“It really does annoy me”: Blight tees off at Collingwood president aspirant over club funding comments
Australian Football Hall of Fame Legend Malcolm Blight has hit out at Collingwood president aspirant Jeff Browne over comments surrounding club funding.
Browne is likely to be named president later this year after club members vote, with the results to be released at an AGM on December 16.
Speaking to News Corp on Thursday, Browne said the AFL “unfairly limits” the potential of clubs through the soft cap.
“Strong clubs like Collingwood should not be required to hand over any of their hard-won revenue to effectively repair the balance sheets of other clubs,” he said.
“The soft cap is a tax on success. It unfairly limits the right of clubs — and the obligation of club directors — to do whatever is necessary to provide the safest possible workplace for their players.”
Those comments drew the ire of Blight, who suggested Collingwood would not be in existence if Browne’s philosophy has been in place through the years.
“Every club in their history has suffered the bad times, including Collingwood, and have basically been carried by the competition,” Blight told Sportsday SA.
“The Tigers rattled the cans, Hawthorn and Melbourne merger talks, the Bulldogs were going to shut the doors, Port Adelaide got into trouble, in fact, the Collingwood football club was carried by the likes of North Melbourne and Hawthorn during the bleak times in the 1970s.
“Maybe, if they had listened to the richest then, in North Melbourne and Hawthorn, Collingwood might not be in existence.
“I would suggest to Jeff Browne that he get his own murky house in order before throwing darts at others.
“The recent past at the Collingwood football club has shown it needs to focus on its own performance, not worrying who has the biggest bank account.”
Collingwood suffered an inconsistent season that saw coach Nathan Buckley sacked after round 13 and a 17th placed finish.
Having been involved in the AFL in multiple capacities since 1974, Blight said it would be “naïve” to think another method could work, accusing Browne of “vote chasing” before the election.
“It really does annoy me that, they don’t understand that the whole thing is a competition,” Blight continued.
“I know Jeff, he’s been around the scene a long time and to come out with that garbage prior to an election for him to be president means he’s got his mind on other stuff.
“I’ll repeat, get your house in order first.
“For a bloke that’s been around the football world, I find it really naïve.
“Is it vote chasing? That’s the only reason you could be doing it.”
Former president Eddie McGuire stepped down in February among the club's issues exposed in the ‘Do Better’ report, with Mark Korda assuming the position until December's AGM.