Dear Eddie

Dear Eddie,

Thank you for your continued interest in the welfare of the Sydney Swans Football Club. As always, we have taken your feedback on board. We have also decided to completely ignore your recent outlandish statements, as your opinion is as important to us as the next episode of ‘The Club’. As the true ‘white knight’ of the football industry, your quest for true equalisation has been commendable. Well done. We would like to delve a little deeper into the astonishing effect you have had on the equalisation of the Australian Football League.

Your involvement in an AFL sanctioned ‘equalisation focus group’ which travelled to the USA last season was outstanding. Not at all a contradiction, the Presidents of two of the most profitable clubs in the league being at the forefront on equalization discussions. Yours, Peter Gordon’s and Hawthorn’s Andrew Newbold’s concerted efforts to have the Cost of Living Allowance disbanded was completely unpredictable and straight out of left field. We didn’t see that coming at all. The inevitability of the AFL caving in to powerbrokers such as you and your little friend Andrew, forced us into actually making the most out of this allowance and devising the single greatest recruiting coup in the game’s history. Thank you Eddie. It’s funny you know, the COLA was never an issue until we began to challenge and win premierships. Hmmm…

Let’s take a look at the positive impact you have had on the development of the code in Queensland. Whilst so generously hosting AFL executives at a brand spanking new multi-million dollar Collingwood training facility in 2004, you decided to take the opportunity to slaughter the Brisbane Lions’ location allowance. Yep, that is the same Brisbane Lions who had coincidentally, just defeated your club in successive Grand Finals. When former AFL CEO, Wayne Jackson was asked about your continued bleating on the issue, he replied with this: “The same people in club-land who grizzle about the Brisbane Lions’ allowance, you don’t hear them grizzling about the fact that the finals are played at the MCG,” he said. ” You don’t hear Eddie McGuire complaining about the fact that Collingwood gets to play all its finals on its home ground.” The whole point of the exercise was meant to be that it helped a club outside the heartland retain its players. Only last season, the Lions lost the core of their 1st-4th year players, due to the fact they all wanted to ‘go home’. Your club was included in the savaging that took place. Yep, The Lions and football in Queensland have just gone from strength to strength since you played such a leading hand in influencing the removal of yet another equalisation measure.

Earlier this year, you were again instrumental in influencing the outcome of the equalisation tax. A tax which was intended to close the gap between the top clubs and the bottom clubs, has instead appeared to have extended the gap. Geelong President Colin Carter stated that “The taxation has been hopelessly compromised because Eddie refused to pay it,” Carter said. “I don’t mind the tax on footy departments but this notion of a cap of half-a-million dollars on the rich clubs is a joke. The philosophy is wrong. What we are doing is just screwing the middle class while the rich are able to get their affairs in order which is what happens in real life. To take $300,000 from us and $500,000 from Collingwood actually weakens our position against Collingwood. And for the AFL to come out at the end and say they won’t be taking money for equalisation from club revenues … what an admission of defeat. Our club supported the genuine attempt to bridge the growing divide between the clubs but now it seems that the ones that shouted the loudest have been rewarded.” Well played again, Mr. McGuire.

Your recent criticisms of the Academy systems which are in place at the northern clubs have been tremendously amusing. I am sure the news that the Swans may in fact pick up a top five draft pick through this system has horrified you. Forget the draft concessions which have been in place over the past few years, this is THE big issue. A system which was designed by a committee which in fact, included Collingwood’s own Derek Hine, simply must be stopped. Isn’t that right, Eddie? How can these clubs develop young talent with an aim to provide more NSW and QLD kids to be drafted to club’s across Australia and get away with it? Are you worried that you won’t be able to pilfer these locally raised players as you did with Anthony Rocca and Darren Jolly, both Victorians who wanted to ‘go home’? We understand that you are intimidated by the rise of the Swans. You should be, Eduardo. We’re bigger and better than ever and we’re not going anywhere.

