Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley has immediately stepped down from his role with the club.
The Magpies confirmed the news they would “part ways” with Buckley with “heavy hearts” this morning.
“Everything has it’s time and the club and I have reached ours,” Buckley said in a statement.
“Graham (Wright) and I have been in conversation consistently in the last few months about what the path forward is for the program and what it needs to progress.
“When it came to the senior coaching role it became clear that a clean slate, for new energies and a new voice, was necessary. So that is what has been decided.
“I’ve loved every moment of my time at the club and in any role I have given my all to it. This program is full of so many great people who are committed and connected to one another absolutely.
“I’ll miss being a part of that but will always feel like a part of me is left with them. I sincerely wish all of the staff, coaches and players every success.”
There has been plenty of speculation about Buckley’s future in recent weeks as Collingwood’s very public boardroom spat since Eddie McGuire’s departure added pressure on the underperforming Magpies and their coach.
Buckley told players and staff in the football department at the club this morning of the news, with next Monday’s game between Collingwood and Melbourne confirmed as his last as Magpies coach.
Collingwood confirmed that after the match against the Demons, Robert Harvey will succeed Buckley as interim senior coach for the rest of the 2021 AFL season.
The club has appointed a five-person panel of Mark Anderson, Graham Wright, football director Paul Licuria, board member Peter Murphy and one more yet to be appointed person, to select a permanent head coach replacement beyond 2021.
Buckley has been at the helm at Collingwood for the last decade.
McGuire stepped down from his position after 22 years at the reins amid the damning Do Better report which found the club guilty of systemic racism under his and Buckley’s watch. Bringing further scrutiny to the club has been the team’s lacklustre performance on the field and speculation over coach Buckley’s future.
The veteran coach was still unsigned as Collingwood limped to a 2-9 start to the 2021 AFL season.
Collingwood’s new president Mark Korda had indicated they intended to wait until the end of the season to determine Buckley’s future. But that stance has appeared to change.
Last week Nine AFL journalist Caroline Wilson stated that she believes Buckley wouldn’t be re-signed, and explained how his future is tied to the controversial coup attempt by Jeff Browne against Korda.
McGuire fumes over links to Pies coup
“I don’t think the current board is now united on whether or not Nathan Buckley should get that new contract and his manager Craig Kelly’s role is pivotal in the negotiation,” Wilson said.
“Collingwood won’t re-sign Nathan and I think the new board needs to come in and look at Nathan for the rest of the year before they make a decision.
“If they do decide it’s time for him to go, then I think it will be a big name that will replace him.”
Collingwood are set to hold a press conference at 11am (AEST) today.
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