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Thompson named Senior Coach for 2014

Essendon Football Club is pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Thompson as its senior coach for the entire 2014 season.

The club would also like to welcome Neil Craig, who has been appointed to the newly established role of Head of Coaching Development and Strategy.

After a thorough interview process, which included a number of highly talented and experienced candidates, the club felt Thompson was the most suitable person to coach the team next season.

Chairman Paul Little said the club was confident ‘Bomber’ was the right person to take on the role.

“We are pleased to appoint Mark to the role of senior coach for the 2014 season,” Little said.

“Bomber was influential in developing and implementing the current game plan and with his strong established relationships with the coaching panel and playing group, we felt he was the right man to lead the club forward next season.”

“This is a unique situation, and as such we had to give strong consideration to how we could create the most seamless structure for James’ return in late 2014. We feel Bomber is the right person to see this process through.”

Bomber said he was looking forward to taking on the responsibility of the senior coaching role.

“I made my intentions clear to the club several weeks ago that I was ready and willing to take on the job if they felt I was the best candidate to do so,” Thompson said.

“This club has been through a tough season, we have learnt so much about the resilience and mental toughness of our players, and there is so much optimism and excitement about what we can achieve as a club next season.“

Neil Craig’s appointment as the Head of Coaching Development and Strategy for the next two seasons was part of the club’s recent changes to its football department.

Little said Craig’s wealth of experience would assist the football department through the period of transition and guide it towards its key objectives and outcomes.

 “Neil has worked at some of the most professional sporting organisations in the country and we feel the experience and knowledge he brings will benefit our entire football department,” Little said.

“Among Neil’s key roles will be to work with the senior coach to establish the strategic direction of the football coaching program, to provide mentoring, guidance, development and support to the coaches and players, and to ensure there is strong communication and engagement between the coaching group and the greater Football Department.”

The former Adelaide and Melbourne coach said he was very excited about his appointment to the new position.

“I’m really pleased to have been appointed to the position of Head of Coaching Development and Strategy. I feel I bring some unique insights and experiences and I’m looking forward to the challenge of helping the club move forward after a frustrating season,” Craig said.

“What is really pleasing is that my values and philosophy on football aligned with Essendon and I’m looking forward to working with the coaches and players who, I believe, have an enormous amount of talent and potential.”

Essendon Football Club would like to thank the other candidates for their time during the recruitment process.