Finally, well done on your continued capacity to manipulate the football media. From a thinly veiled apology to Adam Goodes, which somehow was magically accepted by the general public, after your blatant racial vilification of a man with more integrity than you will ever know, to your orchestration of a puppet in the form of Damian Barrett on last night’s Footy Show, your influence is indisputable. Like you, I cannot for the life of me, work out why anyone at the Swans would decline a magnificient opportunity to work alongside you. The fact that you have offended Colless, Pridham, Ireland, Goodes and now Longmire with your self-promoting nonsense would have nothing to do with it. The fact that you have continually insinuated the club has cheated in it’s use of the COLA and in turn, insulted every single member of staff that has worked it’s backside off to make the club the success that it is today, would have nothing to do with it either. Nope, you just continue on your one-man crusade to make all things ‘equal’. By all means continue to use your ‘media boys club’ to stick up for you at any opportunity, to run your own personal agendas. We’re all behind you, mate. Eddie McGuire ‘the poster boy for equalisation’. Please….

Yours sincerely,

One million Swans Supporters.



About Joe Moore

Learned the art of the drop-punt from Derek Kickett as Jamie Lawson watched on. And thus, a Swan for life. @joedmoore1979


  1. andrew sertori says

    brilliant article!!

    are you on big footy at all, we do a swans podcast on skype you should come on one episode to talk about this!!

    go swans

  2. well done, well made points, would read again

  3. Brilliant Joe. I am not a Swans supporter but I admire the whole club. We all had a gut-full of this over-weight person. My team won’t make the Top 8. So I wish good luck to the Swans this year. They are the team to beat this year and well done to them.

  4. Salute sir. Tweeted and Facebooked everywhere, including the @AFL site.

  5. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Trouble with the COLA is that it confuses the intent (bolster/equalise the non-traditional markets) with the method of calculation/distribution (should Adelaide also be given a corresponding penalty because it is cheaper to live there?) – this makes it easier to attack.

    Spot on re everything else Joe.

    And his bleating about compo for the Sunday night fixture, spare me please.

    And his game show is crap (but I think I might be a bit biased about that one)

  6. Skip of Skipton says

    The extra million dollars in your salary cap, the ‘COLA’, is what pays for Lance Franklin, on top of the huge money you pay the always injured Tippett. No other club could afford that and keep its list together.

    I wish Geelong could pick the best kid at the Falcons without using a draft pick. Luke Hodge, Travis Boak, Paddy Dangerfield come on down!

    Let’s face it, your club is the teacher’s pet.

  7. Hey Skip, if Geelong can prove that they have spent $1mil on the Falcons and plucked Hodge, Boak and Dangerfield out of the rugby and rugby league systems and turned them into AFL footballers for the benefit of the code, then you would have a great point!
    If the Swans didnt fund the academy, then most of the kids in it wouldnt be playing aussie rules anyway (c/f Isaac Heeney’s comments), so nobody would be getting these kids.

  8. Joe Moore says

    Take a deep breath, Skip. I am merely outlining the effect that McGuire has had in the removal of COLA. Which, for what it’s worth, has been used to our advantage, no doubt. But, the rules have never been broken.

    In regards to the Academy system, we do have to use a draft pick to select an Academy player. In fact it is the exact same bidding system as the father-son rule. Another concession which, correct me if I’m wrong, significantly assisted the Cats in recent years. Gary Ablett, Tom Hawkins, Matthew Scarlett come on down!

  9. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Joe, I’m not always a fan of Eddie and his behaviour last year regarding Adam Goodes was abominable. Eddie is just looking after ‘Brand Collingwood’.

    However, I must make a call on the hypocrisy of the so-called ‘Bloods’ fans who have come out of the Blood Bank since 2005. The Bloods have survived on the blood of the other clubs since 1981. Where were all the bloods then? Must have been an epidemic of anemia around the Lake Oval at the time because they sold themselves out to the VFL and precipitated the destruction of Australian Rules Football in each state, taking Fitzroy with them, eventually. The money poured into Sydney since then has been obscene.
    You hear new age Bloods fans pledging multigenerational allegiance: “Yeah, my granddad knew a bloke who knew a bloke who used to wash Bob Pratt’s jockstrap.”
    Spare me.
    If Judas was a football club it would be the Swans. There is no such thing as the Bloods. You are barracking for QBE and Newscorp.

