A local Essendon supporter says he’s extremely grateful that he’s been working from home this week, as his football club has endured another stint in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Rick Hughes claims he’s still haunted by the years of water cooler conversations and desk drive-bys that he endured during the Bombers’ long-winded supplements saga, admitting that this week’s COVID-19 debacle had dragged up plenty of bad memories.

Confiding in The Watsonia Bugle, Hughes said, “Mate, as the office’s only Essendon supporter during the supplements saga, I copped it hard. Every day for about four years. It ranged from casual observers asking for my opinion on the rolling story, to outright abuse and ridicule from opportunistic supporters from other clubs. It felt like it was never ending.”

Hughes said that all he had to endure this week was the occasional phone call or email about the matter, and they were much easier to pat away than multiple people cornering him at his desk each morning after they’d read the Herald Sun. He said, “It was so much easier this week. I mean, I ignored half the emails, and when Dean from accounting called up to heap shit on me I just hung up on him after the first minute.”

While Hughes stopped short of buying into the alleged anti-Essendon conspiracy that’s been in place at AFL House since the exclusion of Adam McPhee from the 2005 All-Australian team, he did say that there seemed to be a pattern of bad luck that has followed the Bombers over “the last 15 years or so”. He said, “Something’s going on behind the scenes. Don’t be naive to that. But at least this time there was a positive test returned at some point. Sure, it might have actually been false in the end, but at least there was a positive test to begin with. That’s one more result than the whole supplements saga ever gave us. That’s all I’ll say about that.”