Round 7 (2017) – Collingwood v Carlton: Calling time on the Toorak Boys’ Club

Watching Nathan Buckley at the press conference after this debacle was sad. He resembled a man who no longer has faith in his players nor in the corporate weasel words that have become part of his repertoire over the last three torturous years.

 

He has become Collingwood’s Donald Rumsfield while president McGuire seems to be caught between being Winston Churchill and Chemical Ali.

 

Bucks has come to know the unknowns, has been unable to control the uncontrollables and now faces what between him and Eddie would have been unmentionable a few short weeks ago.

 

The Empire has imploded. The romance is over. It’s time for change.
Beating Geelong was typical of Buckley’s Collingwood over the past couple of years. They just flatter to deceive.

 

I could have put the house on us losing to Carlton. In fact I did put the house on it. I sold my abode in Preston after 15 years. I listened to the first quarter and then fell asleep. My Saturday afternoon naps are taking precedence to anything that the Pies might throw up this year.

 

The backslappers were out in force after the Geelong game and that has been the main problem with Collingwood since the 1958 Grand Final.
They/We assign players unworthy, to champion status far too prematurely.

 

Take Taylor Adams for example. He can’t kick over a jam tin and can’t hit a barn with his kicking yet we call him an ‘elite midfielder’. He gives away stupid free kicks and yet is in the leadership group?

 

If Taylor is a leader there are way too many followers at Pieland.

 

I was a fan of Bucks and was one of the few who actually welcomed the succession plan. I still reckon his role as an assistant was integral to us winning the 2010 flag. His presence made Malthouse coach for his life. I thought he could coach an established team to at least another flag by playing footy more direct and more offensively than Malthouse.

 

Since the opening game of 2012 when Hawthorn exposed the flaw in the full press, the game style/plan/strategy has not changed. “We just couldn’t execute the way we would have liked.” How often has that been heard at Bucks’ pressers of late.

 

In retrospect Eddie has allowed Bucks far too much latitude. Love is blind, you can only see the good. That doesn’t work in life, but especially in footy. Bucks has shown that he is unable to manage ‘different’ personalities. Hence the departures of Beams, Heath Shaw and Dale Thomas (arguably three of our most important players in the 2010 triumph). There have been acrimonious splits with Didak, Thomas, Jolly, Cloke, Lumumba, Shaw, Wellingham, Nathan Brown and Beams – all key members of that fine team.

 

“My way or the highway” it seems.

 

Players like:
Seedsman, Frost, Williams, Witts, Keefe, Sinclair, Dwyer, Clinton Young, Jesse White, Blair, Fasolo, Lynch, Broomhead, Oxley, Gault, Karnezis all showed signs of promise yet haven’t or didn’t develop at all under Buckley’s tutelage.

 

If we have to ask six years in whether Bucks can still coach, the above names are a damning indictment on his credentials as a judge of talent and a manager of people.

 

Yes, Eddie, he and yourself have been great servants of the Collingwood Football Club. However, the services you are now providing see us perilously close to claiming the third wooden spoon in our club’s history. You have lost control of the controllables, the knowns and the unknowns. Time to give someone else a go.

 

The excuses have worn thin this year. No injuries to speak of and the addition of Mayne and Wells (Reeking of: “If we can just make the finals we all get to keep our jobs and cushy lifestyles”) has sharpened the Sword of Damocles.

 

As I write this I hear of the death of Magpie legend Lou Richards.

 

Lou left a wonderful legacy and his life as a player, commentator, writer and footy personality ought to be celebrated far and wide. Lou came from the Collingwood school of hard knocks where it was “A Sin to Lose”. RIP Louie ‘The Lip’.

 

Perhaps it’s time for the Toorak Boys’ club of McGuire, Pert, Kelly, McMullin and Buckley to reflect on Lou’s words and figure out that Collingwood became the most famous, richest and almost most successful sporting club in Australia by WINNING GAMES OF FOOTBALL!
No amount of marketing, corporate spin, and brandwankery changes that fact.

 

No other coach or manager in any environment, be it sporting, corporate or government would have last as long as Nathan Buckley has as coach of Collingwood.

 

It’s time to move heaven and earth to get Clarko to coach the Pies from 2018 onwards. If anyone can bring out the best from this list and add some decent players he can. Clarko will deal with the hangers-on and backslappers pretty ruthlessly as well as Leigh Matthews did when he took charge in 1986.

