AUSSIE RULES: Collingwood president Eddie McGuire says he's not running out of steam and his club isn't stale, insisting he wants to lead the Magpies out of recent "tough times” and into a new frontier.
With coach Nathan Buckley's future far from secure and the Magpies out of finals contention with a 6-10 win-loss record, there were calls on Wednesday morning for McGuire to move on as club president - a position he has held since the end of 1998.
Essendon great Tim Watson questioned whether McGuire was "dealing with parts of the club that he shouldn't be” and whether that would be one of the key findings of the current review of the Pies. Meanwhile, Herald Sun chief football writer and AFL 360 host Mark Robinson wrote that McGuire should follow Nathan Buckley out the door should the coach exit.
"The club is stale and needs a complete overhaul,” he said.
But McGuire said he had never been more motivated to lead the club he has such passion for.
"I'm actually, to be perfectly honest, in the most exciting phase of my career with what I'm doing at Collingwood and in AFL football,” McGuire told Triple M's Hot Breakfast.
"The members are the people who decide whether we're going and if I ever thought I was going half power and I'd had enough of it, I'd be the first out the door, because I don't get paid to do this, I've got lots of things in my life.
"But I have a great passion for the club and what we're doing on and off the field and I want to be there in tough times. I don't want to bail because we won the flag and had a great time. I want to be there as we rebuild.”
Despite the club's rough on-field campaign in 2017, as well as turbulent 2016 season during which McGuire apologised to journalist Caroline Wilson for comments on radio and the hiring of Graeme 'Gubby' Allan before he was suspended for 12 months, McGuire was formally re-elected as president until early 2020 at the club's Annual General Meeting last February.
"I'm not defending myself, because the only people I have to stand to is the Collingwood members, who voted me in unanimously last year for three years as president of the club,” he said.
"I've made it clear at Collingwood that we realise that there's some things that we need to do, because the whole business model has changed, our performances on the field haven't been good enough. As a result of that, two months ago we instigated a blueprint for the future.
"We've come out and said we're going to look at the coaching situation and everything in the football department that's happening at the moment and we're having an announcement of the decision when we get through the whole season.”
McGuire pleaded for commentators to move on from pinpointing the club's coaching "succession plan” as a key moment behind the club's recent demise.
He said the announcement of the club's succession plan in the late 2000s, which saw Buckley take over from premiership coach Mick Malthouse, came well before the Pies played finals for five consecutive seasons, including one premiership and another grand final appearance.