In a classic case of Richmond sliding doors, the Tigers were about to offer Mark Thompson the coaching job in 2000, only to be rebuffed by the man who would guide Geelong to two flags because he didn’t like our reputation. Richmond’s last premiership mentor Tony Jewell recalled being director of football when the club replaced Jeff Gieschen as coach, and the decision being taken to give Thompson the job.
But when the then-North Melbourne assistant fronted senior Tiger officials, he spoke up before they could give him the news.”He said, ‘Look, if you’ve called me in to tell me I’ve got the job, I don’t want it’,” Jewell recalled ”He said, ‘I’ve made a few inquiries about Richmond and how it operates, and you’re not my type of club’.” The Tigers instead appointed Danny Frawley, while Thompson signed on for an 11-season, two-flag stint at Geelong. Jewell has always admired his honesty.
Another official from the time recalled thinking that Thompson was concerned that ”the Graeme Richmond way” of ruthless administration still prevailed, that only the rat cunning survived, and he didn’t consider himself that sort of person.
Oh the irony…