Michael Malthouse - The Official Website of Mick Malthouse

My future

25.07.2011 | Posted in Commentary by Michael Malthouse | 25 comments

I will not be at any other club, in any role, next year.

I need to be clear on this, because by saying that I will not coach anywhere else, it seems I have inadvertently implied I may hold another position elsewhere. This is not the case, and I’ll tell you why.

I have a very strong bond with my Collingwood boys.

Yes I had a similar connection with my West Coast players for the decade I was with the Eagles, and so too with my Bulldog troops for the 6 years I was at Footscray, so yes I found it very difficult to leave those people behind when I departed those clubs.

But I’m older now, and with time and age nostalgia sets in. I’ve spent more years at Collingwood than anywhere else, so the thought of saying farewell to these lads, to compete against them, goes against every fibre of my being.

Another reason I object to being linked with any other club is that I can sympathize with how the present coaches of those teams are feeling. I have dealt with that kind of pressure before and I know also that their families wouldn’t be coping well with any hint of a take over.

I’m not that naïve to think that there won’t be a coaching shuffle, as in most years; it’s just not something I need to be involved with right now.

It sends a cold shiver through me when there is even a suggestion that I will replace a current coach.

For people who have never been in this position, it is highly stressful. To have your position threatened and your effort questioned, leaves a knot in your stomach and hits you right in the heart. Your family becomes defensive at the negative talk because they can’t deal with their anguish in any other way. The public scrutiny is horrendous and at times traumatic.

The final reason I won’t be switching clubs is that I have a contract with Collingwood for a further three years after this one, in a different role to my current position. I signed it in good faith that I could continue to help in developing the team and the club beyond my reign as senior coach.

The day-to-day role of Director of Coaching is still being determined, as it is a difficult position to define. Will it be like Mark Thompson’s assistant coaching role at Essendon? He sits in the box on match days and is involved in team selection and game planning.

Or will it have elements of the David Parkin approach with Wayne Brittain at Carlton, where he seemed to have a close mentoring association with his successor?

The answers here are, no. It won’t look like either of these roles.
The Collingwood role basically needs to justify its existence. It needs to help the club move forward. It should make use of my experience and knowledge, as 28 years of coaching practice has provided me with some tips, techniques and methods to pass on.

However, whatever the role becomes, it must provide the club with what it needs to be successful. Nathan Buckley needs to be comfortable and happy with it, as do the rest of the football department.

Most of all, the Collingwood players need to be happy.

For all the talk, the playing group has known and accepted from day one, that Nathan would be their coach at the end of this season. This isn’t the issue and has never been the issue, despite how it’s been interpreted in the media.

Do I still have a passion for coaching? Absolutely! However, attending the Celebration of Life of Allan Jeans at the MCG on Wednesday, I saw that the passion of a coach, that competitive spirit, never dies. It doesn’t leave you; it’s in your blood.

I now need to work out if that passion can extend to the role of Director of Coaching. Without passion I cannot function.

The thought of not coaching does sadden me, but it would still sadden me if the end came in ten years time, instead of this year. As a coach you always face the threat of your tenure ending abruptly. At least I have time to adjust to it.

Speaking and writing publicly about this issue was never high on my agenda, though the thought that constant media scrutiny and speculation could derail our season led me to face the situation head on. Call me naive, but I thought it would help the club to demonstrate that my loyalties aren’t shifting.

My sole focus right now is on the team, and reaching our full potential this season. We need to maximize our start. As of this weekend, we’ve played eight new players from last year’s grand final and I want to ensure they have the same capacity to work within the team structure as their more experienced teammates.

My only focus this weekend is on beating the Gold Coast Suns.

Beyond October my focus will be on my family. We have been on a wild ride for a long time and we all need a short breather.

When I signed the contract over two years ago, personal struggles at the time (a dying mother, a very sick grandchild and a grieving daughter,) gave me a new perspective on things and reminded me of what’s really important. Hearing the family of Allan Jeans speak at his funeral this week, once again reminded me of that.

