The political turmoil round the Collingwood Football Club continues to construct.
Jeff Browne has declared his intention to turn out to be president. In response, the membership issued a powerful assertion rebuking him – good on them for popping out arduous. It’s the first little bit of real character this administration has proven. Unfortunately, although, scattered all through the assertion are some worrisome rejoinders.
For instance, “coup” has turn out to be this administration’s watchword. Watch out! There’s a coup occurring! First it was supporter David Hatley along with his petition, and now it’s Jeff Browne. The membership appears to assume that in the event that they use the phrase usually sufficient, then they’ll engender sympathy or assist or one thing or different. Me, personally? I’m simply getting sick of the phrase.
Then you have got the sixth paragraph, which reads:
“In any case, there is no vision, no ticket, no compelling strategy for you to consider or for us to step aside for. How could any board entertain a request to step aside without first knowing these things?”
I wholeheartedly agree with this. Well performed, Mark Korda and firm.
At the time this assertion was launched, Jeff Browne and his ticket had expressed none of this publicly.
A couple of days later, Jake Niall wrote an article in The Age entitled, “Magpies challenger outlines coach plan, rejects ‘power and privilege’ gibe”, which featured Jeff Browne speaking about his plans.
Despite the article’s title, Browne mentioned loads however truly mentioned little or no: he rejected that he’s privileged, said that Mark Korda was a part of the administration that oversaw the wage cap debacle (this we already knew), that he couldn’t make a name on Buckley (impartial place) and that in the event that they had been to nominate a brand new coach, they’d undergo a rigorous course of to seek out the finest candidate accessible.
Does that inform you something you didn’t already know? Or which wouldn’t be the accountability of any board? The solely actual perception was that Browne named which three members he’d carry over from the present board (Jodie Sizer, Neil Wilson and Christine Holgate). I think about the motive he disclosed this was to refute the membership’s accusation of an absence of technique.
Of course, so far as providing a imaginative and prescient for the future, Browne’s not beholden to me, the media, or anyone else, so he doesn’t want to inform us a factor. He might need detailed plans that he’ll launch at a later date. But given the data we do have, I wouldn’t be falling throughout this marketing campaign simply but and hailing him Collingwood’s saviour. The solely downside is that, at Collingwood, we do love our messiahs.
On the flip aspect, the incumbent board has additionally supplied “no vision”. Do they stand for something aside from a perpetuation of all the things we’ve recognized? If they don’t, that’s a priority. If they do, effectively, we’d wish to comprehend it – in the event that they’d declared that from the second Korda formally grew to become the lone president, if he’d proven the Collingwood devoted he had a powerful plan to steer Collingwood into the future, then this turmoil would possibly’ve been averted.
But whichever approach you need to reduce it and current all of it, right here’s the factor that not certainly one of the powerbrokers appear to know: the rising unrest in the Collingwood camp shouldn’t be the product of present on-field fortunes, and even an accumulation of missteps over the final ten months.
This has been constructing for over a decade.
I do know there stays a fanatical assist in direction of Eddie McGuire. He saved the membership – that’s the narrative, though two of the cornerstones of Collingwood’s rebuild early in his tenure (shifting the membership to the MCG, and the Emirates sponsorship) he inherited from the Kevin Rose administration, which has by no means been awarded the credit score it deserves for safeguarding the membership’s future. McGuire initially opposed the transfer to the MCG and, in keeping with former board member and creator of “Kill for Collingwood”, Richard Stremski, additionally initially opposed the Emirates sponsorship.
Still, after a spectacular decline in the Nineteen Nineties, the first half of McGuire’s reign did see Collingwood rise in AFL ranks to turn out to be an on and off-field powerhouse, taking part in in the 2002 and 2003 grand finals, repeated finals campaigns and culminating with the 2010 flag.
Unfortunately, in the second half of his reign, McGuire unwittingly oversaw the membership’s unravelling, which started with the succession plan. It hasn’t labored. That’s how easy that is. It hasn’t produced a flag (and shut sufficient isn’t adequate – you possibly can ask a litany of earlier Collingwood grand ultimate coaches about that).
All it’s truly performed is pushed the membership to repeatedly go all-in on Nathan Buckley, like the administration have turn out to be obsessive-compulsive about validating the legitimacy of the succession, and if they’ve to interrupt us all to try this then, by God, they’re going to present it a whirl.
That meant buying and selling premiership heroes out, backing a rebuild throughout a time enlargement golf equipment had been monopolizing the finest younger expertise in the nation, and a four-year exile from the finals. While there may be counters about what Buckley inherited and what he needed to deal with, there are additionally sliding doorways arguments about what would possibly’ve occurred had the succession been postponed or cancelled.
The eventual payoff would’ve appeared to be skyrocketing up the ladder in 2018. Here’s what Collingwood had been constructing to. All the ache would’ve appeared price it. Well, virtually. Since that grand ultimate, the membership’s on-field performances have step by step deteriorated, concluding with the eye-sores we’re witnessing in the present day.
After the Geelong sport, Buckley in some way had the temerity to advocate they had been getting there. Now he’s telling us they don’t imply to be so defensive. It’s simply the approach issues work out. With analytical breakdowns like that, I’m all for this regime! More of the similar, please. Well, possibly not. Definitely not.
