MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 28: Geoff Walsh the General Manager of Football, Nathan Buckley the coach and Eddie McGuire the President speak to the media during a Collingwood Magpies AFL press conference at the Holden Centre on August 28, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Collingwood General Manager of Football Geoff Walsh has announced his retirement.

Walsh had flagged the possibility of 2020 being his last year a few months back and confirmed the news only last week.

“I have been contemplating this for some time and as one of my old coaches once put it, the moment you start thinking about retirement is the time to finish,” Walsh said.

“I am ready and the time for Collingwood is also right. I will thank personally the many people I need to but I would like to acknowledge the game for the rich experiences, friendships and professional rewards I have been lucky enough to enjoy.

“It was a privilege to serve the game.”

Walsh was the head of the Collingwood football department on two occasions, his first go at the role was between 2006-2013 and then between 2017-2020.

Walsh’s career began in 1985 with Fitzroy. He joined Carlton as a recruiting manager the following year. In 1994 he joined North Melbourne as GM of Football and for five years, from 2002, he was the club’s chief executive.

He then returned to Arden St in late 2013 as GM of Football before returning to the Holden Centre in 2016.

“Geoff has been one of the all-time great administrators and football people,” Collingwood president, Eddie McGuire, said.

“He moved with and shaped the game as it evolved from a semi-professional, state-based sport into a professional and national competition. He knows and understands the game like few others do.

“He was with Collingwood for over a decade. We would have liked to have had him with us for another decade.”

“ ‘Walshy’ is a giant of our sport and Collingwood has been fortunate to have had him at the helm of its football program for so many seasons,” Collingwood chief executive, Mark Anderson, said.

“Over such a distinguished career he has held many leadership roles and in each he has delivered success. Geoff has been a tremendous asset right across our club and there are many across the league who, over the decades, have benefitted from his experience, good judgement and counsel.

“His legacy will stay with our football people and program, something that will assist us in the process underway of appointing his successor. His vision for our football future will remain central to our strategic direction.

“We will miss him enormously but we very much respect his decision. We wish him, Jayne and their family well with the future they have planned.”