  10. Don Meadows says

    Skip, I think you share a widespread misunderstanding of the way COLA works. It is not a lump sum that can be held and then splurged on any one player; it has to be paid to every player, on a percentage basis, and is audited by the AFL. Swans management invited people to inspect the books, an offer which was ignored because people would rather cling to their fallacies.
    As a Swans member I’m happy to see the approach changed to the benefit especially of the less well-paid players.
    As for teacher’s pet, you obviously don’t know much about the history of the club since its relocation from Melbourne.

  11. Ken Richards says

    Sorry Joe, the problem with the COLA is that it has been misused to provide Sydney with two players to whom they have no right. In a team which won a premiership just 2 years ago. No other club seems to benefit from such largesse. If the COLA is really justified, then it must be divided equally between all personnel at the recipient clubs list. This patently has not been the case. Better that Tippett should be playing for Brisbane and Franklin for GWS if the aim is to raise the expansion clubs for their time in the sun.
    Cold comfort though for supporters of Footscray, St Kilda, Melbourne and Richmond, who are pushed further back in the queue for chances of recruiting the cattle necessary for a glimmer of a ghost of a chance at the big table. Just crumbs for them.
    And tell me more of those one million Sydney supporters – are they all on half game memberships? Would they still carry the flame through 40 years of misery like the Doggies and the Saints?

  12. Sorry Swannies but the COLA is unfair and had to go. IF Don is correct and the books have been audited and an extra 10% has been paid across the board to all players above their market value then fine. However its not hard to see how an extra 10% can be used to attract high earners. I’m no accountant but its just a matter of reducing each players contract by 9% then adding on the COLA. He gets what the market says he is worth, doesnt have to move clubs and is playing for a well run club with great team spirit. The net savings across the player group are then used to pay the high priced recruit then they get to add the COLA again. Im no Eddie fan and agree that he should think twice sometimes before speaking [ie compo for that Sunday night fiasco is case in point], however the sooner COLA is gone the better the comp will smell. And good luck with keeping your mid range players Swannies as I see the injection of high paid recruits as a quick way to destroy the team spirit so often spoken about as your key retention point.

  13. Some great comments on here.
    First, in the build-up to the 2012 GF, the Swans were lauded as a team of recycled and ‘no name’ players who were put together through a ‘moneyball’ system. All of a sudden, they recruited Tippett and people were then asking how the premiers can afford it? It must have been the COLA, right? We also forget that the Swans jettisoned $1.4mil worth of players at the end of the year to do it. Nothing was said about the Hawks getting arguably the best fullback in the league at the time.
    Then came Buddy.
    Once again, the money that was offered to Buddy could have been matched by the Hawks, but they chose not to. The reason wasnt the price tag, but the length of the contract. There are quite a few players in the AFL being paid more than Buddy in 2014, but he is the only one with a contract that long. Oh, and did you realise that the Swans also moved another $1.2mil worth of players on at the end of 2013?
    In summary, the Swans jettisoned players to fit these guys into their team and even paid them less, but over a long period of time. Any team in the AFL could have done it – even Footscray, St Kilda, Melbourne and Richmond. I know this isnt a popular view in the Melbourne media, as it has been used as a touch-point to get rid of the COLA and now to attempt to dismantle the academies. However, the facts are there for anybody to investigate for themselves.

  14. Mark Busuttil says

    Eddie – you are a flog! LIKE!!!!

  15. Skip of Skipton says

    The Swans have 39 senior listed players, and six Rookie listed. That’s 45 blokes the COLA is to be evenly distributed to. 1 Million divided by 45 = 22.22 grand each.

    22.22 grand divided by 52 = 427.

    So it costs $427 per week more to live in Sydney than Melbourne? Don’t shit me.
    Total sham!

  16. Dr Goatboat says

    Well said; it could be added how Collingwood travels so infrequently interstate and the big games they get with the scheduling ….Anzac Day etc….

