Darren Ferguson has reacted furiously to Barry Fry’s radio revelations that the Peterborough United manager held ‘unsettling’ meetings with representatives of Nottingham Forest in the summer.
The Posh boss has countered by admitting he doesn’t like working with Fry and that he suspects the club’s Director of Football is trying to force him to resign by using ‘underhand tactics that he has employed before’.
Fry, in an interview with BBC Radio Nottingham that was aired today (October 8), claimed that Ferguson held two meetings last summer with the prospective new owners of Nottingham Forest with a view to becoming manager at the City Ground. Those meetings allegedly scuppered two summer Posh transfer deals
And Fry also claimed that Ferguson did not seek permission from Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony before speaking with representatives of the City Ground consortium.
Ferguson confirmed he was contacted by agents on behalf of Forest, but insisted: “I was contacted by people representing potential new owners of Nottingham Forest and as they were only potential owners I had no obligation to speak to my chairman about that.
“But the real issue here is why on earth this story has surfaced now. There is no rhyme or reason to drag this up at a time when we are all under enough pressure as it is.
“I have not spoken to Fry, but I do not like working with him. For one reason or another he is a permanent fixture at this club so I just get on with things.
“I suspect he is trying to undermine me with the fans and force me to resign. If that is the case then he is going to be disappointed. He has tried these underhand tactics before.
“Let me make this clear as well. No player has refused to sign for this club as a result of anything I have ever done. It’s his (Fry’s) job to sign players so maybe he is looking for an excuse for his own failings.
“I have spoken to the chairman about this matter, but that conversation will remain private. I don’t like discussing things like this in public, but I feel I have to respond on this occasion.”
During the radio interview Fry said: “I did discover that Darren had two meetings with Forest in the summer without the permission of the chairman and it was an unsettling period for the club.
“I was trying to sign players for the club who wanted to play for us mainly because Darren was the manager. They had heard he might be leaving so we lost out on those players.
“Gianni Paladini (former QPR chairman) was involved with the people trying to buy Forest at the time. He certainly met with Darren on the second occasion.
“The reality was they were having discussions about a job that didn’t even exist as Forest had a manager at the time anyway, It was disappointing at the time, but we’ve moved on now.”
The timing of Fry’s revelations will surely disappoint MacAnthony who will remember the acrimonious departure of Ferguson in November, 2009 when allegations he had been tapped up by Hull City were subsequently made.
But MacAnthony broke his silence on the matter via his Twitter account and played the spat down as ‘typical arguments between employees in business’.
He said: “Ah the joys of owning a football club sometimes! Posh fans calm down. Nobody going anywhere, storm in a teacup, no midnight statements.
“I will deal with this in best manner for our football club. All my energies are invested in helping our team push upwards from our current position.
“Arguments happen between employees in every business. It’s just a shame in ours that it plays out in the public eye. This will be the last time!”
The revelations won’t do the manager any favours at a time when he needs to be concentrating solely on lifting Posh off the bottom of the Championship table.
Posh made an official complaint to the Football League in the summer alleging that Ferguson had been tapped up by Forest. There was no suggestoion at the time though that Ferguson had actually been to any meetings with prospective new employers.
Forest manager at the time Steve Cotterill angrily reported the developments to the League Managers Association. Cotterill has since left Forest who are now managed by Sean O’Driscoll and he led Forest to a 1-0 win at London Road on Saturday.
The Peterborough Telegraph has left messages with Fry but he is yet to respond.
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