Collingwood have announced their first personnel change as a troubled AFL off-season nears its end, confirming Geoff Walsh’s retirement from the game.
The 64-year-old will leave his post as the club’s football boss in mid-December.
The Pies said the decision, which was settled last week, was months in the making.
“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 led the Pies to the 2010 premiership during his first stint as head of football between 2006-13, while they reached the 2018 grand final during his second reign.
He has previously spent time at Fitzroy, Carlton and North Melbourne.
“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.”
The Pies are yet to earmark Walsh’s replacement but his successor will have some considerable shoes to fill given his decades of experience.
Collingwood endured a torrid trade period that saw four players – most notably Adam Treloar and Jaidyn Stephenson – leave the club in bitter circumstances.
List boss Ned Guy denied the trades were part of a fire sale to slash the club’s salary cap.
But the Pies remain locked in talks with the Bulldogs over how Treloar’s $900,000 annual wage will be split over the next five years.
Meanwhile, Collingwood have also confirmed Tom Langdon has retired due to ongoing knee issues.
The 26-year-old starred in the Pies’ run to the 2018 grand final but has not played since suffering a knee injury in round nine last year.
“Tom played some wonderful football for Collingwood and it was a sad day when the reality of his premature retirement arrived,” Walsh said.
“We saw him work incredibly hard to get back. He pushed himself through so much pain to keep his hopes of a comeback flickering. Given his talent and application, his finish is a cruel football story.
“We’re all confident that Tom will make a success of the next phase of his life and we wish him well.”