This moment is the 16th of a virtual series presenting the Bombers' best 30 moments over 150 years, which fans can vote on for their chance to win prizes. Click here to view and vote, and see the schedule and prizes below.
When Essendon signed former Richmond champion Kevin Sheedy as the game’s first full-time coach in October 1980, the club was making a statement that it needed a culture change. Having not won a premiership since 1965, nor won a final of any sort since 1968, the faithful was growing restless. Sheedy had played in three premierships for the Tigers under legendary coach Tom Hafey, so he knew what it took to develop a winning culture, on and off the field.
The Bombers had been in a rebuilding phase since the mid-1970s, where coaches Bill Stephen (1976-77), then Barry Davis (1978-80), blooded a number of youngsters who would go on to form the nucleus of the teams which won back-to-back premierships in the 1980s. Players such as Tim Watson, Simon Madden, Garry Foulds and Paul Vander Haar, among others, had shown plenty of promise, they just needed someone to take them to the next level.
Sheedy came in and immediately instilled a harder edge to the team, where anything less than full-on effort and dedication was unacceptable. He enticed highly respected Richmond recruiter Noel Judkins to join him at Windy Hill, where he became the VFL’s first full-time recruiting manager. Doctors Bruce Reid and Ian Reynolds soon joined the party. Over the next few years, Sheedy, Judkins and chairman of selectors Brian Donohoe undertook a recruiting drive that netted them the final pieces of their premiership puzzle.
Sheedy’s arrival is undoubtedly one of, if not the most, significant signings in Essendon’s history. Despite having no senior coaching experience at the time, he was a great listener and observer, and, importantly, a fast learner who was never afraid to try new things if he felt they could help the team succeed.
Part-salesman, part-educator, part-disciplinarian, part-father-figure, part-gospeller, part-tactician, part-innovator and part-city planner, Sheedy set the precedent for the modern-day coach. And, in the process, he took Essendon from a club in the northern suburbs of Melbourne to one that was recognisable throughout Australia.
SCHEDULE OF MOMENTS
Round 1 (launching May 6) - 1872-1939
Round 2 (launching May 10) - 1940-1959
Round 3 (launching May 15) - 1960-1979
Round 4 (launching May 20) - 1980-1989
Round 5 (launching May 25) - 1990-1999
Round 6 (launching May 30) - 2000-2021
Round 7 (launching June 4) - Finals round
Round 1 – One 2022 merchandise pack, including an Essendon New Era Black on Black 9FORTY Snapback cap ($40) and an Essendon Heritage Bar Scarf ($30)
Round 2 – One Essendon Fibre of Football Scarf ($80)
Round 3 - One Essendon Football Club 150-year anniversary commemorative mosaic ($295)
Round 4 – One Essendon Football Club 150-year anniversary commemorative mosaic ($295)
Round 5 – One 2022 team-signed guernsey ($500)
Round 6 – One copy of the Red & Black Collection special 150th anniversary book ($329)
Round 7 – One copy of the Red & Black Collection special 150th anniversary book ($329) and one 2022 team-signed guernsey ($500)