Eddie McGuire rages over Collingwood ‘debacle’ in fiery live TV spat

Eddie McGuire has launched a passionate defence of Collingwood, engaging in a heated debate on live TV as he defended the club’s decision-making in recent years.

The former Magpies president, who stood down earlier this year after a damning report accused them of fostering “systemic racism”, took exception to Collingwood’s list management being labelled a “debacle” and fired up over suggestions it was in a deep hole because of mistakes made in the past few seasons.

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Addressing the intense pressure on coach Nathan Buckley as the Pies slumped to 1-3 following a 30-point loss to GWS on the weekend, journalist Sam McClure told Footy Classified Collingwood has “so many other issues outside of the control of the senior coach” and said its “list management has been a debacle since five years ago”.

Collingwood endured a controversial trade period at the end of last season, losing Adam Treloar, Jaidyn Stephenson and Tom Phillips without gaining anything meaningful in return. It is still having to pay a chunk of Treloar’s salary at the Western Bulldogs.

But McGuire pointed to his beloved footy club making the grand final in 2018, the preliminary final in 2019 and beating West Coast in the first week of last year’s finals series to claim one of the side’s most memorable ever wins as evidence the Pies are hardly the shambles some believe.

McGuire and McClure went head-to-head in a fiery exchange as both men defended their positions.

Here’s how it all played out.

Have the wheels fallen off at Collingwood?Source:Supplied

Full transcript of Eddie’s spat

Eddie McGuire: Hang on, just settle on that. These things are getting thrown out all the time about “debacle five years ago”. You have a team that played in a grand final … a preliminary final, played last year and beat West Coast at home in one of the great wins of all-time, fixed up its situation — at the moment there are 11 clubs who are in as worse situation.

Sam McClure: Eddie, it’s not that much of a negative.

EM: Decisions were made. It could’ve been pushed then or kicked down the road even further.

SM: No, you kicked it down the road a few times. GWS have put themselves in the same position. They had a debacle.

EM: But, “debacle”? How can you say it’s a debacle?

SM: Eddie, you had to trade Adam Treloar, one of your best players.

EM: That’s now. But it wasn’t a debacle to get to a grand final and get within a kick of winning it, getting into a preliminary final and getting within a kick of a grand final, and winning one of the great finals performances of all time as well.

SM: After 2018, you doubled …

EM: … And that’s that list. Now it’s a new one. Now you can have decisions going forward. It’s not a “debacle”, that’s a throwaway line. I get sick of people just making things up and just saying stupid things.

SM: What am I making up? What am I making up?

EM: It’s not a debacle. How is it a debacle when they’ve played in a grand final, a preliminary final and won a final?

SM: You’re taking it as too much of a negative. You got to 2018 …

EM: Too much of a negative? You just said the place was a debacle! How would I take it?

SM: You got within a kick of a grand final, you doubled down on your list. It didn’t work. Now you’re trying to build your way through it.

EM: Is winning a premiership the only matrix of a season being successful?

SM: You got close in 2018 …

EM: You reckon last year wasn’t a successful season for Collingwood, going to Perth with all the things that went against the club and with injuries?

SM: I thought that was a tremendous win.

EM: And the draw and everything else? You don’t stand there and go, “That wasn’t a bad year, we got through that, we were a bit stiff”?

SM: I didn’t say the club was a debacle. I said the list management was.

EM: Well I disagree. I think the list management got us to those positions and has been re-adjusted now.

SM: That’s fine, you’re allowed to disagree.

Jaidyn Stephenson was turfed out against his will.Source:Getty Images

McGuire: ‘I’m jack of it’

Essendon legend Matthew Lloyd then labelled Collingwood’s 2020 trade period “embarrassing”, said there was “mixed messaging” coming out of the club and pointed to a “trainwreck” of an interview given by list manager Ned Guy to explain the exodus of talent.

Still, McGuire held firm.

“I’ll say it again. I think what happened was a lot of players wanted to stay at Collingwood, a lot of players at other clubs were running out down the road,” he said.

“Yeah OK, he (Guy) had one bad press conference. So did I and I’m not there anymore. But that’s how they do things these days, I don’t necessarily agree with that.

“Ned Guy was doing what he was told to do. He was told by the board ‘get it sorted out’ and he and (former general manager of football) Geoff Walsh got stuck into it and did it. It wasn’t pretty in the end, but you know what? There’s been plenty of other times when players have walked out of a club.

“I will cop that it’s untidy and at the moment, they need to win a game this weekend. But I’m jack of people saying, ‘It’s a debacle’ and carrying on.”

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