaches Ross Lyon and Mark Williams as potential assistants if Rutten required support.