It’s time to go, Eddie

The Footy Bogan reckons that Eddie McGuire got Collingwood into its current mess and should therefore pay the ultimate price.


The Kirribilli agreement

28 July 2009

Collingwood has signed coach Mick Malthouse and former club captain Nathan Buckley to revolutionary five-year deals.

Buckley will be an assistant coach for the next two seasons, then take over as senior coach from 2011 for three years.

Mick Malthouse’s coaching contract has been extended for two seasons. He will then become the director of coaching from 2011 for three years.

“We can come up with things that are original and we can do our own things without having to run around looking at other codes,” McGuire said.

It was widely accepted that Eddie McGuire brokered the Kirribilli agreement. It might well have been his idea from the beginning. Malthouse was a big believer in process. I don’t know about Eddie, but there was not much process evident in the succession plan.


Favourite son

Buckley probably got the nod because he was a favourite son. It could hardly have been his track record as a coach:

Coaching Career: AIS-AFL Academy squad (assistant) 2008-2009, Vic Country U16 (coach) 2009

I’ve edited the above to make it current for the day of the announcement. At that stage, Buckley had coached Vic Country U16 to the grand final (against South Australia) to be played at the MCG in September. That’s not a compelling track record for the position of senior coach in the AFL.

But then, what was the evidence that favourite sons did well as senior coaches? In recent years, I can only think of duds and/or disappointments (all subsequently sacked, I think): Michael Voss, James Hird, Brett Ratten. I’ve asked around. Someone came up with Alex Jesaulenko. The one that seemed a good candidate was Ron Barassi, but his premierships as coach came with Carlton and North Melbourne; his record as coach of Melbourne was less than impressive (in no year did Melbourne win more games than it lost).

So, where was the due diligence? On what basis was Buckley chosen as senior coach? Surely it’s not enough to select a person on the basis of a bromance.


The rest, as they say, is history. Collingwood went on to win the (second) 2010 grand final and lose the 2011 grand final. Not a bad result for Malthouse in his last two years as coach.


What might have been

In those two years, but especially in 2011, the Kirribilli agreement was a huge distraction for players and coach. Obviously this is speculation on my part, but perhaps without it, Collingwood might have won in 2011. Who in his right mind would sack (or move to another role) a coach who had won back-to-back premierships? (Or even won one and lost the other: just making a grand final is pretty impressive. There hasn’t been much of that in the 6 seasons since Buckley took over.)

Even in 2011, the team was still young. They could have been a dynasty. Several of the players are still in the game, a handful at Collingwood, others at other clubs. Perhaps we would have been the Hawthorn of the second decade of the new millennium.

Buckley as senior coach

        Finished W/L    Lost
        -------- ---    ----

2012        4   16-6    Preliminary Final
2013        6   14-8    Elimination Final
2014       11   11-11
2015       12   10-12
2016       12   9-13
2017       Who cares?

W/L is win/loss record for home and away games

This table suggests that as Malthouse’s influence faded so did the team. This year Buckley surely has a team made in his image – and its performance is an absolute disaster.

We Collingwood supporters have endured six long years in the wilderness.

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Albert Einstein

There is no evidence that Buckley can coach. There’s six years of evidence that he can’t.


Buckley on 2017

By his own estimation, Buckley has failed.

By Jarryd Barca, 3 Feb 2017

There’s no doubt that if there is one coach massively under the pump in 2017, its Nathan Buckley.

The Collingwood coach has been at the helm for five seasons and in each of those seasons, the Pies have slipped further down the ladder.

The top-eight expectation comes in part because they haven’t made it in a while, in part because they have enormous talent in their list, but mostly because of comments Buckley made in August 2016.

Buckley declared 2017 as “finals or bust” in terms of his coaching position and didn’t expect to continue his role in charge if his side fail to make the finals for a fourth consecutive season.

“Invariably the senior coach is the guy that has to pull it all together so I absolutely take responsibility for that.” [said Buckley]

Nathan Buckley: I expect finals in 2017

I’m a harder marker than Buckley. At the beginning of the year, looking at the Pies’ list, I said Collingwood needed to finish top 4.

If he is not sacked by the club, Buckley should honour his words and stand down.



As a Collingwood tragic, The Footy Bogan is no stranger to disappointment. Here’s a short list of just some of the events that the Bogan has had to endure:

        1966 (St Kilda, Barry Breen)
        1977 (North Melbourne, draw, loss)
        1979 (Carlton, Wayne Harmes)
        the 32-year drought

The Bogan is sure that he is not Robinson Crusoe in these disappointments (and others).

However, in all his years addicted to footy, there has never been a year as disappointing as 2017. This year, the Pies have played plenty of unwatchable footy. It’s not just about winning or losing. Even some of the games we’ve won have had their train-wreck episodes, some lasting whole quarters. The players have produced some unprecedentedly dreadful memories, with the first quarter of the round 9 match against Hawthorn the worst footy I can remember – not just by Collingwood but by any team. The members around me were booing their own team – not that that in itself is all that uncommon in the last few years; but the atmosphere among the members and fans was qualitatively more despondent than I can recall. Watch the game on replay: the commentators notice the same thing.

I stopped going to the game after the Port Adelaide game. Does anyone want my membership card?

I’ve been turned off – not only turned off Collingwood, I been turned off footy. That’s a real heart break.


The wrap

Make no mistake: I think both Bucks and Eddie are really good guys, and enduring servants of the Collingwood Football Club who have made outstanding contributions. However, the game we know and love (well I can understand why supporters of other teams still love the game) is brutal both on and off the field. The inexorable logic is this: in six years, Buckley has failed to deliver any joy to the Collingwood faithful so he must go. And Buckley was Eddie’s “captain’s pick” (or president’s pick) so, Eddie, it’s time to go.


There’s another reason Eddie must stand down as president: he is extremely influential around the club. I’d be surprised if anyone would stand up to him even if he or she disagreed with him. And Eddie, like a losing gambler, is likely to apply clouded judgement and lobby for Buckley to have “just one more year”. At the very least, Eddie should recuse himself from any involvement in any decision involving Buckley’s future at the club.


I will not renew my membership until Buckley stops coaching Collingwood and Eddie stops being President.


I know that you love the club, Eddie. I’ll even concede that you love it more than I do – well, did. Here’s your chance to make, in footy parlance, the ultimate sacrifice for our club: stand down as President. It’s time to go, Eddie.

About Charlie Krebs

The Footy Bogan is a self-confessed unrepentant Collingwood tragic. For more years than he cares to remember he has been writing about footy, mainly Collingwood, but sometimes, when provoked, about related matters. He started his self-titled blog in July 2011 when - but you can read all about that at


  1. There are some who would claim that Mick blew Carringbush’s defence of their 2011 Flag when he made his job application for Damien Hardwick’s job on The Footy Show. I ask you; if any previous Collingwood Coach had said bury my heart at Punt Road they’d find his bloated body snagged on the Dight’s Falls fish ladder. Time to go? Nah, the rest of us are having too much fun watching the circus.

  2. As for favourite sons not making it as coaches, I give you the best 2 South Australian examples: Russell Ebert & Barrie Robran. All sorts of reasons, but overall not successful.

Leave a Comment