James Hird claims the team Essendon chose to run the AFL club's controversial supplements program led the team down the path to ruin.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport this week upheld the World Anti-Doping Agency's appeal against the AFL tribunal decision to clear players of taking the banned substance thymosin-beta 4 while Hird was coach, handing 34 past and present players a 12-month ban from the sport.
Hird revealed in a Herald Sun column that the club wanted to hire someone from an English Premier League club to run the program but, when they could not join the team before May 2012, fitness coach Dean Robinson and sports scientist Stephen Dank were engaged.
"Had we secured this preferred applicant then the experience of the Essendon Football Club and 34 young men would have been very different," he said.
"Instead the sliding door we walked through introduced Essendon to the worlds of Dean Robinson and, at Robinson's suggestion, Stephen Dank."
Hird said he was comfortable with the supplements program if supplements were AFL and ASADA approved, players would not be harmed and gave informed consent and that club doctor Bruce Reid gave final approval.
He said that in 2012 the protocol was not always followed but Dank "had assured the club the supplements were compliant".
Dank was later sacked, Robinson's role scaled back and the supplements program modified so that only Dr Reid could administer injections.