Ten and Seven look like snaring the AFL rights, Collingwood lost their first two games, and Desperate Housewives clobbered Who Wants to be a Millionaire by an astonishing 1.4 million viewers on Monday night.

It
doesn’t get much worse for Eddie McGuire and he obviously woke up with
a headache yesterday morning when the Magpies imposed an indefinite ban
on Channel Seven attending Collingwood press conferences. The ban might
not survive longer than this morning’s Nathan Buckley press conference,
but it was revenge for this hard-hitting story on Today Tonight
last Friday claiming that Australia’s most famous football club had
left a $10.7 million clean-up bill for the council after handing back
the keys to Victoria Park. The Herald Sun ran it as the second biggest sports story and even Strewth gave it a run in The Australian.

Today Tonight certainly didn’t hold back on Eddie. Reporter Glenn Conley knows how to beat a story up from his days on A Current Affair, and
labelling the hallowed former Collingwood home ground “Pig-sty Park”
left the viewer in no doubt where Seven was coming from.

Eddie
and Collingwood have been all over the place trying to defend the ban.
First they alleged that Collingwood wasn’t given an opportunity to
respond to the story. When TT executive producer Neil Mooney
told ABC Radio’s Virginia Trioli he was prepared to release the Telstra
records showing a call was placed to Eddie’s secretary at 2.26pm last
Friday, the spin quickly changed to a claim that TT should have contacted Collingwood CEO Greg Swann.

Come
off it. Everyone knows Eddie McGuire is the public face of Collingwood
and prides himself on returning calls to journalists. It was Eddie who
was on 3AW this morning claiming TT should have called Greg Swann, and it will be Eddie who will attack Seven tomorrow night on The Footy Show.

It’s a case of Eddie versus the world at the moment as The Age’s lead sports story was Brisbane President Graham Downie calling for him to be banned from calling Brisbane games because of his inherent bias.

Collingwood
has been fighting with its council landlord for most of the past 100
years but the current blow-up is interesting because Labor is presently
in control of the City of Yarra after the term of Victoria’s first
Green mayor, Greg Barber, ended last November.

Eddie cultivated
a cosy relationship with Barber’s Labor predecessor, Sue Corby, and
many observers expected his solid Labor connections (brother Frank was
a press secretary to John Cain) would keep a lid on any public stoush.

But
the City of Yarra is a hotbed of infighting and scandal at the moment
after the budget blowouts of Green control, and last year’s election to
council of communist Stephen Jolly – the man who led the famous
protests against the Kennett Government at the Richmond Secondary
College in 1993.

The two main council committees met again last
night and Jolly’s forces caused bedlam at Collingwood Town Hall last
week during a community meeting to debate the proposed Banco
development in Smith Street, Collingwood.

Labor mayor Kay
Meadows has clearly decided it is gloves-off time with Eddie and
Collingwood, partly for financial reasons as the City of Yarra is
lumbered with a $20 million debt and has the highest proportion of
non-rateable properties in Melbourne with all its inner city housing
commission properties.

Eddie is now facing a PR disaster when all of this could have been avoided by doing the right thing by its landlord.

Peter Fray

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