Should he stay or should he go?

A special investigative feature, looking at the truth behind the Malthouse Buckley rumours.

By John Weldon

Is it too early to begin speculation about the possibility of the Malthouse Buckley succession deal falling through at the end of this season, should Collingwood win (or not win) the2011 flag? No it’s not. Well not according to SEN, Sunrise Ron Barassi, ‘Lethal’ Leigh Matthews, et al anyway.

And let’s face it, it’s never too early to begin looking for story leads on any AFL-related subject  as long as you’re prepared to work hard and above all be creative, the two essential skills for sports reporting in this the era of the 24-hour news cycle.

But, seriously, the home and away games haven’t even started yet, so what’s behind this current round of fevered speculation? Well the World Cup cricket is a total bore, Collingwood have just won the NAB Cup and there’s now nothing else to fill the sports pages until the season proper starts in a week.

But even so, what do we really know of this story? Let’s make sure that we approach the topic in an objective and disinterested journalistic manner.

So, what are the facts?

Well, current wisdom says Buckley should leave as if Malthouse wins another flag he’ll undoubtedly want to stay and if he doesn’t Buckley will be under massive pressure to win 2012. Either way, our Bucks is going to find himself under the hammer, to use the vernacular.

‘Get out now!’ Barassi tells Buckley as if it’s a foregone conclusion that Malthouse will stay. Steady on I say. One only has to look at the recent Two and a Half Men Charlie Sheen fiasco to see how destabilising contentious issues can be, if not handled professionally. Let’s not go off half-cocked.

Let me explain what I mean. If we say, for illustrative purposes, that Sheen’s ex- show (TAAHM for short) is Collingwood and we see Malthouse as Charlie Sheen, then it’s not too much of a stretch to cast Buckley as the off-sider, integral to the show but otherwise unnoticed. This then casts Eddie McGuire as the kid, although to suggest that Eddie is only half a man is to massively misunderestimate him, even though he is undoubtedly the love child of Mick and Nathan. But that’s another story.

Are you with me so far?

Let’s not forget also, at this stage, that the names Sheen and Sheedy (as in Kevin, as in always in the mix when you’re talking about coaching shenanigans) differ only by a few letters and if you take those letters (N, D and Y) and you add them to GWS the initials of the team Sheedy will coach in 2012 (or will he? What have you heard/made up? Call us on 1300DESPERATEFORSTORIES) you get GWSNDY, and if you invert the ‘W’ in that you get GMSNDY which is an acronym for Give Malthouse the sack Nathan Do You (want the job)? It couldn’t be any clearer, could it? Having said that, don’t rule Sheedy out either to take, or not take, the helm at Collingwood irregardless of what the other two do, or don’t do. Further, is it mere coincidence that Nathan Buckley’s initials are NCB and the NAB Cup’s initials are NABC? I’ll leave you to decide on that one.

Compelling stuff indeed, but where does this leave us in terms of the facts? Well Sheen was sacked from TAAHM mid-stream due to unforeseen controversy (SCOOP: to be replaced by Brendan Fevola. No, it’s true. Why do you think he’s currently in the States? Just another coincidence? I don’t think so. Call us on: 1300 WE’RE NOT MAKINGTHISUPWEPROMISE, for more).

Will the same happen to Malthouse at Collingwood?

Highly unlikely, however not unlikely enough that we would have any trouble camping outside his house for the next six months just to see if Charlie Sheen should turn up there, with or without either Buckley or Sheedy. Or Eddie, who we all know, knows Warnie, who allegedly knows Liz Hurley, which, suggests to this commentator, that Nathan Buckley could be the next Austin Powers, or perhaps, even less unbelieverably, could be in line to star as the Hugh Grant character in an all-Aussie remake of Four Weddings and a Funeral entitled Four Grand final Losses and another Grand Final Loss, a retelling of Collingwood’s dismal history through the 1970s and 80s. This, of course, then leaves Malthouse free to stay on at Collingwood, thereby ending all speculation. It’s amazing  how much you can clear up with just a little old fashioned investigative journalism.

Coming up next: Gary Ablett and Garry Ablett Jnr: is there a connection?


  1. johnharms says

    The internal logic of this piece is perfect, and hence it works on all levels, and concludes with the question on everyone’s lips. You need to be Tweeting all this JW. And collaborating with Tinsel Tony Wilson on a novel.

