Eddie to return to Melbourne? Don’t scoff, after the man he appointed to run the floundering GTV 9 in Melbourne, former radio salesman and VFL footballer, Gary Pert, left the network bound for Eddie’s beloved Collingwood.

Despite his reticence last night, saying a statement would be made in the next 24 hours, Eddie could have confirmed or denied the story right then. After all, he is president of Collingwood.

In recruiting Pert, through a search process, Eddie has clearly exposed the conflict of interest between the Magpies and the Nine Network that he has never bothered to do anything about.

It’s not that Pert was a screaming success at Nine: since he’s been there Seven has caught up in Melbourne, especially the news and A Current Affair. Morale has suffered at GTV and the only things Eddie has shown any interest in has been the AFL Footy Show and the Monday night program Footy Classified, which is broadcast in Melbourne and other AFL states.

Pert is leaving Nine to replace Greg Swan ,who committed close to the original sin at the Magpies: he left Collingwood for arch-rivals Carlton! The club’s chief operating officer, Eugene Arocca, was overlooked and Eddie has spent a lot of time and effort getting him to stay, if Melbourne reports are any guide.

So, now, the question is, who will fill Pert’s boots on the half-forward line at GTV?

Could it be that the star-ruck rover from Sydney, the centre man, Edward McGuire, is about to venture south to take on this new but not added duty after ‘retiring’ from his own CEO role at the network?

That way Eddie would save on air fares to Melbourne once a month for the taping of 1 vs 100, the trips to see the Magpies and attend to board matters, and to drop in on his mates on The Footy Show. He has been keeping in touch when in his Sydney office by listening to his AFL mates on Triple M in Melbourne on his laptop.

The option of Eddie making a transfer-fee-free move to Melbourne has come up in the wake of the reorganisation of the PBL Empire into a gambling company called Crown and a media-odds-and-sods company called Consolidated Media Holdings.
That move has made Eddie’s current gig even less important and it is being filled anyway by Ian Law, a man who knows the remote button on his tuner when he picks it up.

Complicating matters is the fact that Eddie’s kids are in school in Sydney and he has bought a house. But he gets $4 million a year (and will get around $150K cash from the split in the $3-a-share cash-back “buy one, get two free” offer).

Eddie has had a long chat to a senior executive at another network about the iniquities of living in Sydney and carrying the can for all the foolish management moves made by his bosses: James Packer and John Alexander.

It was cunning of Eddie to engineer a hole at GTV, now to get JP and JA on board on this one. He knows everything and could have said something last night, if he wanted to. So is he getting his own position in order?

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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