  17. Even the Riverina lad Johnny Longmire is turning into a Sydney sook. I’m not going to be assistant coach to the international team you took away our COLA and Eddie is the manager. Wow….don’t let em get to you John. Obviously from this never ending rant. They know nothing about our great game. You only have to go to 1 swans game to work that out.
    I heard a Swans member say oh that Lance Armstrong is a good player. …the end.

  18. Steve Fahey says

    You make some reasonable points Joe, but I think also lose focus on the issue in attacking Eddie, which is a common occurrence as he does lead with his chin reasonably regularly.

    If the Swans are so offended by Collingwood and Eddie, instead of Longmire pulling the pin on the assistant coaching role for Australia, perhaps they should publicly request the AFL to remove their annual home fixture against the Pies which since 2003 has added many dollars to their coffers and promoted the game in Sydney.

  19. Carn the Swans says

    Yes, I am Swans supporter and I am very proud of the hard work our club’s administrators put in to LEGITIMATELY exploit the AFL rules, unlike Carlton and Essendon. If you are not a fan of the Swans, you can sqeal all you like, I say your club administrators probably don’t work hard enough or they follow Eddie blindly. Eddie is interested in only Eddie ( and not even Collingwood or any other club).

    One final word: John Longmire is paid to coach the Swans players to win premiership, and no more or less. If anyone wants to play any ‘pretend’ international game, there is no better pretender than Eddie to coach that team.

  20. David Zampatti says

    All this sniping between Sydney and Collingwood is the hypersensitivity of the privileged.
    It’s not especially edifying (I resist the temptation to add an extra “d” and “y” there), and it’s no friend to the truth.
    For example, the constant bitching about Collingwood never having to travel is nonsense. They’re out of state five times this season, as often as any Victorian club that hasn’t sold its home games. The complaints about the number of games they play at the MCG have been answered too many times to warrant revisiting.
    In any case, for clubs like Freo, travelling ten times a season (and often to far-flung fields), that bickering is all a bit puerile.
    You want real inequality and favouritism? Chew on this one for a second. The last eighteen times Sydney and Fremantle have met in the home and away season, thirteen games have been in Sydney and only five in Perth. How does that work?
    The first and crucial step toward equality in the AFL is to make the fixture both equal and transparent. It’s surprisingly easy to do in a 22-round season with 18 teams, and, in the long-term, would hugely benefit the AFL and its coffers (maybe you lose three or four 50,000+ “blockbusters”, but you’ll pick those losses up in dozens of games with 5,000+ more punters).
    Do that, and COLA’s, living-away allowances and assorted other arrangements could be fairly, reasonably and equitably sorted out as well.

  21. Joe Moore says

    I’m certainly happy that my piece has sparked such passionate footy debate. I fully appreciate that supporters of each club are going to varying views on the issue of equalisation. As some of you have noticed, the article wasn’t written wholly and solely about the removal of COLA. The article was written to highlight the fact that McGuire claims to have an equal competition at the forefront of his mind, yet has been extremely influential in the removal of concessions which were in fact, equalisation measures. As a Swans member, I’m actually happy it has been removed, so it can’t be used as an excuse from other clubs and supporters when we face them in the future.

    Troy, not sure the old-stereotype of Swans supporters not knowing footy and not knowing our own players is relevant these days. It’s not 1983 anymore mate. Time will tell, Chalkdog, if we keep this list together, but I am a firm believer in the culture and team success keeping a very good side together for many years. Ken, I hope we never have to find out what it’s like having 40 years of tough-times and I certainly do sympathise with the fans of clubs who haven’t seen success for a long time. If you recall, we didn’t win a flag for seventy-two years. That’s a fair while. Phillip, the attack on Bloods supporters was not necessary, and in my opinion, totally out of line and we’ll have to agree to disagree on that issue.

    Some great points from many different points of view here though, and surely, that’s what it’s all about.