  2. john weldon says

    Thanks JTH. I would consider collaborating on a novel with TTW, but as you can see in this piece, I’m only interested in hard facts – fiction does nothing for me.

  3. Rick Kane says

    Hi John W, I like your analysis, especially how you entwine facts with truths. Re the comparrison between the Collingwood coaching dilemma and TAAHM, does that mean Joffa Corfe is that show’s sharp-tongued housekeeper Berta?

    Just establishing the facts, sir.

  4. john Weldon says

    Yes Rick! Of course! There could be no other interpretation of the facts. What else might we turn up, if we probe a little deeper?


    I think after we’ve explored the CFC TAAHM connection, we should explore the uncanny links between the show LOST and the thinking behind the decision by the WAFL not to suspend Daniel Kerr for mega-sconning Luke Blackwell

  5. Carlton will take Mick at the end of this season, GO MICK, PLEASE CARLTON JUST TAKE HIM AWAY!!!

  6. Steve Healy says

    well done! very humorous report.

    I think Mick is a magnificent man and will only be a benefit to the Collingwood football club if he stays there

  7. Mick would take players with him Danni.

    Which half a dozen would you like to see in the ‘Good Old Navy Blues’ colours?

  8. 7- Aslong as he takes adopted son Toovey and that new number 7 with him its all good.

  9. You don’t like him, do you.

  10. 9- who? lol theres a few i dont like.

  11. Phil Dimitriadis says


    love the piss take on the speculation during the off season. So much bullshit to sell papers. What’s more disturbing is the number of people who swallow it and engage in it.

    As another recently deposed Kevin who seems to be getting the limelight again might say: “Let me say this…Malthouse would NOT have been a Premiership coach had Buckley not been appointed by Eddie”

  12. johnharms says

    Now that is a good question Phil…I’d love to hear the argument.

  13. #10

    Cracks appearing amongst the faithfull Danni?

    Care to elucidate?

  14. john weldon says

    Intriguing. Let’s hear the story Phil.

  15. Phil Dimitriadis says

    JW and JTH,

    Here is my somewhat biased, speculative, yet earnest argument.

    1. Malthouse had no club icon to challenge his authority until Bucks came along.

    2. Having played under him for 8 seasons, Bucks was acutely aware of Mick’s faults and provided a much needed counterbalance to his Gaddafiesque regime.

    3. Eddie knew that having Mick face mortality as a Collingwood coach, coupled with the fear of leaving a failed legacy, would either force Mick to change some of his ways or leave a history of underachievement during his watch.

    4. Mick would be loyal to players like O’Bree, Fraser, Rocca beyond reasonable logic. He only relented in dropping them once Bucks became assistant.

    5. For the second half of 2011 the ball was mostly in Collingwood’s forward line. Who coached the forwards last year and transformed haphazard delivery into precision passing? Bucks.

    6. Nick Maxwell had his best season as a footballer and a leader at Collingwood. Who gave him the confidence to back himself when others doubted? Bucks.

    7. Maxwell wore number 5 as he raised Collingwood’s Premiership aloft. Bucks’ number.

    8. Mick came to realise that having Bucks on side might actually help him delegate and focus on teaching and encouraging the young blokes, which has always been one of his strengths.

    9. Many Pie fans had had enough of Mick’s deflections and diversions by the end of 09. He could no longer get away with this knowing that Bucks was waiting to pounce.

    10. Eddie has his faults, but he saw how the dynamics could work in the short term in order to get the elusive flag when many were beginning to doubt him. It was a masterstroke of psychological manipulation by Eddie.

    What happens from here on is anyone’s guess and will certainly be the subject of much informed, half-baked and totally preposterous speculation.

  16. 13- There a few reasons.

    1- It has come to my notice how ‘attacking’ Collingwood supporting males can be (not on this website)when they don’t agree on another’s opinion.
    2-Obviously i have my selected few players that i just can’t take a shine to- eg McCarthy, Toovey and that new number seven.
    3- Bringing it back to this topic, simply i hate Mick for his treatment of Jack Anthony- You never really heard Jack say something great about Mick why? simply bc Jack adored Buckley, who i believe would have put him to better use and given him a REAL fair go.
    I don’t believe it was Mick that won us the flag, i give that credit to the players. Mick coached us in two other grandfinals, when didnt we win then?
    I could go on and on about this, but to be honest thinking about Mick is kinda making me feel pissed off, lol.
    ps- If this is another attempt to turn me into a Geelong supporter, keep trying :P

  17. Steve Healy says

    Ok Danni, since that you indirectly and selfishly claimed I’m “allowed” to talk to you on this website and pretend that nothing is wrong then I will and I’ll answer to your comment in a gentlemanly manner. (I’m being serious I’m not just trying to make you angry)

    Come on, Krakouer was a great pick up from collingwood. He is quick, clever and has come in to do what Leon can no longer not. Saying that you don’t like him is a bit harsh since he’s had an incredible recovery from being in prison to winning the sandover medal to looking good in the preseason.