Throughout this whole block, we’ve additionally had numerous McGuire gaffes, resembling feedback about Adam Goodes, Caroline Wilson and Cynthia Banham, and some questionable explanations as to why they occurred. All the different membership presidents mixed in the final decade haven’t collectively made as many disastrous and distracting gaffes as McGuire had.
Also, simply final 12 months, we had McGuire come out arduous towards Covid breaches, just for vice-captain Steele Sidebottom to take an inebriated late-night tour; McGuire then doubled down, solely to have Buckley and assistant coach Brenton Sanderson determine to exit for a spot of tennis the very subsequent day. McGuire can’t be blamed for a way personnel let him down, however you’d’ve thought he’d be somewhat extra selective with pronouncements that would come again to chew him.
Then there have been administrative points: Mick Malthouse rejecting the director of teaching place to which he signed, the revolving door of soccer managers, the left-field appointment of Graeme Allan (which drove soccer supervisor Neil Balme out), the large contracts to an ageing and struggling Daniel Wells, in addition to to Chris Mayne, the total checklist administration, the contract back-ending and now this wage cap debacle that smacks of a scorched-earth coverage.
To prime it off, Graeme Wright is hinting that the wage cap points aren’t fairly untangled simply but, regardless of McGuire assuring us on Footy Classified that the cap’s in terrific form. Next, he’ll in all probability declare a very good supply of nuclear energy can be to fireside Chernobyl again up.
Of course, all this has been a part of McGuire’s post-presidency glibness in terms of Collingwood. The newest providing is when he condescended to a involved David Hatley on Footy Classified, like all the things at the Pies was okay, when it clearly isn’t it. How many signs do you want earlier than you diagnose points? If Collingwood had been an individual, they’d be in the ICU.
Moreover, how can McGuire assert that all the things he tried to make sure wouldn’t occur (the political upheaval) is now occurring and but be oblivious to the incontrovertible fact that he and the second half of his presidency – and a lot of the choices he made or oversaw – are massive motivators in all this? This hasn’t simply emerged from nowhere. The iceberg that sank the Titanic was on the market effectively earlier than it got here into view.
Also, how can Mark Korda have the audacity (or maybe it’s simply ignorance) to be indignant that anyone would dare to problem his administration and repeatedly declaim them? And, lastly, how can Jeff Browne count on anyone to leap on his coat-tails after we – the followers – are given zero indication that we’re not simply going to get extra of the similar?
This is what I discover the most galling, and the most disheartening.
I admire each membership goes by way of issues. But Collingwood has had so many over the final ten years, and for what? Two years (2018-2019) of competition with a patchwork checklist? That’s our reward for enduring six years of a painful (and some deem pointless) rebuild, horrible on-field performances and a string of off-field points?
And now we’re being requested to sit down patiently and loyally by way of one other rebuild and ignore all the things that got here earlier than? We’re anticipated to present our unquestioning belief when this period has performed nothing else however elevate questions? Sure. Hand over that Kool-Aid. I’ll gulp it down. No downside in any respect.
Also, if Buckley was driving a cultural reinvention when he took over, the place has it obtained the membership? Jordan de Goey has had numerous indiscretions beneath Buckley’s watch. Jaidyn Stephenson had his betting transgression in 2019. Vice-captain Steele Sidebottom wandered drunkenly out into the evening when strict COVID rules had been in place. Lachlan Keeffe, Josh Thomas and Sam Murray all had drug infringements. At least when this stuff had been occurring on Mick Malthouse’s watch, the staff was successful.
Again, I admire each membership will expertise collective and particular person lapses, however – and throwing in the results of the 2018 grand ultimate – I don’t see something dissimilar to what I’ve seen earlier than with Collingwood. Where is the level of distinction? Why is that this the course we took? What have we constructed however extra of the similar?
And that is the factor – the factor that McGuire, Korda, Browne and every other potential candidate must get by way of their head: this has been a protracted, lengthy, very long time coming. There had been already individuals who desired a recent voice and a brand new path previous to any of the most up-to-date points. But now others have joined the refrain and we’re anxious that extra of the similar is on the horizon. To label us all merely as malcontents is to dismiss a really actual downside.
Hatley continues to make use of the phrase “disconnected”.
The membership doesn’t appear to be conscious that over the final ten years, they’ve made a sequence of choices that systematically however accumulatively divorced themselves from their core supporter base.
They’ve turn out to be a fiefdom in which they govern by their very own legal guidelines, are answerable solely to themselves (if there’s certainly a real accountability), and see the remainder of us solely as vassals from whom they demand an annual tithe.
Well, that type of behaviour was solely going to final so lengthy.
Here we at the moment are: the revolution.
That’s why McGuire was pressured to fall on his sword.
That’s why this petition is circulating.
That’s why Browne has emerged as a challenger.
It’s not a whim.
It’s not about present performances. They’re simply symptomatic of better issues.
And it’s not about change for change’s sake.
Many supporters are sick of what Collingwood’s turn out to be, the mechanisms that had been applied and selections that had been made which drove the membership so far.
If there’s to be a vibrant new future, and if the supporters are to rebuild their belief in whoever leads the membership, then Collingwood – as a complete – must do some soul-searching to work out why it’s come to this, what they honestly need to be about, and the place they need to go in the future.