 

Allan McAlister once asked a bewildered John Kennedy Snr what Hawthorn’s secret to success was. Kennedy replied that the Collingwood teams of the 1930s and 1950s were his inspiration. McAlister was gobsmacked and landed Leigh Matthews shortly after.
It’s time to go to the Hawthorn well again because more than any other club in recent history, the Hawks have proven that playing winning football is the first measure of success.

 

In the meantime, who’s going to console the inconsolables?

About Phillip Dimitriadis

Carer/Teacher/Writer. Author of Fandemic: Travels in Footy Mythology. World view influenced by Johnny Cash, Krishnamurti, Larry David, Toni Morrison and Billy Picken.

Comments

  1. Sean.Seeliger says:

    I’m not sure there is one point you make that I can disagree on. Hawthorn are the Collingwood of the last 50 years.
    We have a great list playing uninspired unstructured football with no consistent intensity from week to week.

  2. Great stuff, LB.
    I am not being sarcastic when I say that I really do sympathise with you. When I was a kid I hated Collingwood with a passion, but recently I have just tended to feel sorry for them (that coming from a North supporter!!)

    You touched on Eddie and his role in all of this. To my way of thinking, he has been a good president, but he has stayed on too long. If Ed had the interests of the club at heart, he would stand aside at the end of the season – I am sure that all Collingwood people would think much more of him if he did that.

  3. Tony Robb says:

    Hi Phil
    Travelled down for the game and thought that Pies skill execution was appalling particularly kicking in to the forward line. The Carlton backs thought Christmas had come early, Poor coaching letting Murphy roam free. And then to use the three games in 12 days excuse was a shocker. They came off a 7 day break. Carlton had plenty of go about them and just more desire for the footy. Poor performance on such a day for the club and one that should cost jobs from the top down as you suggest. First cab off the rank is McQuire
    Cheers
    TR

  4. Peter_B says:

    Phil – a remarkably sober, clear eyed assessment of the Magpies position. Eddie has stayed too long and become drunk on his own self aggrandisement. As Pope Francis said last week ” the more powerful you are, the more your actions will have an impact on people, the more responsible you are to act humbly. If you don’t, your power will ruin you, and you will ruin the other. There is a saying in Argentina: “Power is like drinking gin on an empty stomach.” You feel dizzy, you get drunk, you lose your balance, and you will end up hurting yourself and those around you.”
    The rotating door of football managers and the disastrous recruiting ‘strategy’ seems more destructive than Buckley’s hands on coaching.
    PS – Put the house sale proceeds in the bank for 5 years and you’ll be able to buy it back at half the current price (not that you would want to take financial investment advice from me).

  5. Succinct summation of all that is wrong with the institution formerly known as Collingwood Football Club, now Collingwood Smoke and Mirrors Inc.

    I, like most Pies fans willed Bucks to succeed. He has not been aided by off ground cluster bangs made my Ed & Pert. That said, it is indeed time.

    I’d like to see Sanderson take the wheel for the rest of the season as an audition and plan B should we be unable to lure Clarko or maybe Richo.

    Knowing us we’ll spend a motza on Paul Roos who couldn’t give a rats.

    Poor Lou, that game on Saturday finished him off I reckon.

  6. Terrific read Phil. I know the Pies are close to your heart, but this could be the story of quite a few clubs. It is a new era. What was true in the world is no longer true. A far greater mind than mine has described the current time that football is living through as “the age of the middle manager “. Managers now do PHDs in arse covering. One of the majors in the arse covering degree is “how to be meaningless with conviction”.

    The Pies (dare I say it) lost their soul when they turned their backs on Vic Park to turn themselves into Melbourne’s Man U; an empty vessel that has influence but no heart. Maybe the sad passing of Lou Richards will cause them to reflect.

    Great piece.

  7. John Butler says:

    Bang, bang and bang.

    I don’t think there’s anything more to add there Phil.

    Congrats on the house.

  8. DBalassone says:

    Despite all the obvious frustration at the moment, I want to highlight your following sentence:

    “I still reckon his role as an assistant was integral to us winning the 2010 flag. His presence made Malthouse coach for his life.”

    Giving that prior to the “succession plan” we had won one flag in over 50 years, the fact that a premiership was delivered during the “succession plan” process is perhaps something we should be grateful for, despite all that has happened since.

