Darragh MacAnthony’s ‘Hard Truth’ podcast: ‘Darren Ferguson bleeds Peterborough United and he will only leave if he walks away, and why calls for Neil Warnock were rejected’

Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson will lead his side into the big Championship relegation battle with Reading tonight (February 16, 7.45pm) to the tune of a ringing endorsement from his chairman.

By Alan Swann
Wednesday, 16th February 2022, 12:04 pm
Darragh MacAnthony (right) and Darren Ferguson.
Darragh MacAnthony (right) and Darren Ferguson.

Darragh MacAnthony used today’s edition of his popular Hard Truth podcast to launch a passionate defence of his manager’s qualities. Ferguson ‘bleeds Peterborough United’ according to his chairman.

MacAnthony reckons Ferguson is the lowest paid manager in the Championship, but love and loyalty is keeping him at Posh.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Neil Warnock.

MacAnthony also explained away his manager’s poor record in the second tier and revealed why he ignored calls to approach veteran out-of-work boss Neil Warnock to take charge at London Road for the rest of the season.

MacAnthony repeated there is no way Ferguson will be sacked even if Posh are relegated this season, although he did express concern his manager could eventually walk away.

“I’ll tell you why I’m passionate in my defence of my manager,” MacAnthony said. “He bleeds our club. He gets our club. He understands how we operate. He understands our philosophy of bringing players through the Academy and our desire for attacking, entertaining football.

“Since he came back to us we missed out on the play-offs on the final day of the season and he was only with us for three months.

“The following season Covid stopped us winning the League One title and the next season we went up and came within two points of the title. And now six months later I am supposed to sack him? How would that make me look?

“I gave Darren my word last summer we would extend his contract. It was delayed not because of results, but because we were busy.

“What would I have looked like if I’d welched on that deal? I want to be seen as a man of my word. Darren will be the lowest paid manager in the Championship, but he’s not here for the money. He’s here because he loves the club.

“And people can stop sending me stats about his record in the Championship. He’s only managed us and Preston at this level and Preston were not going well when he got there.

“There are worse managers than Darren who get better jobs at bigger clubs and end up with better stats because of the size of those clubs. It’s easy to get 40% win records at those clubs.

“I was sent Neil Warnock’s phone number recently by a friend of mine suggesting I got him in until the end of the season. Neil’s record is fantastic. He’s a legend of a manager and maybe he would get us out of trouble this season, but then what? Would he buy into our philosophy? Would Ricky-Jade Jones, Ronnie Edwards and Harrison Burrows flourish under him?

“If we do go down, and I suspect tonight’s game will tell us a lot, I would want Darren to get us back up. I know it took us eight years to get back up last time, but that’s mainly because I fired Darren.

“Eight years ago when I was more headstrong I’d have been all over a sacking, but I’m not that man now. I’m not there now.

“I feel for Darren and I’ve told Barry Fry to get around him while I’m not there and support him.

“Darren might make the decision to walk away himself, but I don’t want him to. It would harm the club if he did.”

Ferguson, whose four Posh promotions make him the most successful manager in the club’s history, signed a new three-and-a-half year deal in November. Posh are believed to have inserted a maximum compensation clause.

Last week Ferguson insisted he wouldn’t be walking away from the battle to save Posh from relegation.