    And also, if you say the players won the premiership, you’re right, but Mick did do something. Jack just got pushed out with Cloke and Dawes being able to hold down the positions up forward well and Brown/Reid/Presti doing so in defence.

  18. 17- My dislike for Krakouer is purely based on my loyalty to Medhurst.
    You of all people should understand supporter connections to their favourite players.
    I’m allowed to dislike players and my team’s coach.
    If you love all your players and and coach then that’s great, but I’m allowed to voice my dislike towards mine.
    I don’t doubt Mick’s coaching abilities BUT i don’t like the way hes handled some things at Collingwood- just my personal opinion.

  19. Good to see you are passionate and not a Lemming Danni.

    Have a good season. I look forward to the banter.

    Go Cats

  20. 18 – Maria, I know exactly what you mean!!!

    “I don’t doubt Mick’s coaching abilities BUT i don’t like the way hes handled some things at Collingwood- just my personal opinion.”

    Didn’t we have that EXACT discussion several times last year re: Mick and Bomber?
    And look what happened with Bomber!!!! That gut instinct was so on the money, so maybe you’re onto something again :P But I don’t see Mick spitting on the Collingwood flag quite the same way Bomber did with us :p

  21. Rick Kane says

    Who was coaching the Pies in Round 22 last year against the Hawks?

  22. Dave Nadel says

    Danni, I love reading your stuff on the almanac website and most of your stuff on Nicks (you were much too hard on the “St Kilda schoolgirl”), but at some stage you have to decide whether you barrack for a football team or a few individual players.

    1. Medhurst’s retirement was his own decision. He wasn’t pushed by Mick and actually he was selected for at least two more games than his form warranted. Medhurst’s decline was purely due to his failure to fully recover from injuries. It wasn’t his fault, it wasn’t Mick’s fault and it certainly wasn’t Andrew Krakouer’s. By holding Krakouer responsible for Medhurst’s departure you are missing out on one of the best feel good stories at Collingwood for years.

    2. I have no doubt that Jack Anthony was a good person who tried hard for Collingwood and had supported the Pies all his life but the fact is that he didn’t win the ball often enough. He was never going to get a game ahead of Chris Dawes, Travis Cloke or Leroy Brown. If Nathan had been coach I am convinced his selections on the forward line would have been the same as Mick’s. The move to Fremantle is in Jack’s interest because they only have one forward who is definitely better than Jack (Pavelich)

    While a coach is only as good his players I can’t think of a single case where a side won a Premiership without receiving top quality coaching (Well, maybe Carlton in 1972, but they had had five years of Barassi at his best before Nicholls was appointed). Mick won in 2010 when he had lost in 2002-3 because he had a better game plan (and it was his) and a better team.

    Danni, I love your work but you have to decide where your loyalties lie.

  23. Dave, thanks but i don’t think i’ll be visiting Nicks anymore, got the full dose that i assume Caroline Wilson gets so im just going to leave it at that.
    While it may take me some time, i probably will end up liking Krakouer but right now im still mourning over Medders.
    Medders wasnt just a Collingwood player to me. I used to watch Freo games just to see him play and i remember dancing down
    the year 9 corridoor when i had found out we’d got him in the Tarrant trade.
    I know it was Medders’ decision to retire and that hes probably on tanning on his balcony in Europe as im writing this, but he was so very special to me and its going to take some time for me to get used to seeing someone else wearing his jumper.
    I have nothing against KraKouer personally, he’s just unlucky regarding my feelings that he got the number 7.

    I respect your view in regrads to Jack, but honestly ive got this gut feeling that im right about a possible source of friction between him and Mick. You may think its silly but i seriously think something went wrong. As long as Jack is playing footy and he’s happy ill be cheering his every goal or spoil even if its against us, again a strong attachment although unlike medders i doubt this one will fade.

  24. Last call Danni.

    Just wait till you see what new no 7 can do on field.

    It will be love.

    Cupid Phantom

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