  9. Stainless says:

    Great read Phil.
    Unlike Smokie I cannot feel sympathy for Collingwood (I doubt too many Magpies would sympathise with Richmond were it our predicament) and I agree with many of the comments about the directions the club has taken.
    However I do feel sympathy for Bucks who, from my limited knowledge, is a thoroughly decent, highly principled human being. It will be a shame if he becomes the only fall guy for Collingwood’s current shemozzle.

  10. Rick Kane says:

    As erudite as ever and witty, with boots and all. One small correction if I may. Don’t include Clinton Young in your list. He’s a journeyman at best and the Hawks wrung the best we could from him.

  11. Sean Gorman says:

    Beautifully balanced piece – like Bucks in his prime. Maybe the death of Lou will see more breathing space for The coach as they navigate their way through the emotional fallout of a favourite son/elder. Cheers mate.

  12. E.regnans says:

    Well played, Phil.
    You have peeled back the husk of management speak.

    It’s hard to argue against anything you’ve raised. I, too, hoped N Buckley may hold the mysterious gifts of the horse whisperer – but instead he seems to have a tin ear.
    From All the Pretty Horses (Cormac McCarthy):
    “In history there are no control groups. There is no one to tell us what might have been. We weep over the might have been, but there is no might have been. There never was. It is supposed to be true that those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it. I don’t believe knowing can save us. What is constant in history is greed and foolishness and a love of blood and this is a thing that even God–who knows all that can be known–seems powerless to change.”

    As for being a decent and knowledgable and hard-working individual – none of that is up for debate. This role of coach/ mentor of disparate young men is not measured unfortunately, on decency. The job seems pretty well defined (e.g. in selecting a bowler to play Test cricket for Australia, you’d pick a young fit SK Warne every time).

    What is the job of Collingwood footy coach?
    Mentoring citizens, yes, that would be a part of it. But winning games of footy must be pretty high on the list somewhere. The current “winning games” situation, as you say, is going backwards. It’s bereft of hope.

    An injection of hope is the very least that is required now.
    Where does hope grow?
    Is it available?
    A wave starts somewhere.

    Great piece.

  13. E.regnans says:

    Moving to Toorak?

  14. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Thanks for the comments gents.
    I really wish I didn’t have to write something like this. I still admire Bucks and Eddie for what they have done for the club, but now we have to question what they are doing TO the club.

    Sean – You are right about Hawthorn. Simple philosophy – Win flags and the rest will come.

    Smokie – When North fans start to pity us you know thing are going bad. Seriously, the fans would indeed think much more of Eddie and Bucks if they just came out and admitted that they have failed. However, more chance of the Fonz saying sorry than that happening. Two massive egos at play here.

    TR – Bullshit excuse the 6 day break. Semi-pro footballers would play Escort Cup on a Tuesday night in the 70s/80s and still rock up fresh for the game on Saturday. Cop out !!

    PB – Argentine saying spot on. Couldn’t describe the situation better. As for your house tip: We both know you shouldn’t gamble and I shouldn’t drink. Clean for 18 months now and moving into a lovely home surrounded by trees, space and air. Grateful for everything I have – except Collingwood at the moment !!

    JD – Sando may be a good choice, but his appointment is symptomatic of the ‘jobs for the boys’ syndrome down there. I’d give Brad Gotch a go for the rest of the season. Not one of the boys and a wealth of knowledge and experience.

    Dips – “How to be meaningless with conviction” is ripper line. Problem is I think that Bucks’ conviction has wavered for the first time in his tenure. Not a good sign.

    Thanks JB – Good win to the Blues. You controlled the unknowns well.

    Damo – If you put it that way it makes it even more infuriating. 2 flags in 60 years while Hawthorn have won 13 in the same period. A tale of two cultures. Damning stat when you consider Hawthorn was about to merge in 1996.

    Stainless – It’s not just Bucks. The entire club has been drunk with it’s own inflated self-worth since 2010. The same thing happened after 1990 and Pies didn’t play finals for 7 years. Richmondesque !!

    Slim – Clinton Young always seemed to play well against us and was a fine player in your 2008 triumph. A better coach might have elicited superior service for a couple of years. Was injury-prone, however.

