Craig Hutchison.Source:News Corp Australia
Craig Hutchison.Source:News Corp Australia

Eddie McGuire opens up on his return to The Footy Show

EDDIE McGuire has addressed his return to The Footy Show, saying although he had been considering the move for a while, the final decision was made so quickly after Thursday night's program he barely had time to discuss his job change with his wife.

It was revealed on Friday the Collingwood president will co-host the program alongside Rebecca Maddern and Sam Newman, while Craig Hutchison has been axed.

"The stars aligned literally in the last 24 hours," McGuire said on ABC radio on Saturday. "There has been discussion over the last couple of months ... but ultimately I got the all clear on Thursday from Fox Footy.

"Then yesterday all hell broke loose after Sam's effort on Thursday night and from about 12.30-2.30 it was all systems go.

"I didn't have time to tell my wife until late in the afternoon."

McGuire also revealed he didn't run his new career path by the Collingwood board before accepting the post.

While the move may have been finalised and announced hastily, the Herald Sun reports it was actually a deal years in the making.

Craig Hutchison.Source:News Corp Australia
Craig Hutchison.Source:News Corp Australia

In an honest assessment of where The Footy Show needs to change, McGuire believes more emphasis needs to be placed on the players who join the program. He said the hosts have been gaining too much of the limelight at the expense of footy stars who regularly appear.

"I think what has happened in recent times is maybe the focus of the show has been more on the left hand side of the panel (where the hosts sit) rather than the right hand side (where the players sit) when I was the host," McGuire said.

"That's what I want to get it back to. I want us to be a conduit to the players to be able to talk to the people who love them and find out more about them."

McGuire said he started contemplating a return to The Footy Show after speaking at the funeral of legendary AFL player and media man Lou Richards, and was confident the chemistry between he and Newman would be a positive for the new-look program

"He and I are firm friends, we have a tremendous on air chemistry and almost mental telepathy," McGuire said.

"We're opposites in so many ways, but at the same time we have a genuine understanding and sense of humour and a real respect for each other."

Herald Sun chief footy writer and co-host of Fox Sports' AFL 360 Mark Robinson said Channel Nine had to act to save The Footy Show because it was a "rotting carcass".

"It was a rotting carcass," Robinson said on SEN's Crunch Time on Saturday. "It has got to be a completely new program, that's why they are going away.

"It will be really disappointing if they come back and they have the three panellists and then have the three hosts sitting over there.

"They've got to come up with new ideas. It got stale."

Robinson said Hutchison wasn't liked enough by the public to keep his position in the hosting chair but also accused Newman of playing a role in his sacking.

Newman delivered a bizarre performance on Thursday night's show that left the public and his fellow panellists baffled as he was largely silent, refusing to answer questions or debate topics raised by his colleagues.

"Thursday night was a public assassination by Sam Newman on Craig Hutchison, a TV assassination, because he drew it all to a head, and they sacked him the next day," Robinson said.

"It was a protest show. It was quite amazing that Sam thinks he is so powerful or knows he is so powerful that he can put in a protest two hours live on a Thursday night around the country."

Newman broke his silence on the performance, giving a strange explanation for his behaviour.

"Suffice to say generally they were worried about what I said and did and that seemed to compromise what I said and did, and I thought I'll probably not exacerbate the situation by saying anything so I didn't," Newman said, per the Herald Sun.

Hutchison, who replaced James Brayshaw at the long-running football program this year, said he was disappointed to be axed from The Footy Show midway through the season but could make no excuses for the at-times low ratings.
"I totally understand and respect the decision yesterday," Hutchison told SEN.

"It didn't go my way and, as a business guy, you couldn't actually argue with the decision.

"I couldn't actually tell you I wouldn't have done the same thing myself. "I wasn't able to win people over, I accept it."
"I take it totally as my responsibility. I just take it completely on board," he added.

"The clear point of difference from last year to this year was me and as a co-host or host, you have to take full responsibility for that.

"I've been around the media for long enough, it's a subjective thing, everyone has an opinion.

"Clearly it's a ratings game, there's a scoreboard everyday. Some people don't like you, some do. I've always been one of those polarising guys, I guess."

Former Footy Show panellist Garry Lyon expressed his sympathy for Hutchison.

"I feel for Hutchy," Lyon told SEN. "He didn't seek the role, he wasn't posturing for the role. It was just handed to him and he said. 'I'll give it a go. If they need me to do it, I'll go and do it'."