Matthews’ ‘gut feeling’: Members may turn on Pies board over Eddie’s exit

AFL legend Leigh Matthews’ “gut feeling” is that Collingwood members may turn on the current board over their treatment of departed president Eddie McGuire in any vote to settle the civil war which has engulfed the Magpies off the field.

Matthews, who coached Collingwood to their famous 1990 premiership in his 10-year tenure, has voting rights as a life member. Should an extraordinary general meeting be called this year, Matthews on Saturday wondered if members would vote for the best possible board, or strike out the current one due to its treatment of McGuire.

Leigh Matthews. Credit:Sebastian Costanzo

Former Nine boss and AFL identity Jeff Browne announced his push for the presidency and three other board positions, a move rejected by the Mark Korda-led board. An EGM can be called if the requisite number of member signatures is tabled with the club, with member David Hatley having collected them.

Matthews said he may not vote as he believes that decision should be made by diehard supporters, but felt there could be a sizeable group of members who would vote out the current board as a response to McGuire’s departure. McGuire resigned in February after significant controversy for his handling of the Do Better report, which found that there had been systemic racism at the club.

“My own gut feeling is I don’t think that the current board or the new board, whatever Jeff Browne gets together, will be markedly different in terms of what Collingwood need,” Matthews told 3AW on Saturday.

“Collingwood is such a powerful club at the moment and it’s all off the back of [what] McGuire has done over the last 20 years.

“It’s been reported most of the current board, and in the end, largely turned [on] him. That will be enough for me, with my gut feeling, to vote the current board out.

“I just wonder if that elephant in the room [for Collingwood voters] is how the current board had treated the long-time president, who has actually just done such a fantastic job of taking Collingwood into where they are currently.”

Matthews, a four-time premiership player with Hawthorn and three-time premiership coach with the Brisbane Lions, was pressed on whether he might vote in a potential Collingwood election due to how McGuire was treated and would not commit.

“I wouldn’t be voting, per se, for Jeff Browne’s ticket but I might vote the current board out as I don’t like what happened to Eddie.”

“No, I’m just musing a little bit about what my gut feeling would be if I was voting today,” Matthews said.

“I wouldn’t be voting, per se, for Jeff Browne’s ticket but I might vote the current board out as I don’t like what happened to Eddie.”

Matthews also said he wouldn’t have done what Nathan Buckley did on Friday, when the out-of-contract Magpies coach endorsed the current board.

“I would have tried not to,” Matthews said. “But I mean, he’s employed by the incumbent board. He’s between a rock and a hard place. I like to think you would have tried to buy into it as little as possible.”

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