Lawyer and former Collingwood director David Galbally, AM QC, has been one of Eddie McGuire's most outspoken critics, having slammed the 56-year-old's reign as Collingwood president earlier in the year.
So it perhaps comes as a surprise that Galbally has admitted the enigmatic media personality will be "difficult" to replace when the Magpies go in search of a new president.
McGuire was re-elected for a further three-year term in February but confirmed that he would end his long association as the Magpies' president at the end of 2021.
He fought back tears as he addressed a fan forum on Monday night, signalling his intention to step aside as Collingwood president after next season.
Eddie McGuire has announced he'll step down as president at the end of 2021.
Watch the emotional address at the 2020 Member Forum on Monday. pic.twitter.com/44TS3a3EmW
— Collingwood FC (@CollingwoodFC) December 14, 2020
"I have given everything I have to this position and now it is time for the club going forward, I will stand down at the end of next year and spend the rest of my time as president setting up a new era of Collingwood," he started by saying.
McGuire's position had come under increased scrutiny in recent weeks following the Magpies' messy trade period in which they shed a host of stars for mostly bargain-basement prices due to salary cap issues.
The biggest switch was that of gun midfielder Adam Treloar to the Western Bulldogs, with Collingwood reportedly set to supplement $1.5 million of the new contract over the next five years.
Galbally, who served on the Collingwood board from 1974 until 1983, said just last month that McGuire had "lost the plot" and insisted that the Magpies needed a new man at the helm.
However, the leading lawyer denies any suggestions that his comments may have influenced the decision of McGuire, who brushed them off at the time.
“I don’t feel responsible at all. Eddie is his own man. He would have made up his mind,” Galbally said on 3AW.
“He would have considered all sorts of different things, not the least of which would have been the stage of education with his family. That’s what he would be looking to - I wouldn’t have had an influence on him at all.”
Magpies president ‘difficult to replace’
Although the former Magpies director won't be sad to hear that McGuire's 22-year tenure as club president is coming to an end, he does admit that replacing him will be hard.
“Whoever does has got to have a very good understanding of how to look after sponsors without going over the top - he will be very difficult to replace in that sense,” Galbally said.
Galbally says he believes Mark Korda - who is one of Collingwood’s two vice-presidents - would make a sound replacement if given the opportunity.
“Mark Korda is no dill, he’s an eminent accountant and would be very good as president. He’s been there long enough and he knows the history of the club under Eddie and knows where the club should be going," he added.
McGuire was appointed Collingwood president in 1998 and his tenure is the third longest of an AFL president.
He said that he had intended to make his call earlier in the year, before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
"COVID put paid to many finely laid plans," McGuire said.
"In conjunction with the change of direction in my media life and the timing of my son's schooling ending, the time is right and the future is strong for our club and for me to make this call.
"My passion and love and energy for Collingwood remains undiminished. My care for the competition remains deep and abiding.
"There will be more appropriate forums to thank people and I will extrapolate on my love for the club in due course.
"There will always be a reason to go on, another idea, another campaign, another battle. But in due course it will be with another president.
"As always, floreat pica, may the Magpie flourish."
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