SWANNY’S WORLD OF SPORT: No shame in being a selling club

Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony is the club's best scout.
Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony is the club's best scout.
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Peterborough United are a selling club so get used to it.

It’s not a bad label to have either for as long as top players like Dwight Gayle, Craig Mackail-Smith and Britt Assombalonga keep passing through.

Posh will soon be signing the next Britt Assombalonga.

Posh will soon be signing the next Britt Assombalonga.

Six months ago many of us Posh fans would have given Conor Washington away (he couldn’t head it, he couldn’t kick with his left foot, he needed six chances to score a goal) so we shouldn’t complain that he’s now been sold for £2.5 million (at least).

That represents great business for the club (I wouldn’t even say Washington was in the top three current Posh players) and it reflects great credit yet again on the club’s scouting network, or Darragh MacAnthony, a consistent champion of Washington, as he is also known.

MacAnthony bought Posh nine-and-a-half years ago. That night he watched his team lose 2-1 to Everton in the League Cup at London Road. The Posh strike force that night was Trevor Benjamin and Justin Richards so it’s fair to say things have improved under his stewardship.

MacAnthony (right) is also an astute businessman. He’d be a mug to turn down a 10-fold profit on Washington, just as he’d have been a mug to reject £6 million for Gayle and £5 million for Assombalonga.

Lee Tomlin wasn't impressed when Posh refused to sell him to Celtic.

Lee Tomlin wasn't impressed when Posh refused to sell him to Celtic.

And it’s that attitude which will ensure that a steady stream of gifted young attackers will always be knocking on the ABAX Stadium door.

Pitch up at Posh, score a few goals and move on up the divisions, with Posh or with bigger clubs like Nottingham Forest. Crystal Palace or QPR. What’s not to like for young, talented, ambitious strikers?

Read Adil Nabi’s comments after he signed for Posh yesterday (January 21).

It would be great to behave like Bournemouth can under a billionaire owner and just throw millions, at average players, out of all proportion to their income from gates and commercial revenues.

But Posh lost £1.9 million in the year ending June 2015. They owe MacAnthony upwards of £5 million so those now accusing the chairman of lacking ambition need a huge reality check.

It’s not our money that would go down the pan if Washington stayed, lost form, and Posh failed to win promotion. Fans like to think they pay the players’ wages, but they don’t, not when under 6,000 turn up to watch the fantastic entertainment provided by Graham Westley’s team.

Those (lack of) numbers mean that it’s a delicate balancing act trying to keep a lower league club afloat while also challenging for honours. As he pointed out quite emphatically during his 12-hour stint on Twitter yesterday, a lot of the £20 million-plus the club have made from selling players has been re-invested in the squad as well as the Posh facilities.

If a player wants to leave and the financial package is agreeable to Posh he should go. Washington would never act petulantly like Lee Tomlin, but other players might if their dream move was refused.

Teenage midfielder Jermaine Anderson would have been a Championship player now (and Posh would have been quids in again) if the best form of his career hadn’t been cruelly interrupted by serious injury.

That’s one big reason why Washington was right to want to grasp the opportunity of Championship football and Posh were right to grant it.

Others will surely come and go in the future. Promotions are not certain, but can’t be ruled out.

However Posh fans should always be proud that their little club can help turn young players into performers worth millions of pounds.