Could these be the words that Nathan Buckley really did not want to hear?
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire on Wednesday morning came out in passionate support of the embattled coach, who has come under mounting pressure as the Magpies continue to rack up the losses, including an 18-point Anzac Day defeat to Essendon on Monday. The Pies now sit 13th with a 1-4 record.
Taken at face value, McGuire’s words would be reassuring. But any sporting buff can tell you history is littered with cases of staff being sacked shortly after receiving “full support” from higher powers.
But McGuire insisted on his Triple M breakfast show that Collingwood would not be panicked into sacking Buckley after a poor start to the season
“Every time I’ve looked for Nathan Buckley as a player, as a person, as a coach he has never let me or the Collingwood Football Club down,” McGuire said.
“Any time he has been required to step to the line he steps, and he steps forward before you even ask him to.
“There has been no greater servant … There is no better person to have our club’s future in his hands than Nathan Buckley. He will do whatever his required to the best of his ability.
“The results will come and the results will be decided upon and action will be taken because no person, whether it is the president or the coach or a player or anybody, is bigger than the club.”
With the Pies set to play the unbeaten Geelong on Sunday, McGuire said he was looking forward to the club’s challenge because this was “the time for Collingwood to grit down, to stand for what this club is all about”.
“This is where the DNA of the Collingwood Football Club is all about and I’m not just saying this as a speech or feel-good or whatever. This is what is inside my marrow. This is what Collingwood is all about,” McGuire said.
“Yeah, they are all surrounding us at the moment. We are the scum of football at the moment, as we were 125 years ago, when we were the scum of Victoria in the depths of the Great Depression and we stood side by side. And that’s what I expect from our players and our supporters. And we will rally together. Whether we get the results, time will tell.
“But I tell you what we won’t do, we’ll never give up, we’ll never dog it, we won’t turn on our own. We won’t decimate people who give to the club day in and day out and over tens of years we don’t turn on our people, we stand side by side.
“We don’t get spooked by headlines, we don’t get spooked by people who celebrate one day, dance on your grave the next. We know what it is all about. This is a club that has endured for 125 years, not because we flip flop in the wind when it gets tough.
“So we will get stuck into it. We will see Geelong on Sunday. MCG. Sunday afternoon. We’ll be right to go and our players will give it our best shot. Geelong are a great club, they might beat us but I tell you what – it will be the spirit of Collingwood that will be tested on Sunday afternoon. I hope like hell that we get up and win.”
Buckley last year admitted there was little chance he could hold onto his job if the team did not make the finals, but McGuire said he had not yet written off the season.
“This time last year no one expected the Bullogs to win the premiership either but they did,” McGuire said.
“Things change quickly. You look at Richmond, (they) got two players into their midfield and suddenly it starts to go for them. Things can turn quickly if you can get the right mix.”
Meanwhile, Pies vice-captain Taylor Adams said it hurt to see the growing burden of pressure placed on Buckley.
“He won’t get sacked, that is absolutely not going to happen,” Adams told RSN radio on Wednesday.
“The way he carried himself around the footy club leading up to the game and post game was exceptional.
“He handles it so well but he is only human.”
“We back him as a coach, we back his whole coaching group and I know the board is exactly the same.
“The actions that are happening on game day – it has nothing to do with the game plan, it has nothing to do with the coaching staff because they are putting in a million per cent each week and doing their best to make sure we win games.
“I try not to let it affect me too much but it hurts me to know what he is going through.
“It would be nice to see some of the pressure relieved from him.”