COMMENT: Peterborough United have followed a clear strategy to get Championship ready and the owners have earned the right to be trusted

One of the things we can be thankful for is Peterborough United’s owners have had a clear plan in mind with their business this summer and their track record has earned them the right for that plan to be trusted.

By Ben Jones
Saturday, 7th August 2021, 7:00 am
Posh's 'brain's trust' celebrate promotion.
Posh's 'brain's trust' celebrate promotion.

There are an alarming amount of under-qualified senior figures in football who find themselves presented with a generous budget and run around splashing the cash like they are kids in a sweet shop once the transfer window opens.

Fortunately, Posh have some of the most switched-on operators there are in the boardroom, who not only have an eye for a gem but also when it’s time to pull the plug on a deal.

This summer, the men that saw the magic in Dwight Gayle, Marcus Maddison, Siriki Dembele and many more have been at it again, following their meticulous plan.

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The return of Jonson Clarke-Harris proved to be a masterstroke.

Early blows were struck by bringing in big-hitters Jorge Grant, Jack Marriott and Josh Knight; deals universally welcomed by the fanbase and well-needed. Then, instead of giving in to the baying mob screaming ‘sign, sign, sign’ there was a slight pause as the club made sure the next faces in were ones that would fit. There was much advice offered as to where Posh should go next, some of us even wrote columns on how Championship experience was the way to go. The quote from Darragh that stood out to me this week, however, was that Posh are ‘looking to reclaim their stage from Brentford.’ He was speaking in terms of stepping into the breach left by Brentford as they set their sights on Premier League targets and once again looking to be the place to go for the brightest young talent the EFL has to offer.

It perfectly encapsulates the summer plans as Posh switched gears to target young and hungry over older, perhaps wiser heads, who would have breathed a sigh of relief to still be playing at the level rather than jumping up and down relishing the new opportunity. The quick fire signings of Joe Tomlinson, Kwame Poku and Joel Randall, plus young Emmanuel Fernandez shows that Posh were biding their time for the right players and are sticking to their guns for the step-up in level.

The plan has not changed with promotion. It is likely calls would still have been made about all three had Posh have been in League One still because of the potential the club has seen in them, but promotion has allowed all three to be able to walk through the door.

Is the plan the right one? Time will tell, if I were to throw my weight 100 per cent behind it then I would be a hypocrite and after all, there are questions to be answered by the three signings, who don’t even have a single League One appearance between them, and Posh’s homegrown youngsters, who have never played at the level either.

Co-Owners Stewart Thompson, Darragh MacAnthony and Jason Neale celebrate winning promotion EMN-211205-165712005

They will need to do so as the deal Posh presumably struck with the devil to stay so injury free to key players last season will surely not hold for a second time around.

The one thing I do know, however, is that this club has, time and time again, shown an ability to find a diamond in the rough and, let’s not forget, actually put together a side capable of winning promotion two seasons ago. Signing a number of players with Championship experience would settle my nerves a lot more, but that wouldn’t make it the right decision.

After all, who was out dancing in the streets when Ivan Toney signed? Jonson Clarke-Harris had a modest career goalscoring record and we’d got rid of him before, why did we want him back? The list goes on but the point is, the club have more than enough credit in the back with recruitment to be trusted with the way they have chosen to tackle this season.

Sure, if it goes wrong the post mortem will be easy, but the same men that have made the club one of the most financially stable, with the ability to actually spend big, not a luxury open to all of our divisional rivals, deserve our trust. After all, in the midst of a pandemic, Posh were able to not only stay afloat, but win promotion, buy the ground back and unveil plans for a brand new stadium.

Pre-season results are irrelevant. The players, minus the forwards, got plenty of minutes in their legs and there is enough to be positive about at the club and enough heart to take from the struggles of others to think that Posh have what it takes to stay up.

It might not be by much, but whether it’s by a point, a goal, another stonewall penalty decision like against Lincoln this year then it won’t matter at all.