Former AFL great Kevin Sheedy has taken a dig at Collingwood ahead of their clash with his former club Essendon at the MCG on Sunday.
The four-time premiership coach emphasised how the Pies have moved away from their working-class culture, singling out president Eddie McGuire and coach Nathan Buckley for living in Melbourne’s deluxe suburb of Toorak.
“I have noticed a few things that have me deeply worried about Collingwood — the coach and the president are Toorak Cowboys,” Sheedy told The Herald Sun.
“They (Collingwood) have made a land grab, they think they own the MCG now, which is pathetic from a club that (has) won only two premierships in the last 50 years.
“The demographic has changed in Collingwood, the landscape has changed.
“A good working class town like Essendon hasn’t changed, and I’m talking about the Keilor area, and Ascot Vale, where there are some pretty tough people.”
In response to Sheedy’s remarks, McGuire atypically stood up for the Magpie army.
“I love Sheeds, but we (Collingwood) have won more asterisk-free premierships than any team,” McGuire told The Herald Sun.
“Don’t forget Essendon walked out on the MCG.
“When the stands were being built, only Collingwood stood by the MCC. Richmond (sold games) to Cairns, Carlton and Essendon (went) to Etihad. Melbourne (went) everywhere.
“That’s why it’s called the Magpies Collingwood Ground. The people’s ground for the people’s club.
“The others are tenants. Collingwood is a partner!
“We sat through the re-building of both sides of the ground and paid for it. That’s why it’s our ground.”
Sheedy says the Bombers have finally started to develop chemistry and can knock off Collingwood amid their injury crisis.
“It’s a great chance for Essendon to win a crucial finals-style (game),” he said.
“The Bombers are just starting to get comfortable playing with each other, and that’s a good thing when you realise it is Round 16.
“They are getting on a roll at the right time, just like we did in 1993.
“I reckon they can still make the finals, and cause a bit of havoc on the way there.”
And Sheedy said Essendon recruit Jake Stringer still has tremendous upside, labelling him a “dangerous asset.”
“He (Stringer) still has another 30 per cent improvement left in him … he is nowhere near his full potential yet.
“He has got a bit of magic, but he has got to be a warrior and a gladiator to get the most out of that magic. If he can find that he will be a dangerous asset.”