Almanac Footy Comment: An Open Letter to the Collingwood Football Club







Open letter to The Club



Attention: Eddie McGuire



My name is Frank Taylor. I am 66 years old, and I have barracked for Collingwood since I first went to school in 1959, aged four.


Although I have barracked for The Club all of my life, I haven’t been a paid-up member for the same period.




Until Eddie’s tenure began, I had watched, seen and heard many Collingwood administrations – run variously by old players and some others of dubious abilities (the “New Magpies” come to mind here) – state publicly their actions and decisions, both financial, player and personnel – have “been taken with the best interests of The Club in mind”.


These administrations generally – although not all, it must be said – were at best, incompetent, and at worst not accountable.


They behaved like Kings and Lords. They treated their members and supporters like serfs in a feudal system. The Club belonged to them. They were Kings of the Castle.


They put a lot of people, loyal, committed people, players, past players, and supporters like myself, off-side, treating them, shall we say, pretty poorly.


When Eddie came on the scene, it was a genuine breath of fresh air. He healed old wounds, brought together burnt and embittered fans, past players and coaches for the first time in decades.


He brought good-will, openness and transparency to The Club.


I watched and waited, and, after a bit of time to be sure that deeds matched the initial promises, I committed late in 2001, to become a paid-up member. 2021 would see me, a member, to consecutive twenty genuinely proud years as a member of the Collingwood Football Club.


This year, due to the extraordinary nature of this season, I was contacted by The Club about a possible part or full refund of my Legend membership. I declined to do this as I am proud of my club.


I am proud of what it stands for. I am extremely proud of the off-field work that The Club supports and promotes. The dedicated work that goes into housing the homeless and The Club’s vocal opposition to legalised gambling.


This REAL work does not go unnoticed by The Faithful, myself included.


Side-by-side has real meaning to so many.


It has been embraced.


I am not a rich man in the monetary sense – my dollars are hard-earned – however these things require support, 24/7.


By anyone’s measure, this trade period has been a disaster for The Club in so many ways. And it’s not about the poor trade pick position that we have ended with. Or that players have left The Club.


It’s about HOW and WHY it was done.


This year, by any measure, has been a shocking one and Collingwood’s 2020 season has arguably been one of the toughest.


Shortened quarters, travel, quarantine requirements, training and living ‘hubs’ must test even the toughest mentally stable person. And to judge a player – particularly young players – on this year’s performance is genuinely misguided at best.


Jayden Stephenson. Had a shocking last 18 months. Suspension, followed by the pandemic issues has led to poor form by his own admission and he has not lived up to his initial break-through season. He was looking forward to next season to be able to reach his full potential.


So was I.


So were we all.


Tom Phillips’ soft tissue issues are really The Club’s issues. Systemic. Let’s face it, over the last five or six years The Pies have led the field with the injury list. Simply put, it has cost The Club at least one flag. The last two flags have been won by Richmond whose injury list going into the Granny has been minimal – two or three out their total playing group. I certainly know who I’d be trading, and it’s not the players, believe me.


Adam Treloar. Bloody hell.


I can remember in the early 2000s that Shane Woewodin came to Collingwood. The previous season he won the Brownlow playing for the Melbourne Football Club, and yet the next, he was playing for The Pies. And to top that, I reckon the Demons were paying a very large part of his salary!


I couldn’t help thinking if I were a Demon supporter and member: “Through my membership dollar, I am paying this fellow to play for another club, Collingwood.”


I would have been completely gutted, disgusted, disillusioned and angry at the club’s administration allowing this to come to pass.


This is how I feel today about recent events. I now know exactly how those Demon supporters felt.


Young Atu Bosenavulagi’s story is galling.


Played three games. The Club celebrated his first game as a genuine achievement.


He is Joffa’s step-grandson, we were shown picture’s of Atu in the cheer squad growing up and, we the faithful, all rejoiced. Like Adam Treloar, he grew up barracking for Collingwood, his blood ran black and white. This is what looking after one another meant, standing side-by-side. Against all odds, he had made it. What a truly joyful story that was proudly publicised by The Club and rightfully embraced by all.


Now, like Adam Treloar, overnight, without any real explanation, he’s playing at another club. Three games…. welcome to the real world Atu, I’ll bet you didn’t expect this at this stage of your football career – kicked out of the family because of others list-gambling. This doesn’t happen at Collingwood, we stand side by side. Yeah. You’re really just cannon-fodder son, sorry.


Joffa’s heart must be truly broken…… along with so many fans.


Which brings me to my last observation, Eddie.


Eddie, as explained, and like so many others, I deeply admired and respected you for what you did for The Club and it’s many, many faithful fans and supporters.


Deep gratitude.


We forgave you with the messy, public, embarrassing and counter productive way that the Malthouse/Buckley succession was handled which put us in the wilderness for FIVE YEARS.


We also forgave you for your stupid, ill-considered, foot-in-mouth comments you made during the Adam Goodes saga.


However this time, your administration of MY club has gone too far.


Our CEO, Mark Anderson contacted the members a couple of days ago about recent events, saying in part: “…I am aware that many members will still hold a different perspective.”


We sure do.


Financial deals with players and managers to avoid salary-cap problems because you have promised too much and mortgaged the future for the present and then throwing them out because you, the administration, have lost your gamble is NOT ‘The Collingwood Way’ – to use a much used term at The Club and its coach. Well, to me, it looks as if we are being revisited by the past. This is MY perspective, Mark Anderson.


The words do not match the deeds. Side by side with Adam, Tom, Jayden, Atu and we, the fans – sure.


