Andrew McLeod won’t back down from his comments about the Adelaide Crows.
Andrew McLeod won’t back down from his comments about the Adelaide Crows.

AFL legend doubles down on friendly fire at club

ADELAIDE Crows legend Andrew McLeod has doubled down on comments he made surrounding his former club.

McLeod, who won Norm Smith medals as best afield in the Crows' two premierships, said he and some of his retired teammates did not feel welcome at the club.

"I'm one of those guys that if you asked me if I felt comfortable walking back into the football club, I would say no," McLeod said on a podcast he co-hosts with retired basketballer Brett Maher.

"It's one of those things, and I have had this conversation with a lot of my old teammates, that it's not a place you feel welcomed."

His comments left Crows board members Rod Jameson and Mark Ricciuto scratching their heads.

"I'm really disappointed in him for saying that publicly, because there's ways of dealing with things and ways of not dealing with things," Ricciuto said on Triple M's Roo & Ditts.

"And this is the last thing the football club needs when they're trying to survive in the biggest financial crisis in the history of football. If he feels that strongly about it, fair enough, speak up, maybe he did it so they'd listen some more."

McLeod and Ricciuto back in their playing days.
McLeod and Ricciuto back in their playing days.

Jameson added: "He's an employee at the club and an assistant coach to the ladies team, so his actions don't reflect what he said.

"It's really surprising, I spoke to Andrew and he feels the way he does, which is unfortunate."

Despite the initial backlash, McLeod said he wasn't going to back down from his comments and would welcome the chance to have a discussion with the club.

"When you walk into the Adelaide Football Club, it's not a particularly warm place, they've taken most of the old photos down, the board room, like an old office you find around," he said.

"These rooms should tell you a story of an about the history of the people who came before us to lay incredible foundations, but no, everything has now been catalogued and if you want to see them, you have to go online to view them.

"I know I'm not alone, because in the past 24 hours, I've had a lot of these conversations or messages from a number of my former teammates, past officials and many of our great supporters.

"That confirms to me that something is wrong."

McLeod isn’t backing down from his comments.
McLeod isn’t backing down from his comments.

McLeod said the change has to be acknowledged by the club before any change can begin to be implemented.

"It has to be top down, let's see those in charge or in front office walk the walk and lead this change like it once used to be, no more spin, I'm trying to change the narrative like what has been happening in the past 24 hours by those jumping on their soap boxes and trying to angle it back on me as my issue," he said.

The five-time All-Australian said he spoke to fellow club great Ricciuto following his initial comments.

"It's unfortunate that's how I feel, but happy to have a conversation like I did with Mark Ricciuto on Tuesday, telling him that our club needs tangible authenticity by creating a culture that makes you feel welcome, like you belong and are valued, no matter who you may be," he said.

Despite the harsh words, McLeod reiterated he had nothing but love for his old stomping ground that he helped lead to ultimate glory.

"Please don't be misconstrued, I love my club, I'm as passionate as anyone about it and I want to see it achieve great success, like the tens of thousands of people who call the Adelaide Crows their team, I want them to have a better experience with our football club," he said.

"Right now, we need to support our players more than ever, I have since spoken with (current coach) Matty Nicks, (former captain) Taylor Walker and reiterated my support to them and we had great conversations about a lot of things.

"Nicksy knows where I'm coming from, this forms part of what he's trying to change.

"With my hand on my heart, I just believe our club can be better and we should strive to be."

Originally published as AFL legend doubles down on friendly fire