Thursday, 18 December 2008

Eddie McGuire Loses It At The Pie's AGM

Last night I witnessed the most disturbing outburst at a stakeholder's annual general meeting ever. It came from Eddie McGuire at the beginning of question time.

Let me set the scene.

While I have not had any business ties with Stephen Mayne for over a year, we have remained friends and share a concern about the harm that results from pokie gambling. As a result of the Collingwood FC's coverage in the Herald Sun we both felt that we should have a presence at their AGM last night. Click here to read the story.

I wanted to speak about Collingwood's pokie performance as a result of my work on I called to enrol as a member provided I could attend and speak at the AGM. I was told this was OK over the phone. I went down to the Lexus Centre to pay up and was told that unless I was a 2008 Social Club member I could not attend. That was the end of my effort to speak as a paid Magpies member.

The restrictions on attending and speaking at Collingwood FC annual general meeting is the worst I have experienced. Every AGM I have been a part of allows members to appoint proxies to speak on their behalf. The vast good that the Australian Shareholder's Association or international organisations such as Risk Metrics do would not exist without the ability to appoint proxies. The 'Pies don't allow proxies.

During the meeting, every time a person wanted to speak they had to state their membership number. At the entrance to the AGM there was a flurry of checking of membership cards and photo ID's.

How did I get in? Went in as press. We were told that we were not allowed to speak. No worries.

After some extensive awarding and reporting, question time began over an hour and a half after the start time and, surprisingly, Eddie began with an emotional tirade about Stephen Mayne.

He mentioned that Stephen had been downstairs handing out leaflets.

True. I helped. The one page flyer asked members to get the Maggies out of the pokie business.

Courtesy of Eddie's full statement is this:
"I saw earlier on that apparently Stephen Mayne of Crikey was handing out leaflets down the front. I will make it very clear that unless you're a Collingwood member, don't even try to get up to the microphone tonight. He did that once before, he lied to us, he tried to humiliate our club, we won't cop that tonight from anyone.."


The events arise from a 2001 AGM where ABC financial journalist Neil Woolrich asked Eddie some questions about his conflict of interests. Click here to read the story. Stephen said nothing.

Anybody asking fair questions is not trying to humiliate the club. It's about making sure that the people in charge are not trying to feather their own nest by virtue of their position with the 'Pies. Last night, I found it fascinating to listen to Eddie deflect questions about the web site by indicating that these problems might be solved if his associated company was still running the CFC web site.

And then Eddie lost it entirely by suggesting that members go to the Collingwood web site and click on as many pages as they could because that's the basis upon which Telstra pays the club.

Here's what Eddie said:
"The other thing I ask is for you to do me a favour, is to click onto the website, click on few pages, even if you reckon it is no good, because we get money by the click. So you can sit there looking out the window, just click away, click away, keep going, click on, click on, click on, pages watched, all that, click it away, maybe getting RSI from putting it on."
Eddie... Isn't it cheating, just a little, to urge members to click on web pages to bump up the $$$? If it was light hearted entertainment, then it was in poor taste. If your interests were running the web site would you be making the same suggestion to members?


Anonymous said...

Only the more financial members can attend the Pies AGM, the poorer season ticket holders are not welcome.

The peoples Club?

Anonymous said...

Actually that is misleading. Social club members can vote. Collingwood Football Club is a Social Club. It may behave like a big business. All football clubs do. But it is a membership club run by its members. A season ticket is a cheap way of seeing matches (which helps the club) but it is not a membership ticket.

Collingwood social club is not a public company and members are not shareholders so Steven Mayne should not expect to walk in to a Collingwood AGM, wave aproxy and speak as he could at a BHP General Meeting.

I am not a great fan of Eddie McGuire's or of poker machines but I am sick of ignorant people making ignorant comments about Collingwood Football Club.

PokieWatch said...

Anonymous was better off staying with his first reaction.

Firstly, it would be simple for the club to stop calling all ticket holders members if they are not truly members.

Secondly, I don't know if Eddie ever called the Pies the 'people's club'. I don't even know if other clubs have different voting practices.

What I do know is that Stephen Mayne does not write this blog. I do.

I know that every public company meeting I have gone to, advised, or have been a director of; allows proxies. The CFC does not.

I know that unless you enrolled as a CFC Social Club member you were not allowed to attend the 2008 meeting unless you had joined as a 2008 member. This disqualified my attending even though I was prepared to pay a full 2009 membership.

This practice is unacceptable in light of the fact that resolutions and discussions at the 2008 meeting affect the CFC in 2009.

Anonymous is right that the CFC is not a public company. Anonymous is wrong to think that the CFC (like shareholders) does not exist for the benefit of its members. As Anonymous states "it is a membership club run by its members" and in the case of the CFC, you have to read the fine print to find out if you are really a 'member' or something less.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.