James Hird has well and truly moved on from coaching in the AFL.
James Hird has well and truly moved on from coaching in the AFL.

‘Millions of debt’: Hird’s daily dilemma

Former Essendon coach James Hird might have finally found his niche away from Aussie Rules - but not away from sport.

In a stunning career development the Bombers great has moved on to brokering the sale of massive football clubs the world over as well as repping an Aussie boot brand who have signed one of Brazil's biggest stars.

Watch Hird's old team Essendon take on the West Coast Eagles in the AFL elimination final on Thursday night on KAYO Sports. Get your 14-day free trial and start streaming now

It's a stunning turnaround for Hird who seems to have finally bounced back from his role in the Bombers' doping scandal and more than landed on his feet - even playing a part in the sale of Inter Milan.

"One group worked with Suning, a Chinese company and they bought Inter Milan," Hird said. "That was a very small piece of work around that, there were some bigger pieces of work with some English clubs - some of them didn't go through, one of them did go through."

Hird also revealed on an ABC podcast with Santo, Sam and Ed that so many of the clubs he has worked with, no matter their size, are on the brink of financial ruin.

"It's interesting when you get approached to do something like that. It's very much, you get wowed by the name of the club. But when you look at the economics, they're in dire straits. These clubs are on the edge, there's millions and millions of debt, and someone's going to take that debt out," he said.

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Hird has learned the difference between success and failure could simply be whether the club owns their own stadium and are part of a mega TV rights deal, explaining why there is a major difference between a club like Newcastle and their local rivals Sunderland.

"Sunderland has got the issue of no manufacturer, they're moving out of Sunderland, there is no local sponsor, the town has a real problem and the mine has shut down," Hird said when asked if the Black Cats were a good buy.

"Newcastle, there's always speculation (owner Mike Ashley) is trying to sell, but he wants a price. The lady who was trying to buy it won't (meet it). He won't even sit down with her in a meeting - it's like watching Neighbours, it's an absolute soap opera in front of your eyes."

Hird also said the $A181 million transfer fee Juventus paid for Cristiano Ronaldo was an absolute bargain for the club, especially if they achieve their dream of winning the Champions League again.

Cristiano Ronaldo is worth every cent Juve paid for him.
Cristiano Ronaldo is worth every cent Juve paid for him.

"One of the reasons Juve is back on track is the stadium," Hird said. "I think that (signing Ronaldo) has proven to be so (a bargain) and if they come back to win the Champions League then it continues to be."

When speaking of superstars Hird is also doing work with Aussie boot company Concave and had a role in increasing their profile in China by signing a massive Brazilian star to the brand.

That star is Shanghai SIPG striker Hulk and the company is now reaping the rewards while Hird got to enjoy the launch party.

"We signed him up and had a big launch party in Shanghai. It was great. He had quite a big posse," he said. "We adapted that boot for Hulk and brought out a new prototype. No one knew anything about us in China, but now, the brand's getting some cut-through. He is the best player in China and we wanted to sell boots in China."
Hird has even loftier goals for the brand though and has a focus on their future in Europe with one name in mind to sign, France star Kylian Mbappe.

Only time will tell if he can make that happen but the future for Hird now is a lot brighter than it was just a couple of years ago.


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