Tim Watson says he can't see why Essendon can't find a specific role for Mark Thompson to keep him at the club.

Tim Watson says he can't see why Essendon can't find a specific role for Mark Thompson to keep him at the club. Photo: Angela Wylie

Essendon great Tim Watson has urged the Bombers to find a way to keep Mark Thompson at the club next season.

Tim, the father of Bombers captain Jobe, went as far as stating it was not inconceivable that the club could re-appoint Thompson as senior coach for 2015 and have him act as a mentor for James Hird, who would take a lesser position underneath Thompson.  

He made it clear he had no idea whether Hird, who is contracted to return as senior coach for the 2015 and 2016 seasons, would be open to such an arrangement.

''I don’t think it’s inconceivable,'' Tim said about the possible change in coaching arrangement. ''But I don’t know as to how he [Hird] would think about having that thrust upon him and coming back into the environment.''

His statements on SEN on Tuesday came the morning after Thompson gave an insight into his intentions for next year.

Speaking on Fox Footy on Monday night, Thompson said, ''I'm happy to stay if they really want'' but in relation to what role he would perform next year added: ''I don"t see one there at the moment because they are all filled.''

Thompson is poised to lead the club into the finals after agreeing to take over as senior coach for 2014 while Hird served a 12-month suspension he accepted from the AFL for his part in the supplements saga – the fallout from which remains ongoing and could yet lead to 34 past and present players receiving infraction notices.

Jobe Watson said the players were ''certainly'' expecting Hird to coach next season.

''We've heard nothing different. I know the players are excited to have Hirdy back but, again, we'd love to have Bomber here as well,'' he said on Tuesday. ''You don't find guys who have helped build dynasties at cubs ... they are not around everywhere.'' 

Jobe said he expected two-time Geelong premiership coach Thompson to ''take a while'' to make his decision after the season.

''I know Bomber went into this with a pretty clear-cut message that it was for one year to be the senior coach,'' he said. ''I think that he found that quite liberating, knowing that it had an end date for him – the exhaustion ... and the amount if takes out of you.''

Tim made it clear how highly he rated Thompson, who also accepted a $30,000 fine for his part in the supplements saga.  

''There’s good coaches, there’s very good coaches and then I think there are great coaches,'' he said. ''And I think very few are great coaches. I think Bomber is a great coach. Therefore, what I'm saying is, I can't see why Essendon can't find a specific role for him to keep him at the Essendon Football Club. I think he is that valuable, still.''

Tim said the club needed to understand why Thompson had been so successful this year. ''The reason why Bomber has been what he's been this year is because he actually has been the main man. He actually has been in control of the club,'' he said. ''He’s a great coach and he's already demonstrated that over a long period of time.''

Tim said he was not surprised Bombers chairman Paul Little came out so strongly after last week's Federal Court case to endorse Hird as the senior coach for the next two years, pointing out ''there has never been any movement on that'' from the club and that ''all the speculation has come from outside''.

Should the Bombers re-install Hird as senior coach as planned next year, Tim said the club should create a role in its football department that would tap into Thompson's strengths and experience. 

''What he is, is a great teacher, he’s great with young players, he's great with game-plan development, he's great in the coach's box on a weekend,'' he said. ''Is there a way then, looking at all the great things he's able to bring a football club, and then tailoring a position around those?''

It was put to Tim that the club should keep Thompson as coach and instead create a new role for Hird, to which he replied: ''The complexities of it is that he's been appointed as the senior coach, James Hird.

''I understand [things change], but in making that change he [Hird] would have to be brought along and he would have to be accepting of that change,'' Tim added. ''Now, I've never had that conversation with him so I don’t know where he’s at with that.''