Courtesy of The Australian.  


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July 25th, 2011 at 9:40pm
Great article Mick
The Collingwood faithful thank you and your family. You have given us a flag and let's hope another. You have also help give the club a future. I hope you will be part of the Pies for a long time.
July 25th, 2011 at 9:55pm
Celeste Matthews
i am really happy that you are staying mick! you are in my eyes irreplaceable and have done so much good for the collingwood fc. i am proud to be a member of such an amazing club with such loyal people like yourself! i know you have said your not going to leave (thankgod) but if you ever do and decide to move on to bigger and better things i wish you nothing but the best! :) <3 go pies!
July 25th, 2011 at 10:00pm
MJ Leaver
Despite knowing only the very professional manner in which you put yourself forward, I've been telling anyone who'd listen all year that I didn't think you would be coaching elsewhere.

Not because I have a great insight into the inner machinations of the club, but because I looked at it from the perspective of a mother. I've seen how you look at, and hold your grandkids, I know how much my Mum treasures the time she gets to spend with them, time she often missed with us as kids because she had to work. It's okay, in fact, it is amazing to be passionate about more than one thing in life - and I think many of the supposedly well informed media pundits forget that for some people, family deserves to take a higher priority some times.

And as a supporter of a football team, I'm fairly well aware that the hours coaches work must be absolutely monumental - and probably make the 40hr working week look like a vacation.

I enjoy watching Collingwood play, but they're not team I support when it comes to the crunch, but nonetheless, I'd still like to thank you for your contribution to football, which I can't wait to enjoy for the rest of this year, and into the years to come.
July 25th, 2011 at 10:20pm
Well said Mick - let's hope everyone (especially the media) can move on and see the Pies win another Premiership this year!
July 26th, 2011 at 6:28pm
Christopher Hunt
Hi Mick,

I am not sure if there is ever a right time to move on and I wouldn’t think anyone has done so comfortably. Even if Neil Craig knows in his heart of hearts it is the right thing to do, it doesn’t mean he made his decision comfortably. Unfortunately to make a change is to take a leap of faith that things will work out, with all the precautions in place the leap is still the hardest thing to do. Unknown Territory has frightened many. Throughout the years you have been known as the Collingwood Coach however you have been so much more. You have been a Father to many a young players, a mentor to those needing guidance, counselled those whom are troubled. Together you have shared times of heartbreak, despair, joy and success on and off the field, and as a result become part of the Collingwood Family and will remain there for life.

Next year you will still be a part of that Family and your importance will not change. Whatever the exacts of your role next year are, they need to make sure they satisfy your passion and the players needs as well. I believe you are still and important part to that team and even though Bucks will be the man they now call “coach” you will and should still remain all those other things that have brought this family together over the years.

As for director of coaching, you’ve been in this business for 28 years, you have a lot to offer and should be allowed to do so, not as the main man, but one of links that holds the chain firmly together. It is a coaching team and you are one of the members of that team too. If this doesn’t satisfy Bucks then he shouldn’t have signed the contract. I would give anything to have you as a mentor in coaching. You inspire people and for the people aspire to achieve what you have done. I am sure things will work out well.

Lastly I would like to thank you for all you have done for the Collingwood football club. From all reports it is one hell of a ride which requires a lot of sacrifice. I cannot thank you without thanking all those around you that helped make that possible. Again, not one sole person ever deserves the kudos for anything alone, a wheel is nothing without an axle. So my thanks is to be passed on to the Michael Malthouse team, only you know whom they are. People are remembered by the legacy they leave behind, Michael Malthouse will be remembered forever amongst the Collingwood Family.

Thank you.

July 26th, 2011 at 6:34pm
Dan Ryan (danmagpie)
Good on you Mick....
I was an Army Officer for 21 years ... you are talking about something that these days (unfortunately) is a lost sentiment and virtue ... it's called LOYALTY

And you have it ....

