Collingwood premiership captain Tony Shaw is among the Magpie greats to say they felt sorry for Eddie McGuire and praised him for transforming a club on its knees into an AFL powerhouse.

Shaw said he thought McGuire was a "class act" on Tuesday as he fronted a press conference tearfully announced he would immediately step down as club president.

"He's been great for the game - not just the Collingwood Football Club, but a lot of other clubs with his support of the AFL," he said.

Shaw and goalkicking great Peter McKenna felt McGuire had been "worn down" in the wake of the explosive 'Do Better' racism report.

"I feel sorry for him," Shaw said.

"If you don't like Eddie - or you don't like anybody - you still don't want to see anybody go through that.

"Having gone through it a little bit in the past, I understand the pressure on the family because people come at them and they're horrible people. They're only people with hatred.

"It's worn him down, but I thought he was just a class act today."

 

There was no questioning Eddie McGuire’s passion as Collingwood president.
There was no questioning Eddie McGuire’s passion as Collingwood president.

McKenna said the man who had led Collingwood for 22 seasons as president "doesn't have a racist bone in his body".

Two-time Coleman medallist McKenna sent McGuire a message a few days ago telling him to "keep the chin up" and was very surprised he did not see out the season.

"I said to my wife this morning, 'Eddie will tough it out' but I think he's just been worn down by the whole thing," McKenna told The Herald Sun.

"Eddie's done a magnificent job at Collingwood. He's been very unfairly treated and doesn't have a racist bone in his body - I know that for a fact.

"It's totally overblown that Collingwood is a racist club."

McKenna, who presented the premiership cup to the Magpies in 2010, said McGuire would have wanted to take pressure off the club by stepping down now.

"He'd be thinking of the club and thinking he could take some of the heat off," he said.

 

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Shaw said McGuire's legacy will be that he made turned the Magpies into "a very successful on-field" club.

"He got the one premiership - probably wanted more, and we all did want more, but that's what it is.

"He's made some mistakes but he's been there for 25 years.

"People who are in front of a microphone or in front of a TV like he is for so long, you're going to make mistakes. Even the greats make mistakes.

"If people take joy out of seeing someone like that, all the best to you. You've got the wrong attitude in life.

"If someone labels you something like this, you can't prove that you're not guilty of it. That's what he's had to live with.

"I know Eddie and what's he's done with Indigenous people. His list of achievements, he should have got up there and said them. Because that's what he's done."

 

Collingwood champion Peter McKenna (left) talks with Eddie McGuire during a Magpies training session.
Collingwood champion Peter McKenna (left) talks with Eddie McGuire during a Magpies training session.

 

Retired 2010 premiership player Dayne Beams called on footy fans to "remember the amazing work this bloke has done for the club and football in general".

"Is Ed racist? Absolutely not. Has Ed made some mistakes? Absolutely. Have you? Yes,

you have," Beams posted on Instagram.

"This bloke has always cared about me and my welfare and I have nothing but respect for him.

"He and I have been victim of absolute bullshit rumours like he paid off debts I had etc etc. "He's never paid off anything for me, however, he has been a friend when I needed one and always cared for me and is one of the first to check in."

Beams said he never felt Collingwood was a racist club in his time in the Magpie colours.

"I cannot speak for reports or anyone else's experience but my own I was always comfortable and my observations of all my teammates they were the same," Beams wrote.

 

THE 'MAD' MAN SET TO TAKE OVER COLLINGWOOD

An entrepreneur who lives by the mantra MAD - make a difference - is being touted to become Collingwood's interim president.

Peter Murphy, a member of the Magpies' board since February 2019, has been endorsed by club great Peter McKenna as the best person to take over from the departing Eddie McGuire.

McKenna called Murphy, who founded PAN Group Australia, a great fit not only to fill the void in the short term but permanently.

Collingwood did not announce an interim replacement after McGuire stepped aside on Tuesday.

"Peter's a passionate Collingwood man, he's a down-to-earth person - everything about him I've been impressed with," McKenna told The Herald Sun.

"He'd be every chance to get the job.

"He's very highly thought of down at the club … and he's a good guy.

"He'd be an outstanding president in my opinion."

 

 

 

Collingwood's website describes Murphy as "an entrepreneur and philanthropist passionate about empowering individuals to chase their dreams and change the world".

Murphy is also the global chairman of Global Citizen and a trustee and chair of Collingwood's foundation.

"Murphy distinguished himself as a leader in the corporate world from a young age, and has a strong leadership and management record of high performance across a range of organisations," the website said.

"Murphy founded PAN Australia Group as the combination of decades of work to unlock the amazing potential of people and ideas to affect positive change.

"His mantra is MAD (make a difference), which combines his business acumen with seminal experiences working in communities that face far greater challenges than he ever imagined."

Mark Korda is another candidate to take on the post in the interim and the club may go down that path because he is vice-president.

The Magpies' other vice-president, Alex Waislitz, who is a close friend of McGuire's and has been on the board since 1998, is not expected to be a contender.

Jodie Sizer, who impressed while fronting Collingwood's ill-fated press conference last week in response to the 'Do Better' report, could be an outside chance.

 

Originally published as Pies legends defend Eddie's 'magnificent' legacy



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