Eddie grilled over ‘smart a***’ blow up
Eddie McGuire wasn't expecting to be facing this much heat on Wednesday night when he walked into the Channel 9 studios.
The Collingwood president saw his heart rate go through the roof on multiple occasions and it all boiled down to one simple reason, AFL team memberships and refunds.
As the league navigates through the bizarre 2020 season which came to a screeching halt before the opening round was even in the books, the financial fallout from the coronavirus continues to linger.
Jobs have been lost as the league await a $600m loan to keep the entirety of the AFL afloat throughout these turbulent times. But McGuire found himself in the gun after being asked if fans would be entitled to refunds on their memberships.
When McGuire refused to give a straight answer and was pulled up by Footy Show host Tony Jones during a live interview, the media mogul angrily accused Jones of trying to "get a headline" with a "smart a***" line of questioning.
The heated exchange led into McGuire addressing the topic once again on Footy Classified on Wednesday night where he found himself being pressed by journalist Caroline Wilson.
McGuire suggested in the heated stoush that Wilson had scripted questions ahead of time to make himself "look bad" as he dug in to protect his football club's bank balance.
McGuire opened with an impassioned plea to fans about the game and just what a membership truly represents and how far the money can reach within the walls of a club.
"I've had an issue in recent times about the politics of envy that has been perpetrated by the media against certain areas of this football world. We know everyone is doing it tough. We know that absolutely," McGuire said.
"We are talking about the football world at the moment. A couple of weeks ago it was the greedy administrators, who then took a major pay cut. It was the greedy players, last Wednesday I said this will get sorted out, and it did within two days.
"Tonight Tony, quite rightly asked the questions what about people who might need to get their membership money back? Clearly that is a situation that is there, you ring your club, they will look after you, they always do because the football club is owned by the members.
"If people are doing it hard of course we will look after them, but if there is a run on the clubs, I'll be honest about this, if there is a run on the clubs on the memberships at the moment then we don't have to worry about the $600 million the banks will give us, because it will be all over. Simple as that.
"I ask the media, yes, let's have discussions like we are trying to do here, but don't try and pick hero or zero. People aren't ripping off anybody. It's one in, all in at the moment.
"The entire football world is absolutely aching and that doesn't just mean those who are playing football, running football clubs or the sponsors or anybody else. It is every member, every supporter."
But Wilson wasn't having it and didn't let the president off the hook without hitting him with the question most were left with following his run in with Jones on the news.
Caroline Wilson: Why didn't you answer the question when Tony asked it.
Eddie McGuire: I couldn't get it away.
C.W: He asked it three times and you never said, 'Yes, of course we will give the money back'.
E.M: I said it three times, there was an edit in there Caro. There was an edit in that bit. The point was...
C.W: I think what I saw was the whole exchange.
E.M: If I said ring tomorrow and we'll give all your money back then that's fine and we won't have to worry about having a show next week because there'll be no football. It's a bit like the virus at the moment, we're trying to spread it there. We're trying to say to people who don't need to take there money to not.
E.M: If I could say to you tonight, 'We will give all the membership back because we are right'.
C.W: He didn't say that, he said if someone rang up you would give it back, and you were banging on about the susso workers.
E.M: I was putting it in the context. The Collingwood Football Club was built out of the great depression.
C.W: I can understand his frustration, you weren't answering the question. And there are media people who are getting sick of being picked on by the way. He's got a point.
E.M: Oh boo hoo. Give us a spell Caro.
C.W: It's irresponsible to say that. There are a lot of people who are genuinely hurting who need their membership money back.
E.M: You're not going to get the last line that was nicely scripted ahead of time to make us look bad. We're all in it together, everybody is working hard. We want our members and our supporters to get through this as much as we possibly can.
"You're not going to get the last line in there to make us look bad."— Footy on Nine (@FootyonNine) April 1, 2020
A fired up Eddie McGuire opens up about his earlier blow up with Tony Jones.#9FootyClassified | Watch @channel9 pic.twitter.com/ODO1Tkc3LV
Originally published as Eddie grilled over 'smart a***' blow up