    Thanks Sean – I’m afraid Lou’s death will only bring out more of the vapid ‘side by side’ shit from Eddie and his cabal. Lou could relate to the working class, Eddie just pretends to.

    ER – “Greed and foolishness” indeed. Throw in a biblical dose of hubris and you know how it ends. The job of the coach is to get players to believe in what he is teaching them. Cue Clarko and Bevo. The Pie team never seems to know what their left hand and foot is doing. Mental and physical dysmorphia disguised as footy. Not moving to Toorak, gladly. Off to leafy Bundoora in a couple of weeks. Somewhat of a tree change compared to Preston. Looking forward to some breathing space. Cheers

  15. Absolutely brilliant – nailed it – CFC have been deluding themselves for decades – they have lost about twice as many GFs as they have won – McGuire failed at Channel Nine – running your own one man media band is no preparation for corporate governance – get out now

  16. Luke Reynolds says:

    Phil, I’m gutted. Have been very much a Buckley man. I’ve never been as despondent driving home from a game as I was Saturday night.
    Like you, I was never a fan of Grumpy Mick. Have always enjoyed hearing any praise Bucks has got for his role as assistant in the 2010 flag win. Bucks has carried himself so well throughout this whole time, as opposed to Grumpy Mick’s childlike behavior.
    But, at 2-5, things are dire. I can’t disagree with any of your words.

  17. Dave Nadel says:

    The thing about succession plans is that they only work if the departing leader is happy to leave. This applies in both politics and sport. In Federal politics the only case I can think of of a Prime Minister cheerfully passing the baton to his chosen successor was when Holt succeeded Menzies in 1966. Considering that Menzies had been Prime Minister for 17 years, had achieved all the honour and glory that he desired and had implemented most of his political goals, that he had seen off any possible successor that he disapproved of (Casey, Barwick etc.) and that the bloke who was replacing him, Harold Holt, had been his protege for nearly 30 years, it is not surprising that the succession worked. The two long serving Prime Ministers after Menzies, Bob Hawke and John Howard both agreed to succession plans with their deputies and then reneged on them. Both believed (wrongly as it turned out) that they were the only one in their party who could win the next election.

    There have been very few successful succession plans in footy. Coaches get sacked more often than they resign. The most successful succession plans that I can think of involve Paul Roos who seemed happy to resign, secure in the knowledge that he had handpicked and trained his successors (Longmire at Sydney, Goodwin at Melbourne). John Kennedy at Hawthorn had a similar relationship with David Parkin but there aren’t too many others.

    The Malthouse/Buckley succession plan was disastrous. It cost us a Premiership (2011) and is a major factor behind Buckley’s failure as a coach. It is almost entirely due to Eddie’s ego. Buckley had said publicly that he expected to work in the media and then as an assistant coach at another club after he retired. Eddie couldn’t cope with the idea of his favourite player becoming part of another club so devised the “succession plan”.

    But Buckley needed to observe the culture of another club and be exposed to alternative coaching styles. He would have benefited from working with someone like Mark Thompson or Alastair Clarkson both of whom were very different coaches to Mick Malthouse or Leigh Matthews. He might have come back with more flexibility and empathy than he has now.

    I have no doubt that Buckley is a deep thinker on the game and probably knows more about footy than 95% of former players. But he doesn’t seem to know how to change his game plan when it isn’t working and he doesn’t know how to manage players who lack his serious and single minded dedication. I hope that when he resigns he is not lost to the game or even to coaching. I would like to see him spend a few years as assistant to a coach who has the people skills that Buckley seems to lack (Beveridge or Pyke come to mind) and perhaps become a senior coach again in a few years.

    In the meantime, I don’t think Sando would be an appropriate fill in coach. I would prefer Scott Burns. What I would really like is Alan Richardson a former Collingwood player who is doing really well at St Kilda despite starting with an inferior list to the one that Bucks inherited.

    Most of all I would like to see Eddie replaced. He was good for the club for his first ten years as President, but for most of this decade he has been a liability and as I said he bares sole responsibility for the disastrous succession plan.

  18. Mark (again) – forgot to add previously – seems to me that Buckley over complicates everything – the players certainly play as though they are confused – after the loss to Carlton Buckley said “we lost our shape” – what on earth does that mean? That’s only one example of his incomprehensible jargon and babble – after the 2010 flag Buckley said words to the effect “this team has just begun to realise its potential” – so Nathan why on earth did you set about dismantling that team?