  22. Eddie is the Clive Palmer of the AFL. Ostensibly doing the right thing for the benefit of all, but really only doing what is right for him/his club…

  23. matt watson says

    I support Eddie and his quest to rid the Lions and the Swans of their unfair allowances.
    If people removed their blinkers, they would find a lot of clubs lining up behind Eddie in support.
    Don’t blame Eddie for it. He is the mouthpiece. Brisbane won three consecutive premierships when they were receiving extra money. How is that fair?
    Sydney has missed the finals 2 or 3 times since 1996. Don’t tell me their extra cash had nothing to do with it.
    The AFL will never be equal, not with the handouts the interstate clubs have received for decades.
    And Eddie is not only doing what is right for Collingwood. Removing Sydney’s COLA is not just going to help Collingwood. There are other clubs that will benefit.
    I am happy the Swans lost their unfair advantage.

  24. Keiran Croker says

    Great debate. As a Bloods supporter I have followed the Club in Melbourne & in Sydney and my money has gone in to prop it up over many years. We actually got no additional funds to go north in 1982, then the VFL took a $4m licence off successive private owners. It was not until the early nineties when we were again a member based Club that we started getting any significant funding.
    The similarities with the Lions, other than extra funding, are great administration (read Andrew Ireland) and great recruiting (read Kinnear Beatson). Beatson is some sort of genius, continually plucking great players from below number 20 in the draft (read Hannebury, Parker, Johnson to name a few). We also have 10 players on the list who have played seniors after starting as rookies.
    The COLA is a smoke screen. EVERY player gets 10%. We would have swung both the Tippett and Franklin deals even without the extra 10% because we shed significant numbers and salary cap dollars each year. To get Buddy we let go Mumford, White, Everitt and others. That’s our best ruckman and two handy fringe players who had great years in 2013. Other than the brilliance of Buddy, we have taken Laidler and Derrickx, who could not get a game at their old clubs and got good consistent performances from them.
    Think what you like but this is a brilliantly run club with great list management. From someone who lived through some awful times (read Terry & Neale Daniher going to Essendon in 1978) I am loving every minute of this season.

  25. Martin Croker says

    Well said Joe; maybe a bit OTT but it certainly generated some debate. Personally I no longer care what Eddie says, nor for that matter what those who apologise for him say. The thing that annoys me most about some supporters is that they feel the need to denigrate their opposition rather than just enjoy the performance of their own team. Having said that I would like to add some of my opinions.
    In 1981 South Melbourne were bankrupt on the back of an era when all the clubs were trying to out spend each other in an attempt to buy success. South weren’t the only club on the brink, just the most vulnerable. Back in 1981 there was no equalisation fund, no rescue funds from the VFL and no warning. To say we did not fight the move is to deny history. The board was voted out, a new board elected, an alternative coach and captain appointed and a squad assembled to stay in Victoria. But in the cold light of day it was apparent that the only team wearing a red and white jumper in the VFL in 1982 would be in Sydney. Perhaps our experience taught those teams threatened from then on how to mobilise support.
    So how did the other clubs support the move? By systematically plundering us of any decent player reticent about moving. Have we conveniently forgotten St Kilda deciding that the rules of player transfers and registration did not apply to them? Would it be churlish to remind everyone where Shane Morwood ended up, without a clearance?
    When this ill thought out and unsupported relocation failed the VFL responded by selling our “licence” to the snake oil salesmen rather that the astute businessmen. The brief period of success brought out the first howls of dissent. How could the lowly Swans defy the natural order of things and rise out of the lower half of the ladder, where they belonged? But the period of success was a false dawn and the plunder started again, remember Williams and Mitchell. Sure we got some draft concessions in the early 1990s but that only meant the Victorian clubs had to wait one or two years to plunder. What happened to Gaspar, Grant and co, and we won’t mention where Rocca and Licuria ended up.
    At the end of 1991 and start of 1992 the VFL were resolved to solve the Sydney problem by allowing Carlton to take them over or just taking the licence back. The supporters rallied and begged for one last chance. The other clubs relented as long as the money was paid back by 2001; it was paid by 1997. And defying all odds we became successful on the back of hard work, astute management and bloody minded dedication.
    So now we are cheating by having access to NSW kids who we have turned away from NRL, nurtured and developed at considerable expense. No one mentions the dozens that we have poured money and time into that fell short. No one remembers that there was a scholarship system open to all clubs that could have delivered any of them a similar result. Should we deny Adelaide a Taylor Walker or Hawthorn a Will Langford? Maybe Jarrod Witt may also eventually prove his worth. I won’t carp on about the early draft picks that the other mentioned clubs have squandered while we have made latter picks into gems.
    I feel particularly slighted by the suggestion that the Bloods is a 2005 invention. No, I didn’t know Bob Pratt’s boot studder, but I know many of the thousands who stood in the wind and rain at the Lake Oval and ventured far afield to hostile territory through 29 consecutive losses in the 1970s just praying for an honourable defeat. I know many of those who huddled around the TV every second Sunday and braved those same hostile arenas through another 26 loses in the 1990s. I am a third generation Blood, a descendant of working class South Melbourne and The Borough, I’m proud of it and I’m enjoying our over due and well earned success.
    Eddie has taken exception to someone finally standing up to his bullying and his well thought out response is “get stuffed”. Oh Eddie, Eddie, Eddie, that’s what we have been telling you all year.

