Appointing two duff managers in the same season is never likely to be a receipe for success so hopefully Peterborough United will learn from their mistakes and the year-on-year slump will be arrested in 2016-17.
Since that awful day at Crystal Palace in May 2013 when an agonising Championship relegation was suffered, Posh have finished sixth, ninth and 13th in League One. Even Jeremy Corbyn would struggle to spin those numbers into something positive.
So how can Posh reverse the trend? I have a six-point foolproof plan.
1) Stop the summer hype. Cut out the pre-season hyperbole. Every August we are told Posh will not just win promotion, they will do so in the style of a Barcelona or Real Madrid. Give the new manager and the players a chance by not burdening them with expectations that are most likely to prove unrealistic. If things do go well it will be a pleasant surprise rather than the least everyone expects.
2) Sign some experienced players. Posh have a reputation for signing young players with (potentially) high re-sale values. This is fine, but experience will be invaluable next season, especially in the heat of huge derby battles against Northampton and spicy local arguments with MK Dons. Posh have employed excellent older players with great success in the past, notably Micah Hyde and Dean Keates.
3) Under no circumstances sell Chris Forrester or Marcus Maddison. I was not a big fan of Conor Washington (his struggles in the Championship are no surprise to me), but his departure certainly undermined a promising promotion push in January. Not as much as Graham Westley’s meddling though.
4) Stop hyping up the players, even if you want to sell them for big bucks in the middle of a season. Jermaine Anderson was looking good before his injury last season, but he is not the next Dele Alli as some important people at Posh have suggested. And let Ricardo Santos develop in his own time. At the moment he’s as likely to play for Benwick in the future as he is to play for Benfica. Some of the blatant touting of Anderson in the last couple of seasons has been quite frankly embarrassing.
5) Bring the fun back to London Road. Last season there were 155 goals in Posh’s 46 League One matches, and we scored more than we conceded. You’d think a season with numbers like that would have meant a season full of excitement and thrills, but you’d be wrong. The prevailing mood has beeen miserable and negative, and not just from me. Grant McCann was credited with putting the smiles back on players’ faces in the last two matches and look what happened when the squad was happy, free and not weighed down by boring, stats-obsessed managers.
6) Do you know how many 1-0 wins Posh enjoyed last season? One, at Chesterfield, a game Posh finished with nine men on the field. Leicester and Chelsea have shown the value of 1-0 wins in the last two Premier League title races so it’s important Posh learn to grind out victories when they are not playing particularly well. Posh won more games 5-1 (3) than 1-0, but you only get the same number of points. Keeping clean sheets is vital.