Doing better without Mr McGuire

Eddie McGuire [Source:]


Eddie McGuire has been president of the Collingwood Football Club for twenty-two years.  In that time, Collingwood has won just one premiership.  In December 2020, he announced he would stand down as president at the end of 2021.



Coincidentally,  in December 2020 the Collingwood board received the much publicised report Do Better – Independent review into Collingwood Football Club’s responses to Incidents of Racism and Cultural Safety in the Workplace.  The report was commissioned by the Club’s Integrity Commission members.  That report was ‘leaked’ rather than ‘released’ last week.



It is my view that the club, and particularly Mr McGuire, handled the report as a package needing media management rather than a firm commitment to really, umm, Do Better.  Mr McGuire initially claimed that it was an ‘historic and proud day’ for the club when details of the report were leaked.  His viewing lens was completely at odds with the content of the report.



The 35-page report is compelling in its criticism of Collingwood.  While the report notes that it wasn’t about addressing the complaints from Heritier Lumumba (because he was not part of the report), it was scathing in its criticism of racism over many years.  If Mr McGuire had bothered to consult with any sensible person – preferably outside of the club – about how he should have responded, this is what they would have told him:



  • Deep-felt apology should be expressed for the club being so out of step with society’s expectations in relation to racial discrimination – overt and covert. The little issue of not complying with Commonwealth and State legislation might have received some attention, too.
  • Commitment to implementing every single recommendation contained in the report. Indeed, the report includes an implementation plan as well as a time frame.
  • Acknowledgement that leadership comes from the top. Mr McGuire should have led the team to Do Better, acknowledged that the racism was systemic, and resigned immediately.



Unfortunately, it appears that the response is more about Mr McGuire’s legacy than any intention for Collingwood to Do Better.  It was bad enough that he had talked about the historic and proud day for Collingwood, but it got worse:  “I don’t think there’s any shame or disappointment” he said; adding,  “we’re not a racist club.”  I wondered whether the report leaked to the public was completely different from the one that drew these comments from Mr McGuire.



Mr McGuire did apologise a day later, at the club’s annual general meeting, for the historic and proud comments.  He did not resile from the comments about shame, disappointment or not being a racist club.



Perhaps it’s because Mr McGuire was relatively young when he took on the mantle of presidency at Collingwood that he has misunderstood what a leader does, what responsibility looks like and what happens when something as damning as this report appears on his watch.  Or perhaps he’s just someone who is incapable of taking responsibility for his actions – of which there are a number cited in the report.  The report includes the example of Mr McGuire suggesting that Adam Goodes be used to promote a King Kong musical.  Yes, he apologised afterwards; but…There are other examples in the report demonstrating that Mr McGuire’s leadership was sadly wanting throughout his long tenure.



There is still the enormous issue of Mr Lumumba’s complaints that requires addressing.  I believe the current board under the leadership of Mr McGuire is incapable of moving this matter forward.  Remember that Mr Lumumba was removed from the leadership group of Collingwood under the guise of being ‘overly sensitive’ or ‘mentally unstable.’  Yet the Do Better report has effectively given credence to his complaints.



Collingwood has had only twelve presidents in its long and noble history.  One could say that this is a good thing – stability at the top.  I would suggest that there has not been enough turnover to critically consider whether it is a good club that is committed to providing a safe workplace for its players and staff while being the envy of other clubs for how it goes about its business.



It’s time for a re-think, Mr McGuire.  You need to go now.  The board needs to look critically at its composition and consider a shake up to bring in fresh blood and clean up this sorry mess.  Clean it up, not just as a window dressing exercise, but as an effort to commit to supporting racial diversity and stamping out racism.





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About Anne Cahill Lambert

One of the first females to be admitted to membership of the G. Thank you Mr Cain. Nicknamed The Hyphen by Alamanac Editor, despite the fact I don't have one.


  1. Really well conveyed Anne, hopefully Collingwood can become what they profess to be with time and a bit of broom action.

  2. Yvette Wroby says

    Well said Anne… long overdue for a new broom. Thanks for your thoughts

  3. Snowy from Busso says

    Mmmmmmmm what can i say.Eddie has been so good for Collingwood,and has also helped out rival clubs.I think the historic and proud statements should have been at the end of his speech.

  4. You make many irrefutable points, ACL.

    I was also very interested in the comments of Gideon Haigh on Offsiders last Sunday.

    “For a professional communicator, Eddie does seem to mis-speak a lot.
    “But you did actually almost begin to think did he SERIOUSLY mis-speak or was he drawing fire… because he does, in the process of addressing the report, he does seem to take the sins of others on his own shoulders; to draw attention away from the rest of the administration – from the players, from the coach, from all the media whisperers of Collingwood, from the AFL itself and all its progressive preening… because there are cases to answer everywhere.
    “It doesn’t suffice simply to say ‘Boo Eddie.’ That doesn’t get everyone else off the hook.
    “I think… was it ever seriously so difficult to believe Lumumba in this story? And yet it seems to me the journalists bought readily in the club’s sotto voce campaign to discredit him – because of their need for access, because of their general conformity, and frankly their whiteness.
    “You’ll notice that Lumumba last week completely ignored the football media and apart from a couple of people on the ABC – Leigh Sales and Virginia Trioli – he spoke exclusively to journalists of colour. What does that tell you about the way in which he believes that he was reported; the way in which his story was represented?”

  5. Margaret Ford says

    This should be much more widely published Anne. Thank you.

  6. Well said, Anne.
    And what timing you have.

  7. Anne your comments have consistent merit and harbour no personal grudge towards
    Mr Maguire.well done for a change! As many journos in the past few weeks have sunk the boot in personally!
    to report with creative witty substance is long gone it’s all on show these days of all out personal attacks on
    Any article. Something smells it sells.
    As Don Henley once sung, We need dirty laundry, hit’m when the up Hit’m when their down!
    To Ed Maguire you stuff up mate some times and times up in a overlooking roll ,but all in all the majority out their would respect you as
    A nice man, good farther and friendly person to ALL nationalities any culture.

  8. John Butler says

    Anne, clearly your words were the clincher. :)

    I think ER is on the money to quote Mr Haigh on several matters relevant to all of this.

    Collingwood fans might keep in mind that the football side of things has shown recent signs of being poorly managed, as well.

  9. Very well written Anne and I agree, Gideon most certainly had some valid points on Offsiders on Sunday. What I do find worrying is the thought of what would’ve happened if the report hadn’t been leaked to the media? What actions would Colllingwood have taken then, or any other club in the future should they be in a similar situation?

    My personal opinion is that Eddie should’ve stood aside after his King Kong comments back in 2013

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