Jeff Browne launches Collingwood Magpies takeover

Collingwood are set for a messy boardroom battle after former president Eddie McGuire’s close friend Jeff Browne announced his intention to become Collingwood’s president.

It’s been a dire season on and off the field for the Magpies, languishing in 16th on the ladder with a 2-9 record, but it’s been off field that the turmoil has been in full swing.

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McGuire quit in February after 23 years at the helm amid the fallout of the “Do Better” report into “systemic racism” at Collingwood, having earlier revealed he intended to step down at the end of the 2021 season.

He was replaced by 14-year board member Mark Korda, but just over a month into the role, he is already facing a challenge.

Korda was facing an immediate backlash when in the last fortnight, rumours began to spill out about an immediate takeover bid from Browne.

Amid the leadership challenge questions late last month, Korda told 3AW’s Mornings with Neil Mitchell that “Eddie is on the record that coups aren’t good for football clubs”.

“Why would Eddie want to tear down his own legacy?” Korda said when asked if he believed McGuire was behind the reports of board instability.

Mark Korda – current Collingwood AFL president.Source:Supplied

“Eddie has always put Collingwood first. He resigned in February because, as he said, Collingwood needed clear air. Five directors are on the board that were with Eddie so why would he want to do that for his own legacy?”

Korda said he had spoken to Browne at the time, saying “he understands coups aren’t in the best interests of football clubs either”.

‘Days are numbered’: Coup launched

But on Tuesday night, The Herald Sun’s Michael Warner reported that Browne was launching a takeover bid.

Browne reportedly told the paper that he would seek to negotiate a peaceful handover and demand four of the seven seats on the board.

“Collingwood is a great club and strong and united leadership is critical if we are to move beyond our current malaise,” Browne said.

“There is a growing wave of support from members for change and this change must begin with a refresh at board level.”

If the negotiations fail, the ticket is set to wait for an Extraordinary General Meeting to be called by the members.

Jeff Browne was the AFL’s legal adviser for 21-years before becoming Channel 9’s executive director.Source:News Limited

“That’s going to bring everything to a head,” AFL 360’s Mark Robinson said of the breaking news.

“He’s an interesting figure, Mark Korda. Jeff Browne says in Mick’s story that he went to Mark and said ‘you know, I want to come on the board’, and Mark Korda said no. Then they put someone who’s ineligible to vote on the board.

“Then Mark Korda writes an interesting open letter to members in the Herald Sun, which I don’t think hit the mark. I actually thought it completely missed the mark.

“It’s only my opinion – but Korda’s days are numbered. I think if he doesn’t agree to what Jeff Browne wants, the club will be blown up, they’ll go an EGM and I think they’ll all (the current board) be swept out.”

Collingwood’s boardroom soap opera

The drama really came to a head when billionaire businessman and Collingwood vice-president Alex Waislitz announced his immediate resignation from the board last month.

New director Bridie O’Donnell was slammed after old images in a Western Bulldogs jumper emerged, sparking questions over her eligibility to serve on the board as she had been a member for less than two years.

The Collingwood Football Club Constitution’s clause 30 (a) states: “No member shall be qualified for election as a member of the board unless he (or she) shall have been a member of the club for at least 24 months immediately prior to nomination.”

She had her voting rights removed until the Collingwood AGM.

At the time Korda was installed as the club president, Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley’s manager Craig Kelly endorsed Browne to take the presidency.

Eddie McGuire and Jeff Browne at a David Jones new store launch in 2010.Source:News Limited

Speaking on Fox Footy’s AFL 360 when Korda was promoted to the Pies’ top job, Robinson claimed there was “absolutely no chance” McGuire wanted Korda to be chosen as his successor.

“There’s some forces gathering around him and he knows about it. He knows who they are, there is a big push for Jeff Browne. This is really intriguing,” Robinson said.

“For those who don’t know … one of Jeff Browne’s best mate is Eddie McGuire. Eddie McGuire was tiptoed in a lot of ways by the board which included Mark Korda and Peter Murphy.

“You reckon Eddie McGuire wants Mark Korda or Peter Murphy? There is no chance. Eddie McGuire wants one of his best, best mates. Absolutely.

“It hasn’t been announced publicly, but Eddie McGuire is in the Jeff Browne camp.”

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