  19. haiku bob says:

    Good piece Phil.
    Buckley can’t coach.
    Simple as that.
    It makes no sense at all that he remains in charge.
    But it makes perfect sense for the reasons you and others point out.
    Eddie has lost all perspective.
    Winning games of football lost out to corporate stuff and nonsense long ago.

    Dips nailed it.
    Buckley’s gormless, middle-management speak is as impressive in its vacuousness as it is in its perfect syntax (I’ve said before that he reminds me of Gareth Gareth Evans). It is symbolic of the club. We stand for everything and nothing.

    The sad thing is I don’t care anymore.
    I’m losing my religion.

    HB.

  20. G’day Phil,

    You must be fed up with Buckley’s coaching style. It’s been said he has no plan B. I agree with you he keeps the job thanks to Eddie who cares cooperates the most.

    Buckley is just his favourite son. Then he doesn’t care if he has alternative game plans. Having no ability to deal with different people makes sense.

    Thank you for trading Nathan Brown to the Saints.

    Cheers

    Yoshi

  21. Admittedly I don’t watch Collingwood with the keenest eye, but from an outsider’s perspective I thought the Pies looked really good against Geelong. The key factor in my view was Daniel Wells. He was quick. He got the footy, burst away, and then used it brilliantly. He brought others into it, opening the play and causing havoc in the Cats defence (all over the ground). His creativity freed Pendlebury up. Pendlebury also reads the play superbly and, watching him that day, I could see him make decisions to drift forward, depending on what was unfolding across half back – one goal from the top of 50 was made because of how he ran diagonallly from the centre when he saw what was about to happen. He also brings others into the game as we all know too well.

    But they are your main two authoritative players who lead naturally. Treloar still plays like the best kid in Grade 10.

    What if the Pies problem was a dearth of on-field leadership?

    [Of course this does not explain the exodus of players]

  22. haiku bob says:

    Wells looks out of place in this line-up.
    Composed, intelligent and skillful.
    A bit like Bucks in his early playing days at Collingwood.

    Lack of on-field leadership is obvious.
    Has been an issue since Maxwell left.
    You can see it all over the ground.
    Pendlebury is a gun. But he’s not a leader in the Selwood or Hodge mode. He doesn’t so much as marshal the troops as try to manufacture the impossible to win a game. It’s what our game plan depends on. And after him, there’s no-one.

    I see this as a separate issue to Bucks’ coaching, but surely the two are related in some way. The whole place just seems to lack passion. A common cause.

    HB.

  23. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Luke – Agree that Bucks has carried himself well publicly, however losing so many important players so quickly casts a shadow on how he deals with people internally. It’s not a great record considering we were one of the youngest premiership teams.

    Dave – That’s an article in itself right there. Eddie’s ego probably helped us win an elusive flag, but hubris has claimed greater men than Chemical Eddie. Bucks is a great theorist, but his strategy seems to be based on perfect simulation and shows little respect for what he would consider inferior opponents like Carlton and Essendon (our pressure in both games virtually non-existent compared to the Geelong and Sydney games – Surely most of that falls back on the coach’s inability to motivate his players? Scotty Burns might be okay, but does he have the courage to stand up to the TBC (Toorak Boys’ Club) and tell them the hard truths?

    Mark- Yes, “lost our shape” is indicative of what Dips was talking about: “how to be meaningless with conviction”.

    HB – I can relate mate. I have lost interest – yet to attend a game this year – because I’m fed up with being taken for fool by the TBC. If they want my money and patronage, they’ll have to make some changes. Might just follow the netball for a while !!

    Yoshi – This pattern has recurred too often. It would not surprise me at all if they beat GWS this week and then go on and lose to Hawthorn and Brisbane the following weeks. Nathan Brown has slotted into the Saints’ defense nicely. He will be valuable for you in the finals.

