Eddie McGuire has announced he will step down as Collingwood president at the end of 2021.
McGuire was re-elected for a further three-year term in February.
But a tearful McGuire announced during a fan forum on Monday night that he would step down at the end of next season.
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.
McGuire became president of Collingwood at the end of 1998, and he earned the “Eddie Everywhere” moniker due to his prominent role in the media and outspoken opinions.
During his time in charge, McGuire ensured Collingwood remained one of the competition’s heavyweights.
On the field, the Magpies have won just the one flag under Maguire’s leadership – in 2010 – but they also made grand finals in 2002, 2003, 2011 and 2018.
McGuire played a key role in appointing Mick Malthouse as coach ahead of the 2000 season.
Malthouse led the club to eight finals campaigns in his 12 seasons in charge.
But controversy reigned when McGuire orchestrated the coaching handover from Malthouse to Nathan Buckley in time for the 2012 season.
The transition was far from smooth, and Malthouse left with a chip on his shoulder.
McGuire’s tenure is the third longest of an AFL president.
He said that he had intended to make his call earlier in the year.
“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.”
McGuire has never been far from controversy throughout his tenure, especially given his prominent role in the media.
Calls were loud for McGuire to resign in 2013 following an off-air gaffe when he suggested Sydney’s Indigenous star Adam Goodes be used to promote the musical King Kong.
The comments came just days after Goodes was racially abused by a Collingwood fan at a match.
In 2016, McGuire apologised for making a joke about drowning journalist Caroline Wilson.
McGuire managed to survive each controversy, and he will be aiming to finish his tenure on a high in 2021.