Former Collingwood president Eddie McGuire says he has no regrets over the club’s infamous coaching succession plan that soured the relationship between Nathan Buckley and Mick Malthouse.
McGuire was at the helm when he, Buckley and Malthouse agreed on a five-year plan in mid-2009, which would see Malthouse remain the senior coach for two more seasons.
Malthouse was supposed to hand the reins to Buckley at the end of 2011 before becoming Collingwood’s director of coaching in 2012, but left the club and joined bitter rivals Carlton instead.
Despite the pair falling out and Buckley declaring that he was now an “enemy in (Malthouse’s) eyes”, McGuire defended the decision on the day Buckley announced that he was stepping down as Collingwood’s coach.
“We wanted to bring Nathan Buckley in because we all believed, including Mick Malthouse, that he was the next person to come in,” he told Nine’s Footy Classified.
“We wanted to get him in while the club still had some momentum so that a young coach doesn’t get slaughtered because he’s got a team that’s either on the downward or rebuilding.
“We wanted to get him in there, and then we rebuild and we did that in a period without any advantages or anything else like that.
“Mick agreed that he was finished because he signed the contract. Mick was supposed to be there for five years, he stayed for two and he went elsewhere.
“What we decided to do (in 2009), was not what ended up happening over here for a number of different circumstances, but it was the right decision on both counts.
McGuire’s comments follow Malthouse himself suggesting that Buckley forced him out of the club at the end of 2011, when the club had made a grand final.
“The idea was to have a coaches’ director, but he didn’t want me in the box, he didn’t want me on the bench and he didn’t want me talking to his coaches,” he told AFL Media back in 2019.
“So it’s very hard to be coaching director if you can’t have access to the coaches. I thought if that’s the way he wants it – it was contrary to what we’d agreed to – I respect the coach and what he wants to do.
“You don’t want to be encumbered by something you don’t want, so it was best for me to leave.”