This is what has particularly upset The Faithful, believe me.


We feel completely betrayed.


We have been played for fools, again.


Question to you Eddie: Can you assure me, a financial member of Collingwood, that NOT ONE CENT of members’ money is being sent to another club to pay the salary of a former player or players?


If you cannot – after twenty faithful and financial, side by side years – I will cancel my membership.


I look forward to your reply,


Floreat Pica


Frank Taylor





Read more from Frank Taylor, including his life as a young garbo, HERE.



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  1. Wayne Lucas says

    Well said Frank. Have followed the club for 60 years plus. It has become the Eddie club. He thinks it’s all about him. I will not buy a membership until Eddie and Buckley are gone.

  2. Michael O'Brien says

    Well spoken Frank. My daughter and I have cancelled our membership and told club when we see sackings of those who caused this problem we will consider rejoining.

  3. Well argued Frank. My Eagles are similarly autocratic and opaque in their decision making. But like the Chinese Communist Party they tend to make better decisions and we accept our very limited agency as members. A faustian bargain.
    Treloar is a good player and his exuberant passion for the Magpies shone through everything he did. His overpayment was not his fault. He’s got a lot of years ahead of him. If you needed to thrown someone overboard I would have been questioning Sidebottom who is near the end and derailed your season on several fronts.
    Didn’t know anything about Bosenavulagi but he has a powerful back story. Outrageous to trade him unless he’s clearly a dud.
    Questioning Treloar ability to play while his partner pursues her career is outrageous. In a good club there would have been a collaborative process of weighing up pros and cons on both sides.

  4. Very well written, Frank. You have perfectly summed up my thoughts but I don’t think I would have been able to sum up the situation so cool and succinctly. I am very disappointed in Collingwood’s attitudes to it’s players and their contracts.
    I thinks it’s time to move forward with a new administration as this one is very tired and has dropped the ball too often in recent years. It’s also time to thoroughly review our recruiting staff as they have a lot to answer for.
    The Collingwood faithful is very loyal but the club needs to respect that and not waste our money. Too much paid to too few players creates division within the team and the results are evident on the field. Skill levels this year were the worst in many years.
    Great summary, Frank.

  5. Fantastic article,Frank you nailed it ! It’s demoralising being on boards and committees when sporting clubs make bizarre decisions often arrogance and selfishness get in the way of common sense and not doing the obvious and correct move for the good of the whole club in general

  6. Well said apart from one thing.
    If we are to stand side by side then it is even more important to buy a membership and all our voices can and will be heard at the AGM.
    That’s where the members will have a say in who gets re-elected onto the committee.
    Dont sacrifice a membership for the current players. Let support them for 2021.
    The board will be on notice going forward.

  7. Glenda Wilson says

    Well said Frank i agree whole heartedly. A response and answers from the Club would certainly be appreciated by supporters but unfortunately the mistakes made and the sour taste left cannot be undone.

  8. Well written Frank, Unfortunately these days club lowality no longer exists.It’s all about business and who fits into the salary cap. Supporters see club favourites shown the door to fit someone else into the salary cap. I don’t know what the answer is but I don’t like the present set up.

  9. Spot on, not just for that club, but all clubs. Commitment is given when a club means something; you give your all and hard earned as a member when you have a love and emotional attachment to the club – its values align with yours – being proud to be involved. It is hoped the players feel the same way while there.
    Without that it us just a money chasing entity without a soul.
    Premierships are the ultimate prize, but they are not the heart of the club and or its values – that is something much greater – passionately and proudly belonging.

  10. Alan Johanson says

    Thanks Frank a tad disillusioned myself. Would love to see the response you got back from the club

  11. Tony Vassallo says

    Brilliantly put Frank!!!
    We the backbone of the once mighty Collingwood Football Club are in recent times are treated as
    By the Toorak administration consisting of
    How do you trade the fabric of the club and keep a DeGoey when he promises so so much and never delivers, then shops himself around until the pies administration cower to him time and time again!!!
    Grundy had a terrible year why wasn’t he put in the trade table!!!
    There’s 7 million reasons why they didn’t!!!!

    None of these 5 would get a regular game in a bottom 2 club but we play them week in and week out in our best 22!!!
    Listen to the people admin you are just
    Our recruiting in the last 20 years starting with not recruiting the likes of future hall of famers Matthew Pavlich and Patrick Cripps and Tom Lynch is mind blowing!!!!

  12. Frank Taylor says

    Thanks for your comments folks, I’m extremely grateful for your response.
    Wayne and Micheal, it’s tough one and, as stated, I’m of your mind.
    Jim, I wrestled with this for a number of days – resigning that is – before I wrote and posted this. My wife, who is a non footy type, has your point of view to and reckons that I shouldn’t.
    I’ll give Eddie and The Club a couple of weeks.
    I honestly am not expecting a reply.
    However if I do, I will post it – Alan.
    Bill, Rulebook and Glenda – yes, indeed. No demonstrable respect for our money or commitment. A very, very bad taste.
    Fisho, yes. I see it as a gamble. Recruitment is a gamble, acknowledged. However this salary cap and back-ended contract rubbish is plainly not honest and is literally throwing it back in the loyal, financial fans faces. For us to pick up the tab.
    It’s a dishonest gamble if you get what I mean. Sibe-by-side, sure. That bad taste again.
    Ian, “…without a soul.”. Nailed it.
    Tony, yes, that is my very real point. The Kingdom and the realm.
    Peter B and Ian – a faustian bargain for sure.
    Thanks again,
    and Go Pies! Regardless (if I’m a member or not…}

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