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Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury is yet to re-sign with the Magpies as the fallout from the disastrous 2021 campaign continues.
It was well and truly a season to forget for the Magpies, who began the year with high hopes but ended up slogging through an arduous season which saw a long list of key personnel walk out the door.
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The year got off to an inauspicious start after long-time president Eddie McGuire stood down amid a barrage of criticism over his handling of the 'Do Better' report, which found Collingwood had allowed systemic racism to take root over several years.
A turbulent first half of the season also saw head coach Nathan Buckley, list manager Ned Guy and head of football Geoff Walsh all leave the club under less than ideal circumstances.
Now, with Pendlebury's future not a given amid reported interest from the Gold Coast Suns, former AFL star Leigh Montagna believes the loss of the club great would be a massively damaging blow.
“It would be soul-destroying if Pendlebury was to leave and we don’t think that would be the case and we hope not,” he told Fox Footy’s First Crack.
“They’ve finished second last and I still think it’s going to get worse before it gets better for the Collingwood football club.
“For me, it’s not an overly enticing list to look at, at the moment. They’ve got a lot of work to do.
“That would be soul destroying. You need to keep your spiritual leader, your best player — probably one of the all-time great players at the club.
“There might be some players they might want to move on but not Scott Pendlebury, you couldn’t do it.”
The premiership player and Norm Smith medallist has played 334 games for Collingwood since making his debut in 2006.
Scott Pendlebury open to switching clubs amid coaching desire
Pendlebury says he is open to offers from rival AFL clubs as he weighs up a one-year contract offer from the Magpies.
The 33-year-old midfielder has his sights set on a move into coaching once his playing days are over and would consider switching clubs if a deal included a coaching component.
"I do have ambitions to coach, I've said that, and I think I've said I'd like to step away from this football club and get some experience elsewhere," Pendlebury said on Triple M.
"Ever since I was 17, all I've known is this football club.
"But I've been on record saying I really do want to be a one-club player.
"Hopefully we nut something out soon ... but if they want to offer me future coaching gigs for a couple of years' time, I'll have a look at it."
Such an agreement would be similar to the one that saw Hawthorn premiership hero Sam Mitchell finish his playing career at West Coast before joining the Eagles' coaching staff under Adam Simpson.
The Magpies are in a state of flux as they continue the search for a new senior coach after parting ways with Buckley in June.
The club's board, led by president Mark Korda, is under pressure amid a looming challenge from aspiring president Jeff Browne.
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