    JTH – Pendlebury and Varcoe direct traffic while everyone else seems to be hesitant. A fit Wells is an asset because like Pendles and Varcoe he brings others into the game as you say. Sidebottom also does this to a lesser degree as does Elliott. Successful footy teams have leaders on every line. The Pies have 2 and one is injured half the time. Pendles deserves better and that is an indictment on the coaching panel at the Holden Centre. Geelong didn’t rate us and failed to apply any real pressure like last year. We moved the ball well because we were allowed to. When teams tackle us and deny us space, we fold far too easily. Not something even average Collingwood teams have been renowned for over the years. I’m at the stage where I’m beginning to miss Collingwood losing Grand Finals. At least our season wasn’t over by the end of April…

  24. Kieran Butler says:

    Hi Phil, you say you supported the succession plan. Do you recall that it was rushed into position to satiate a membership that were incensed about the Pratt Cup? The Pratt Cup saga is emblematic of this “Toorak boys club” issue you have identified. You say it’s time for a change? How so? A compliant membership has rendered democratic process at Collingwood non existent. Any opposition – I led the last vestiges of it – was snuffed out by McGuire’s demagoguery. It’s worse than you realise. The Club has become a brand. Something Ed can parcel up into a sound bite. This change of which you speak is going to be very difficult to put into concrete action. Interesting times. I am glad I stood up against the Pratt Cup. That was the moment how far Collingwood had walked away from it’s roots was crystalised for me. Telling Carlton we’re not playing for it again would make a visceral statement. And take half the board with it!

    One initiative I think is worth spearheading is giving ALL members voting rights, not just social club members. You know, just the usual democratic right members at every other AFL club are afforded! The promised social club has turned into a venue for functions for the Toorak set so the idea of a social club is now redundant anyway.

    An idea I think has some merit is to start a slew of online polls at a website where people use their real names and photos of their membership to identify themselves. Ostensibly build an alternative democratic platform. The time is not right just yet. But if this season gets worse the right time is not far off.

    McGuire has always been focused on his legacy. He won’t leave voluntarily with the Club in disarray on the field even if Buckley decides to resign. It could take years to unpick this unholy mess.

  25. Frank Cheeseman says:

    Nice one Phil, nice one……

    I don’t think I can add to the discussion as I agree with it all,

    Vale Louie the Lip

    Floreat Pica

  26. Steve Fahey says:

    Terrific article Phil. I don;t agree with everything you (and others who have commented) say but do agree with the main themes.

    The lowpoint of a miserable week has been the acknowledgment that WE requested to play the anniversary game on Saturday, ahead of the actual milestone on Sunday, in order for the gala function to be held on Saturday night. This highlights Phil’s main theme as well as anything.

    I think Bucks’point re 3 games in 12 days was valid but (1) loses all relevance when the scheduling was in response to our request and (2) it is impossible to quantify what/if any impact another day would have made. Carlton were better organised, hungrier and more efficient than us.

    The Bucks’ situation is extremely sad. A legend of our club who has poured his heart and soul into the job but it hasn’t worked and isn’t working. The decision to extend his contact by a year before the start of the 2016 season was a disastrous mistake – it was pretty evident after Round 4 last season after being toyed with by St Kilda and Melbourne in successive weeks that we were in deep trouble, and lacked a feasible Plan B.

    Despite improved form in the second half of 2016, the recruiting of Mayne on big dollars smacked of desperation and shoring up jobs. I haven’t been a fan of the big talking at the club about top four finishes and making finals – of course you aim at making those levels but your main focus needs to be on what you are doing now. And I remember Bucks saying at the first members’ meeting at the end of 2014 that we were a developing list alongside the Bulldogs and GWS – hmmmmm, they are in different stratospheres to us on-field now.

    There is a precedent re the club working with the coach for a dignified exit for a club legend, being Tony Shaw in 1999. It wasn’t easy, but nothing is…(thanks Blur).

    I am in favour of managed change and evolution but not revolution. Off-field predictability and stability are important in attracting the best people to the club and retaining the good people already there. Look at Geelong, Hawthorn and Sydney in the last decade. Revolution makes you feel better in the short-term but you often lose important people and knowledge to your longer-term detriment. I still shudder at the New Magpies revolution and what that did to the club, albeit it seemed exciting and like a great idea at the time.

    I do care and will continue to care…passionately.

  27. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Perfectly put Kieran – While I won’t let the Pies ‘ruin my life’ anymore you are spot on about The Pratt Cup being emblematic of a disassociation with the Collingwood heartland. If they called it The Wren/Pratt Cup it would at least add some historical gravitas. I supported the succession plan because Malthouse was struggling in 2009. Bucks’ appointment helped bring out the best in his coaching. I was patient and wanted Buckley to succeed, but 6 years as an apprenticeship ??