Bucks and the Club will be even richer for your selflessness.
July 28th, 2011 at 11:05pm
Hi Mick

Death comes to all, but great achievements build a monument which shall endure until the sun grows cold.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Think the efect that Mr Jeans had on you is more than we could ever know my condolences about that and you family tragedy.

When you look back and think about the lives that you have tuched by playing footboall and coaching a warm glow will come from everyone.
August 12th, 2011 at 2:30pm
Nick B
Mick, I can understand your struggle to let go of all you have known for such a long time.

But someone as revered as yourself deserves to go out on top, and set your own record, being one of, if not the only coach to leave the coaching game on the back on 2 flags in a row.

The record of coaches who stay on after back to back, or even three flags isn't flattering. You deserve to leave with back to back as your final send-off.
August 15th, 2011 at 4:15pm
Hi Mick
the opportunity to transition beyond 'coach' will no doubt take you onwards to challenges perhaps not yet so clear. I applaud your principles and sensitivities. It has always been about more than training and playing and therein lies the heartbeat of the club. Thank you.

Having met you
August 20th, 2011 at 12:30pm
Bill Fox
Mick, you've been a wonderful coach of Collingwood and whatever happens in the future, your leadership, inspiration and success will live on. Thank you and keep it up!
August 22nd, 2011 at 12:13pm
Shane Sparrowhawk
Collingwood was on the brink of god knows what before you arrived. You have helped steer the club to a point where we are hated again and not to be pitied and a laughing stock like in the mid-late 90's. You have developed some of the competitions best players and hopefully we can go on and enjoy our 16th Premiership. I truly hope you can find fulfilment in your new role next year. All the best for 2011.
August 25th, 2011 at 10:48am
Janette McGrath
Your Great Man and coach Mick
I hope you are sure, as like a tap you can turn it back on. Not happy about this an all.
I just hope Buckley is not going to do another Mathew Primus. Is he really ready for AFL
God Bless you Mick and your family. Thanks for 2011, I will cherish it for a few years
xo Janette & Family
August 26th, 2011 at 7:18pm
Steve bickell
Mick, mate today i see that little poisoned dwarf who writes rumours and ineuendo for the HS, MIke Shehan, has you leaving the PIes and does not give a shred of evidence in his article. I know you are an hounourable man, a man of your word and bond, and i know you will stay with our beloved Magpies in your new, exciting role as DOC,it sounds like an extremely vital and interesting job for you, and i know you will do very, very well in it, helping our mighty Pies to remain a power for many, many years. Good on you mate, and goodluck to you in all that you do, take care mate. steve.
August 27th, 2011 at 7:14pm
George Lo
Mick, you are a great and honourable man. The media will not let go of this constant speculation about your future and an alleged conflict with Buckley. The reason is simple: this drivel sells papers. Don't let it distract you. The chance for a back-to-back premiership is now on the horizon. Go for it! I've been barracking for the Pies since I landed in Melbourne in 1978 and I watched you play for the Tigers. Although back in Malaysia now, I still get to watch delayed telecasts of the games on pay tv. Thanks for an incredible ride these 2 years!
August 29th, 2011 at 12:55pm
I wish I'd read this before. (I've long ago cancelled my sub to The Australian). The continuing speculation is irritating, although hopefully not a distraction to the players. Anyway I'm glad I've read it now. Your work and success at Collingwood will be celebrated for generations. I do hope you will be with the club for many years to come, and that we forever get to honour your work whenever the great years of the Collingwood Football Club are discussed. Win or lose this year (hopefully win), you're already a legend. Thanks Mick.
August 30th, 2011 at 2:38pm
I love watching the Pies play, and especially enjoy seeing our style of play being so successful, after some years of developing it.
Thanks for all you've done, Mick. You're a great example to players, coaches and supporters alike.
I'm so pleased that we no longer have the "Colliwobbles" to worry about!
August 30th, 2011 at 3:36pm
Colin Downing
Having been a Magpie supporter since the age of 6 after moving to Australia from the UK I have seen the lows (To many Grand Finals to list) and lived the highs (1990 & 2010 Premierships) but now am frustrated with Media Speculation even now as to where you will be next year Mick.

