MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 16: Bombers coach James Hird walks from the ground after an Essendon Bombers AFL training session at True Value Solar Centre on July 16, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Essendon great James Hird has spoken publicly for the first time since holding talks with the club in regards to a potential coaching return.

Hird is among at least four candidates for the Bombers vacancy, with Melbourne assistant Adem Yze firming as the favoured option for the Tullamarine club.

Premiership Don Dean Solomon and St Kilda assistant coach Brendon Lade are also seen to be in the running, but it's Hird that has gained the most attention.

The 49-year-old was last enrolled with the club in 2015, the final year of a damning six seasons with his beloved club that ended amid the club's infamous supplements saga.

After a year-long suspension, Hird returned to the top job before resigning from his position by August that year after 19 matches.

His relationship with Essendon was tarnished throughout and following the supplements saga.

But seven years on, Hird has stuck his hand up to return to Essendon as their senior coach following Ben Rutten's sacking at the conclusion of their 2022 campaign.

Hird returned to the AFL landscape with GWS in an advisory role in the pre-season before joining caretaker coach Mark McVeigh's strikeforce after Leon Cameron's mid-season departure.

The 1996 Brownlow Medal winner has revealed his passion and love for the club is what is driving his desire to return to Essendon.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 18: James Hird cries as he talks to the media following his resignation as head coach of the Essendon Bombers AFL Football Club at True Vaule Solar Centre on August 18, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

“I’d love to get the job,” Hird said at a recent luncheon hosted by Prestige Global Events alongside AFL greats Billy Brownless and Wayne Carey.

“I know there’s been a lot of speculation around whether I’ve done the time or I’ve done the work, but I’m passionate about the club.

“I’ve spent a lot of the last 12 months working in football and basically dedicating myself back to the game, back coaching, back watching the job, back training, spending time overseas with some of the greatest coaches in the world.

“So if I get the opportunity, it would be amazing. Redemption is a big thing, but for me I just love the Essendon Football Club, it’s been part of my life forever and I think I can make it better.”

Hird was joined by the aforementioned Yze, Lade and Solomon in the first round of interviews for the coaching vacancy, with Yze touted to have earned a second interview this week.

He revealed that the coaching search committee asked four things: why he is interested, what his vision for the club is, his plan to achieve that and his view on Essendon’s list, per The Age. 

Despite being seen as unlikely to land the position, Hird said he might gain "closure" from his recent discussions with the club.

“For me, to be 100% honest, it was just great to do the interview. Maybe it was closure, but if I do get the job or I don’t get the job, then that’s a full stop on a saga that’s been pretty ordinary for all of us.”

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 24: Giants assistant coaches James Hird (L) and Dean Solomon (C) speak with Giants interim coach Mark McVeigh (R) before the round 19 AFL match between the Carlton Blues and the Greater Western Sydney Giants at Marvel Stadium on July 24, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images)

When asked why he had re-opened the door on a potential return to coaching after the trauma he faced with Essendon, Hird said he belonged in the coaches box.

“Because I actually really like coaching and I think I’m actually not bad at it. I know that’s egotistical to say that,” Hird said.

“The Essendon Football Club to me, I grew up with it, my grandfather, my father, it was part of who I was and I’ve left it in a place that is unfinished and I genuinely think I can make it better.

“Courage in life is actually having a go at things, no matter if you get them or you don’t. And people are going to knock you down and people are going to smack you but if you don’t have courage in life, what do you have?

“If I don’t get (the job), they’ll laugh at me. But I’d rather have a go than die wondering.”

Essendon are expected to name their new senior coach as early as next week.