McCann’s the man. That was the overriding message delivered by Darragh MacAnthony at last night’s (August 18) fans forum.
The Peterborough United chairman had been criticised on social media for the appointment of Grant McCann as manager, especially after Saturday’s defeat by Bradford City, and invited the moaners to meet him at the forum and discuss the issue face-to-face.
Predictably they stayed away and the 50 diehard fans who turned up at the ABAX Stadium never mentioned McCann in their questions.
But that didn’t stop MacAnthony ramming home loud and clear that he had the utmost faith in his rookie manager.
“People say I took the cheap option - well nothing is cheap about me,” he said.
“Grant McCann is not the cheap option - he’s the right option.
“McCann is a born winner. He wants to improve everything and learn everything. He’s really embracing his individual career and I have a lot of faith in him.
“Whatever has gone on in my life, I’m good at recruiting. I turned down a very, very top manager to get Grant.
“I feel very confident but I’m not getting excited until May.”
MacAnthony also spoke at length about the club’s policy of selling the team’s best players.
He reiterated what he said in his pre-season message to the fans, that a club like Posh with average gates of 5,000 need to sell top players to survive.
“Players join us because of our policy,” he insisted. “That’s why Tom Nichols chose us ahead of clubs playing at a higher level. Chettle and Nichols came in on the back of Conor Washington being sold.”
And he defended the decision to sell Washington to QPR.
“Every manager told me Conor Washington was rubbish, so to get £2.8 million for him - how does that make me the bad guy?
“The reason we didn’t get promoted last season was nothing to do with selling Conor Washington. It wasn’t even in the top four.”
Other issues to get an airing during the forum, which lasted an hour and a half, included the closure of the London Road end for a recent game, the thrilling 5-1 win over Millwall and Paul Taylor’s contract.
MacAnthony said closing certain sections of the ground was purely down to cost.
“We are running a business and there’s no point in paying to man an empty stand,” he said. “But in hindsight closing the London Road end was perhaps not a good idea. The players hated it and it won’t happen again.”
On the Millwall win he said: “It’s all about showing up. Nobody can live with us when we show up.
“We need more performances like that obviously. Everything in football is about winning. Winning changes everything. If we keep doing it then maybe we’ll get those missing fans back.
“The difference of 1,500 on the crowd for 23 games in a season is considerable.”
And on Taylor’s contract?
“Paul didn’t get what he wanted at first and that’s because I said I wanted to see him play first. He hardly played last season. But Paul loves it here. He’s settled down and I see no reason why he can’t become an established Championship player . . . with Peterborough United. Rest assured, he’ll get a longer contract.”