After reading this article I am sure like 71,000+ other Members your heart is with the Magpies and you will honour the commitment you took with the Club some 2+ years ago. Having joined the Cheer Squad this year I watch you intently at 1/4 and 3/4 time work not only with the players but also the other Coaching Staff be it boot studder, Ass. Coaches, Physio's, Doctor or Nathan Buckley in a professional and harmonious way.

I have always said that you will be at Collingwood until the Contract you have signed finishes, Many have said otherwise and I will point them in the direction of this article perhaps then they will agree with me.

Lets hope you can guide your boys to another Premiership in 2011 and after that help and guide your succesor with your boys to a Premiership in 2012 in your role as Director of Coaching.

In finishing can I say it has been a pleasure to watch you at work with the Collingwood Football Club and I feel it is because of your efforts in the Football Dept we currently have 71,000+ loyal, devoted Paid Up Members!
September 3rd, 2011 at 12:37pm
Emma Connellan
Hey Mick,

Your a great inspiration. I started watching my team the CFC again while living out bush as a way of relating with indigenous students I taught at Wadeye NT. Suddenly I was a true believer again. I watch your comments now every week after the game and I find the way you conduct yourself and the way you relate to your young charges really inspiring. Will miss you next year as coach but I know you will continue to live well and work in a quality way. It is an integrity that shines through and it is beyond football but it sure shines through to the team. It is making weekends as a new mum really something to cherish this year as we look forward to game day. Sorry about last night loss to the cats but again you and by the sounds of it the team have handled it well and are just looking to move on. Go well!
September 14th, 2011 at 5:15pm
You are truly an inspiration Mick. You have given so much to the Collingwood Football Club. Congratulations on a superb career, may it continue at Collingwood if that is your desire.
September 18th, 2011 at 4:05pm
Mick.When Yabby gave it to you straight all those years ago I bet he had recognized your talent and just "knew" you needed to go elsewhere to develop it.I have maintained for years since watching you play for the Saints (I'm 3 years younger than you) that one day it would be good for the club and the supporters if you came back to coach.
If Yabby was alive I reckon he might say "Never say Never ,cause it could come back to bite you on the proverbial :-)
The thing is.Do you want to be a seat polishing director of something or other or the coach of the club that gave you your start and then sent you off to blossom?
StKilda under Ross did exceptionally well but I think we need you at the helm to build a new team with legs.
Please ask Eddie to let you go and come on home.
September 23rd, 2011 at 3:05pm
Mike Eastman
Mick, during your 28 years of coaching the game has changed dramatically both on and off the field. You have been instrumental in these changes and Collingwood Football Club is the benefactor.
I am positive your loyalty to Collingwood has rubbed off on many of the present players.
Hopefully in 8 days that "player loyalty" will reward you, the Club, and our supporter army with the 2012 premiership.
Your transition from "super coach" to DOC will be succesfull, and a benchmark for success which other clubs will follow.
I thankyou and your family for allowing us to share part of your success.
September 27th, 2011 at 12:52am
Mick, the best of luck for this coming Saturday. As a long time Collingwood supporter I admire everything you have done for the team, the supporters and for AFL. Among other things, I admire your courage, determination and coaching skills. Win, lose or draw this weekend, in my eyes you are a winner. Thank you for everything you have done for Collingwood. You are a champion.

Best wishes
September 12th, 2012 at 3:02pm
Thankyou, Thankyou, Thankyou,
As a passionate blues supporter we are blessed to have you on board at our famous club!!!
And to you PieMan
Just remember it was your Ballon-Head president that manufactured this stupid deal to get rid of the best coach in the game at the moment!!! so if you want to talk about betrayal, take it up with Eddie Mclostthebestcoachweeverhad!!!
September 16th, 2012 at 7:05pm
You will do Carlton proud as you did us at Collingwood thankyou and blessed be
August 17th, 2014 at 7:22pm


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