World news – Robbo: It’s a shame Eddie left his own club


He’d give money to a homeless man outside Flinders Street one day and joke about Adam Goodes and King Kong the next.

He struggled with people he’d worked with one day – all demanding and sometimes fierce in his pursuit of excellence – and was best of friends the next day.

He would argue and crucify football media guys one day and then announce that he had no grudges the next.

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Passionate, arrogant, fascinating, and confusing, he would rarely find himself in a room where he never thought he was the smartest of all.

He would listen to you speak, but it felt like he was waiting for you to take a breath.

« Let me just say this … » was his comment – a Caesar-like proclamation in another era; Trump-like in our recent times.

He’s smart, Ed, but also half-smart, a guy who struggled because he had an opinion, was passionate and believed that humor, gags, or spin could break through the most delicate discussions.

Too often in a room where he believed he was king, he did not read the room.

It is a shame, after 23 years as President of Collingwood, where his club and community performances have been immensely brilliant and well executed, that he has not strayed from what he was doing.

The past 10 days are considered a melting pot that McGuire couldn’t get his head out of.

The Do Better report on systemic racism and its response met with enormous and, in some places, fierce anger.

He should then have read the room and apologized with dignity and responsibility and stepped back. He did not do it.

It is speculated that the world was drawing closer to him last Tuesday, ahead of the annual general meeting, when board members openly discussed whether McGuire should step down. He resisted.

The players and staff released an apology drawn up in a meeting without the president. It was brutal symbolism. Still he persevered.

Then, on Monday, the open letter from indigenous leaders and politicians calling for his resignation … well, only Ed knows how this will affect his decision.

McGuire’s slide from « Eddie Everywhere » to « Eddie: What did you do? » started his King Kong commentary in 2013.

Collingwood is also tarred with the « Do Better » review, a document McGuire has been carrying as president for more than two decades.

He wanted to get better, he wanted this season to be out so he could make changes and move the process and direction, but the damage had started.

His followers will call it bullshit, but he had to go. The club needed clear air, and with McGuire still there, clear air wasn’t available.

I would argue that his dedication to his football club goes deeper than any other president in football history.

He would make himself known to anyone associated with Collingwood – « You are part of the Collingwood family » was a fan cry.

He used loyalty and togetherness. He saved Collingwood in the beginning and then rebuilt trust in the Diehard gang, every two million.

Last week, ex-player Chris Egan criticized the club with a social media post about the review and McGuire’s reaction.

How many of these stories may or may not be told? The one about drunken antics or repaid gambling debts or life problems. McGuire was a giver.

He would talk about humanity, justice and respect and his list of Collingwood’s accomplishments in these areas cannot be denied, although self-congratulations can be hollow.

In the end, the King of Spin turned into a mess and he couldn’t twist himself out.

Last Monday, expecting sincerity, personal apology and all-encompassing repentance, Australia got a salesperson who insisted that the sun will shine in the future and not enough about the darkness of the past.

A man with a big heart and love for the game was overthrown Tuesday, which many would find a mystery in and of themselves.


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