BIG INTERVIEW: Owning the ground as important as a promotion, season ticket sales going well

Posh are making progress in their bid to buy their ground back from PeterboroughCity Council.

Posh are making progress in their bid to buy their ground back from PeterboroughCity Council.

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Peterborough United chairman Darragh MacAnthony admits he’d accept another season in League One if it guaranteed the club would one day own their own ground again.

The Posh stadium was purchased by Peterborough City Council for £8 million in 2010 after MacAnthony had spent £70k a year renting it from Peterborough United Holdings Limited (PUHL). PUHL had gained ownership just prior to MacAnthony arriving at the club in October 2006.

Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony during his big interview with the Peterborough Telegraph.

Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony during his big interview with the Peterborough Telegraph.

But MacAnthony claims positive talks are ongoing to bring the stadium back into the ownership of the club.

“Peterborough City Council have been brilliant with us in recent times,” MacAnthony said. “But they know we are paying too much rent and they don’t particularly want to own a football stadium anyway.

“I’d accept one bad season results-wise if it guaranteed us getting the ground back. That’s how important it is to us. It’s a huge deal for the fans for the club to own the stadium and the club would have more flexibility in how we operated.

“I’m happy to say we have moved closer to an agreement. I was due to meet with a bank this week (Wednesday) to help with the finance. I will have to pay plenty up front myself, but it’s the right thing to do.

Posh fans queuing to buy tickets for the Chelsea FA Cup tie.

Posh fans queuing to buy tickets for the Chelsea FA Cup tie.

“I commissioned a 20-page report once which showed Posh in the Championship would bring £10.2 million in revenue to the city and £4.5 million if we were in League One.

“The council are aware of this and are trying to help us.”

Small crowds at the ABAX Stadium are a major concern for MacAnthony, but he’s been pleased with season ticket sales for the 2017-18 season despite criticism from ‘senior’ fans whose prices have increased by up to £50.

MacAnthony reported 2,800 season ticket sales as of Tuesday (April 11), just 110 down compared to the same time last year and 1,000 short of this season’s final number.

“We are right where we need to be,” MacAnthony added. “The revenue from early sales is important to us and I’m confident we can get near last season’s number by the end of July.

“I have no regrets about the increases we made. I apologise for upsetting the senior fans, but they’ve had it good for a long time and they needed to start paying a fairer amount. Happily even those who wrote letters of complaint have renewed.”

MacAnthony apologised again for the ‘badly-handled’ sale of the FA Cup tickets for the FA Cup tie against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge when many regular fans failed to get a ticket.

He also confirmed Ticketmaster have a contract for one more season to sell Posh tickets. They will then be replaced.