An emotional Eddie McGuire has paid tribute to outgoing Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley, revealing his message to the club legend after his bombshell announcement.
After months of speculation, Buckley and Collingwood announced that the pair would be parting ways after the Magpies’ Queen’s Birthday clash against Melbourne, leaving a gaping hole at the football club.
Buckley’s departure comes just months after McGuire also resigned after his own 23-year reign as Collingwood president, leaving the club without two of its long-time figureheads.
McGuire admitted that Buckley’s departure was not “unexpected”, but paid tribute to the job he had done as Collingwood coach since taking over at the end of 2011.
“To be honest, I was very emotional,” McGuire told Nine News Melbourne.
“It is the end of an era for one of the greatest Collingwood people of all time. I remember years ago being told that Jock McHale thought Bob Rose was the greatest player he saw, and Bob Rose thought that Nathan Buckley was the greatest Collingwood player he saw.
“He has been a guy there for 28 years who has given his heart and his soul to the club, every sinew he had in his body for the betterment of the club and for everybody around it as a player and as a football coach.
“To see Nathan finish today, but to do so with the elan and the sophistication and grace that he’s always shown and with his absolute commitment to the betterment of the club was something to me that wasn’t unexpected but at the same time very emotional.”
McGuire said he had shared a phone call with Buckley after his departure was made official in a club press conference on Wednesday morning.
Buckley steps down as Collingwood coach
“He’s sometimes hard on himself, Bucks,” he said.
“People thought he might’ve been too hard sometimes as a player, but I re-iterated to him that as far as I was concerned, he was looking for a level of professionalism that should have been the bench mark, not the high-water mark.
“That’s what he always did, he tried his best every single day at every opportunity he could for the Collingwood Football Club, and again today, he goes out in the glory that he deserves.
“He didn’t get the premiership that he probably deserved, but plenty of good people miss out on the ultimate prize.
“He has left an indelible mark on the Collingwood Football Club and AFL football in general.”