In the wake of the latest machinations around James Hird's tenure as coach of Essendon, I feel at ease for the first time in a long time.
It feels like the dark clouds that have been ever present during the past 12 months have finally dissipated and the sun is again ready to shine.
The uncertainty about what did, or did not, take place at Essendon has taken an unprecedented toll on not only the players, their families and staff, but anyone who has a genuine love for this great game of ours.
This bright new day means so much to me right now because it signifies to me that win, lose or draw, the club I love can now be judged solely on its on-field performance.
Throughout this dark period, the on-field deeds of the Bombers were lost and it seemed they meant so little to the football media and public.
The purity of football that we all grew up with took a back seat to the dark side of football and the politics that goes with it.
For the AFL, the club, the Hird family, and the media, the guns that have been drawn for so long appear to have finally gone back into their holsters. I'm looking forward to going to the football with the excitement of a kid again.
Paul Little and his board brought clarity to the issue of Hird's tenure as coach. Whether you like it or not, James Hird will be the coach of the Essendon Football Club and it is time for everyone, including Hird, to get on with it.
I am confident that will happen.
Some will say Hird is the big winner out of all this, but it should be clear that there have been no winners. This has been ugly for everyone involved.
For all the criticism the Hirds received for Tania's ABC interview, I believe the interview finally brought everything to a head and all parties are now clear on what the expectations are on them from this point.
Jobs have been lost, friendships broken – possibly forever – and things at Essendon will never be the same again, but it is now time to put a full stop on this terrible year and the uncertainty it has brought to football.
Let the healing begin.
The story Let the healing begin as Hird takes up Essendon reins first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.