    Cheers Frank – Tough time for the club and it’s fans.

    Steve – I think the prevailing feeling for most Pies’ fans in this woeful period is sadness rather than anger. I don’t think any Collingwood fan wanted Bucks to fail. I agree that there ought to be evolution before revolution, but I doubt evolution works with Totalitarian models of governance. This might get ugly if Eddie decides to dig the heels in.
    I remember the look on his face when he was on the boundary line against Carlton in 1998 (Similar dismal result) and made the decision to run for president. In 2017 many of us have the same feelings regarding his tenure. Almost 20 years is a good innings in anyone’s book.
    I care also, but I’d care more if they stopped virtually throwing games for the sake of dressing up to impress the Toorak elite (Gala Ball). Priorities Steve…

  28. Rulebook says:

    Phil you absolutely and completely nailed it and in this era of sports science to request the game on the Saturday re a social event is mind boggling as well why give your opponent another advantage ?

  29. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Cheers Rulebook,
    Seems balls and whistles take priority to winning games of footy at the Holden Centre these days. Mind boggling indeed.

  30. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says:

    Great read, Phil. I hold my thoughts on Collingwood. They are not finely tuned enough to have authority. But it’s interesting that none of the ‘favourite sons’ in Voss and Hird and Buckley have worked out. At least Buckley’s last to the finish line … if that counts for anything. I like the emphasis in your piece and the comments on success being very much driven by those who can bring others into the play – make and hold lists, hone morale and style, shape play. Ain’t it so for many things? Interesting stuff. Thanks.

  31. Tony Mosca says:

    Terrific article and I agree with most of it and appreciate that a lot of your views were formed in hindsight. I was totally fooled as well.
    I disagree about poaching Clarko though. My team Carlton for many years chased coaches and the results were disastrous.
    I think Collingwood should develop a plan to find the best of the brilliant young coaches coming through the ranks.
    With the fantastic supporter base and enviable resources at your club’s disposal a well thought out plan should give rise to Collingwood becoming an irresistible force on the field again and with sustained success.
    And rightly so, a strong Collingwood means a strong AFL and hopefully a strong Carlton.

  32. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Thanks Mathilde,
    Yes, he has survived Voss and Hird, yet the legacy is eerily similar. Only difference is that Bucks didn’t gt a chance to play in a premiership team and this has prolonged the process, perhaps Eddie and the club believing that he deserves more time for his service and ill-fortune. Alas, he too is not the messiah.
    I think most established footy clubs indulge in the memory trade, but no one squeezes out as much mileage from it like Collingwood.

    Thanks Tony,
    Looking forward to Carlton and Collingwood playing in the finals again. 30 years – and I was at the 1988QF when Sticks had a picnic – is too long for these great rivals.

  33. Zac Stojcevski says:

    Phil
    The article and the subsequent discussion has put into text six years of my verbose frustrations that activated my Broca’s area to mangle utterance in several Slavic languages, broken English and facial twitches. This was, “No good, f$%&#!” So, thank you all.

    I thought I’d tag onto one of your last comments, “…Alas, he too is not the messiah…” By Pythonesque deduction then, “…He’s a Very Naughty Boy…”

    Does anyone else see scope for an updated version of Williamson’s, “The Club” whereby the story remains the same, only the names change…can even use the son of Daics in it?

  34. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Hi Zac,
    Yes, I’ve been swearing in Albanian of late while watching the Pies. Slavic languages are quite economical when it comes to vowels unlike the Toorak set who favour the gratuitous vowel stretch. Pythonesque farce indeed. The Club or a 21st Century sporting version of Power Without Glory?
    17th now By Jingoes, by golly, by crikey as the late Lou Richards might have uttered.

  35. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says:

    A month is a long time in footy Phil.

  36. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Head to head it’s Clarkson 10 – Buckley 1
    Clarko must think coaching against Bucks is a stroll in the park and he’d be fucking right !!

  37. georgesmith says:

    “A month is a long time in footy Phil.”
    to paraphrase the immortal No Fixed Address:
    “7 bleep years is a long, long time,
    7 bleep years – still on my mind,
    long long time, but it’s still on my mind,
    long long time, but it’s still on my mind.”

    I know the original was 40 thousand years – it just seems like it!

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