Back in 2006 Crikey asked, “is it time to dump Eddie McGuire?”
It’s a question we’ve been asking ever since, as more and more of his behaviour was passed off as the harmless gaffes of a regular bloke’s bloke who simply likes to speak his mind. That is until yesterday afternoon when the Collingwood president was finally held accountable.
McGuire resigned as Collingwood president in the fallout from the release of a damning report into systemic racism at the club. Last week, McGuire called its release a “proud day”. It was one gaffe too far.
Eddie has been one of those inexplicably famous men with fingers in every pie for decades — which means he’s provided plenty of fodder for Crikey. We’ve been pissing him off since we were still in nappies.
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In a 2002 Good Weekend feature on this esteemed publication, McGuire had the following kind words to say about Crikey founder Stephen Mayne:
“I wouldn’t even cross the street to give him a backhander — or a writ for that matter — because I don’t want to give him the oxygen he craves. His reputation is of having no credibility and of having dudded every person who tried to lend him a hand.”
There was little love lost. A year earlier, McGuire was the second recipient of the Gold Crikey, for “Media Personality Most In Need Of A Mirror To Have A Good Look At Themselves”.
What rankled us then (and still does now) was McGuire’s conflict of interest: calling footy games on the telly despite being Collingwood president, and appearing to promote his and the club’s commercial interests.
We were so rankled, we even sent a reporter, armed with an alias, to sneak into the Collingwood AGM and badger Eddie.
By the mid 2000s, we even had a name for McGuire: Eddie Everywhere. That’s because back then, Eddie really was everywhere. In 2006, Nine made him CEO for some reason, even though he was a game show host with no discernible business experience.
Eddie Everywhere lasted little more than a year, but he did give Crikey one of our big scoops. One of McGuire’s few acts as CEO was to fire a bunch of people. Much of that dysfunction was documented in an affidavit put together by former head of news and current affairs Mark Llewellyn which found its way to Crikey (which Nine then hastily went to court to block publication of).
Among the more damning extracts were allegations McGuire said he was going to “bone” (which in this case means “fire”) journalist Jessica Rowe. Eddie maintains he said something else — phone, cone or tone perhaps.
Llewellyn is adamant Eddie said it.
No surprises then that in 2007, Mayne said McGuire “has been one of Crikey’s favourite characters over the last seven years”.
Eddie still everywhere
Eddie Everywhere “stepped down” as Nine CEO in 2007, but he kept giving us content because he refused to stop saying extremely nasty things.
When the “Do Better” report was released, and McGuire held that disastrous press conference, we pointed out it was yet more evidence of his “solid form” on race.
It’s little surprise then that in a piece written on the eve of the Pies’ last grand final appearance questioning why Collingwood was the AFL’s most hated club, Eddie McGuire was high on the list of reasons.