  26. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Martin and Keiran, you were there and lived the meaning of South Melbourne. Bobby Skilton and Bill Collins were put in a terrible situation by Ch7 and the VFL because they were desperate to get a TV team to Sydney. Bill and Bobby wanted to keep South at South, but they were ‘persuaded’ as employees of Ch7 to support the expansion cause.
    Yes, South were broke, but they weren’t the on;y club struggling at the time.
    In the 1990s the only ‘Bloods’ fans I saw were the 3 pensioners behind the goals who Tony Lockett tried hard to decapitate in 1994!
    The Sydney Swans are little more than television champions. And many so-called ‘Bloods’ fans suffer from an acute case of spectrophilia. Enjoy your delusions.

  27. Joe Moore says

    Keiran and Martin, great insight into what actually happened around the time of relocation. As I was only three years old in 1982, I have had to rely on reading about that most significant time in the club’s history. I would love to sit down with blokes like you to have a beer at The Rising Sun and learn more about the effect that period had on South supporters.
    Anybody who is prepared to attack such loyal supporters, who have seen their team uprooted, downtrodden and unsupported, then finally taste overdue credibility and success, are not only dillusional, but downright impertinent.

  28. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Joe, I wasn’t having a go at all Sydney fans. Just the Swanny come lately’s who jumped on the 2005 bandwagon and established tenuous links with the Bloods because they won a flag and came up with a catchy slogan.

  29. Ahh. Have seen some great games on the old South Melbourne cricket ground. Some great goals as well. Boutsianis, curcija and de moraes come to mind. Apparently, many years ago, a different code of football was played there but the team just upped stumps and went to Sydney.

  30. Keiran Croker says

    Joe, would love to catch up for a beer at the Rising Sun sometime, or whenever I am over in Hobart.
    Phil, lets have a drink the next time we cross paths at an Almanac function. I appreciate that we all make our case through the lens of our passion and prejudices for our own teams. I’m happy for a robust discussion based on an intelligent, informed consideration of the facts as we variously interpret them. And by the way the Bloods is not a modern affectation. My team has always been the Bloods. They were the Bloods when I was a kid in the 60’s, they were the Bloods when I stood on the wing at the Lakeside Oval in the 70’s. The current players adopted that term to honour the history of the Club.

  31. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Keiran and Joe, I’d be grateful for the chat and the insight. Although I didn’t think it at the time, I was luck enough to experience a parochial crowd at the Lakeside Oval on a misty May day in 1980. I was 10 years old and stood in the outer forward flank with my brother and cousins. I remember Graeme Teasdale dominating the ruck and John Roberts and Tony Morewood kicking bags to the delight of the True Bloods. Rene Kink copped heaps every time he went near it and South had a comfortable win in front of 25,000 plus fans. How did that all fall to pieces a year later? I’ll never forget the roar from that grandstand.
    I guess I miss the tribalism of those days and I struggle with the sterile atmosphere of many games today. And yes, we all have degrees of prejudice and delusion. Looking forward to that conversation. Cheers

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