Eddie McGuire has eluded to private support he received from within his former football club leading up to his resignation as Collingwood president in February.

The divisive media mogul made his return to TV on Wednesday night after reportedly going radio silent following his decision to resign after 23 years at the club.

McGuire admitted the circumstances surrounding his departure left him "very, very sad" when he returned to host Footy Classified on Channel 9.

The 56-year-old left figures close to him concerned about his health and wellbeing last month after reportedly losing support from sections of the club's board of directors following the conclusion from the club's internal investigation that the club was guilty of fostering "systemic racism".

At the release of the so-called "Do Better" report McGuire was widely criticised for his "trainwreck" press conference in which he declared the occasion a "historic and proud day" for his football club.

Just a few days later, McGuire's reign as the club's president was over..

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Collingwood President Eddie McGuire leaves Collingwood. Picture: Alex Coppel.
Collingwood President Eddie McGuire leaves Collingwood. Picture: Alex Coppel.

McGuire addressed the rumours that have surrounded his exit on Wednesday night, hinting that he had more support from figures within the club than what was made public.

McGuire also appeared to suggest his notorious "proud day" comment was shared by Collingwood director and Djap Wurrung/Gunditjmara woman Jodie Sizer, who sat alongside McGuire as the club's integrity committee announced the findings from the investigation.

"When I spoke with the other directors before we went out, (Collingwood board member) Jodie Sizer was very strong on the fact that we should take hold of this and be proud of where we're going," he said.

However, he softened his language surrounding the comment later in the segment.

"I'm not laying any blame to anybody and please don't think (that) when I said Jodie Sizer before, I wrote the thing, I said what I said," he claimed.

The comment came after McGuire declared he won't rat on his former colleagues in the face of suggestions from co-host Caroline Wilson that McGuire had been forced to exit the club because senior board members Paul Licuria and Peter Murphy had "turned on" him.

 

Eddie McGuire, Jodie Sizer during the “Do Better” report announcement. Picture: Jake Nowakowski
Eddie McGuire, Jodie Sizer during the “Do Better” report announcement. Picture: Jake Nowakowski

He said he strongly doubted any suggestion sections of his own board had leaked the "Do Better" report to the press, resulting in damaging headlines about the club's history of "systemic racism".

He said he has a "fair idea" of who leaked the report against him.

"I'm not answering any questions on that," he said.

"I'm not on a witch hunt."

He said earlier: The last thing I'm ever going to be is a rat on people at the Collingwood Football Club.

"I'm going to go and barrack for the 'Pies, I'm a Pie till I die. I love the club and I love AFL football, and I want everything to do well.

"I'm not one of those people that walks away hoping there will be schadenfreude and everything falls on its head, quite the opposite."

He also suggested he had more support from within the club than what was made public, claiming to have told figures not to speak out in support of him while the scandal was swirling in the days before his final press conference.

 

Eddie McGuire is Collingwood to the end.
Eddie McGuire is Collingwood to the end.

"It's such an emotional topic and a lot of people wanted to step forward and I said don't," he said.

"That's not because I'm a martyr, it's because we want to go forward."

He confirmed he was emotionally struggling in the period following his resignation

"Of course I was sad," he said.

"I was really, really sad and it affected me greatly, but I'm OK because you get up, you dust yourself off and you go again.

"It was the hardest day of my life outside of personal tragedies.

"It was something that meant so much to me. It was the right thing to do, I accepted the responsibility."

McGuire's personal situation reportedly left bosses at the network still worrying about his involvement in the show right up until the last minute.

McGuire also has regular hosting commitments with Fox Footy during the AFL season.

The footy network earlier this month also set up contingency plans to replace McGuire for the opening rounds of the 2021 AFL season, beginning on Thursday night.

His involvement with Fox Footy this weekend has not been confirmed publicly.

 

Eddie McGuire facing the music after the “Do Better” report.
Eddie McGuire facing the music after the “Do Better” report.

McGuire said in his emotional press conference after announcing his resignation that he intended to take a break away from his busy schedule, having also last year ended his Triple M Breakfast show in Melbourne.

However, The Herald Sun reported earlier this month there were serious concerns from those close to McGuire about his withdrawal from his usual social connections.

The report claimed figures close to McGuire believe he was in a "very bad way".

During his final speech as Pies president in front of Pies players and staff, as well as his family and reporters, McGuire said "with the indulgence of my media partners, I'm going to take a break for a little while to regroup and heal".

Now he's back.

 

 

 

 

Originally published as Eddie says he's no 'rat' after demise



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