Posh need a home win and so do council tax-payers

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk

There were plenty of people who had grounds for concern when Peterborough City Council bought Posh’s London Road home for an eye-watering £8million.

That deal was done almost eight years ago to the day, and was heralded by both the then council leader Marco Cereste and Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony as a great one for everybody in the city.

MrMacAnthony said at the time: “This is a fantastic move by Peterborough City Council to help secure the future of football in the city and support our club which has a reach into the community that goes far beyond just Posh’s devoted fans.’’

But times and situations change and faced with a hefty annual rental bill, Mr MacAnthony has been keen to buy back the ground for some time.

Last year he told the PT: “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.’’

But times and situations have changed for the council – so much so it should consider changing its name from Peterborough City Council to Cash-strapped City Council

Any deal must be the right one for council tax-payers and that must mean getting back, at the very least, the £8m of our money it poured into the original deal.

Not all Peterborough residents are Posh fans and the club is after all a private business, albeit a unique one, with a special role to play in the city.

Talks are underway between the club and the city council, but so far no deal has been reached.

I hope the council does all it can to help Posh to buy back its home, because a successful and thriving football club is important for any city.

But, the city council doesn’t have enough money – or fans – to not get the best possible deal for council tax payers.