‘Calamity upon calamity’ in comical Collingwood leadership spill

Potential new Collingwood president Jeff Browne has been called on to make his intentions known as the club battles “calamity upon calamity” off the field.

The Magpies’ tense situation, which could reportedly see Browne try to take over from recently installed president Mark Korda, descended into chaos on Wednesday when it was revealed new board member Dr Bridie O’Donnell was ineligible for her role.

As reported by Foxfooty.com.au, having not been a Collingwood member for the required 24 months, Dr O’Donnell will hold her role until the club’s next Annual General Meeting which isn’t until well after the 2021 season, but be ineligible to vote.

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It means she won’t have a say in the future of Magpies coach Nathan Buckley.

“This is just calamity upon calamity,” AFL 360 host Mark Robinson said on Fox Footy.

“When you announce that the vice-president’s going, and then you announce we’ve got these new people coming in … and it’s revealed she shouldn’t be on the board.

“Then they’ve sent out a press release saying, nah nah, it’s alright she’s not going to vote. Well, what the hell’s she doing on the board?

“The board’s going to be deciding on Nathan Buckley at some stage. ‘Righto, here’s the recommendation from Graham Wright, do you want to vote Bridie? Oh, hang on, I’m not allowed to vote’.

“Seriously, how does this happen?”

Dr O’Donnell, who is a former elite athlete and highly regarded in the women’s sport space, also received criticism after social media posts showing her supporting the Western Bulldogs AFLW team surfaced.

New Collingwood board member Dr Bridie O’Donnell had previously tweeted her support for the Western Bulldogs AFLW team.Source:Twitter

AFL 360 host Gerard Whateley described part of the reaction, before her ineligibility was revealed, as “mean-spirited” – but agreed the situation was a mess.

“But then once it was clear that the constitution of Collingwood which is unequivocal that you have to be a member for at least 24 months to occupy this position. And then Collingwood just quibbling around the edges, ‘well she is eligible to be on the board, she’s just not eligible to vote’. It posed a couple of questions,” he said on Fox Footy.

“One, why the rush to appoint a board member with full voting rights with a board member who has no voting rights?

“And why would you run a process with 80 candidates, to filter down to the end and choose one who’s not yet eligible? There’s a time when Dr O’Donnell’s expertise will serve them extremely well, and that’s February next year (when she’s eligible).”

Hovering over the situation is the potential for an Extraordinary General Meeting to be called – it requires five per cent of eligible members to give their signatures – and a new leadership team elected, led by former Channel 9 executive and AFL legal advisor Jeff Browne.

Browne is a close friend of former Collingwood president Eddie McGuire, but is yet to officially make his intentions known.

Jeff Browne and Eddie McGuire in 2013.Source:News Limited

According to Robinson, that’s creating a lack of “clarity” for everyone involved.

“Jeff Browne’s got a reason why. Maybe he hasn’t got his ticket together,” Robinson said.

“Maybe he hasn’t got his ducks in a row – because when you come in, you don’t want to be like the attempted Richmond coup (in 2016) where you come in, you get asked a few questions, they all start sweating on stage and the coup’s abandoned after 45 minutes.

“You’ve got to go in with all your ducks and maybe Jeff Browne’s doing that. But I think Collingwood fans deserve a little bit of clarity about what’s going on at their football club.”

Whateley agreed, saying: “And if it’s not going to be now, if you do believe a coup’s a bad thing for a footy club and you are going to bide your time for the AGM, then say that as well. Because this is a wretched period of limbo right now.”

AFL: The Collingwood Magpies had a day from hell both on and off the field, with key forward Mason Cox taken to hospital after a training incident while Mark Korda faces a cha…

AFL: The Collingwood Magpies had a day from hell both on and off the field, with key forward Mason Cox taken to hospital after a training incident while Mark Korda faces a challenge from the board.

On Wednesday evening, McGuire said he was “bewildered” by suggestions he is orchestrating the move of great mate Browne behind the scenes.

“People like to get the clicks and there’s just been people who don’t ring me and ask me to be perfectly honest,” McGuire said on Nine News.

“It’s as simple as this: I was president for 23 years at the club I love, I gave my heart and soul to the place and I stepped aside, and that’s it. I support the Collingwood Football Club, I want it to do well and I’ve got nothing to do with anything.

“We’ve been very good friends for a long, long time, but I’ve got nothing to do with anything that Jeff’s doing as far as anything to do with the Collingwood Football Club.”

New Collingwood President Mark Korda with fellow supporter Greg Tickner. Picture: Rob Leeson.Source:News Corp Australia

He again warned the club from embarking on a coup.

“I don’t think coups are great at all, no, I’ve said that in the past,” McGuire said.

“If there is going to be something then those two men, Mark Korda and Jeff Browne, need to sit down and work out what’s best for the Collingwood Football Club.

“I did do that 23 years ago with Kevin Rose and we came up with a pretty successful plan where we didn’t have an election for 23 years.

“As a result of that, it’s probably the strongest financial club in the league alongside the West Coast Eagles. There’s a lot of good things from stability.”

Originally published as‘Calamity upon calamity’ in AFL club coup

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