Ex-Peterborough United player says ‘Big Ron Manager’ documentary harmed his career before he was eased out of London Road by Darren Ferguson

Former Peterborough United forward Danny Crow believes a misleading appearance in the infamous ‘Big Ron Manager’ programme damaged his career.
Danny Crow celebrates a Posh goal.Danny Crow celebrates a Posh goal.
Danny Crow celebrates a Posh goal.

Cash-strapped Posh allowed Sky TV cameras to follow the club in the latter stages of the 2005-06 season to film a ‘warts and all’ style documentary.

The idea was for former Manchester United and West Brom manager Ron Atkinson to dispense wisdom and advice to a rookie caretaker-manager Steve Bleasdale as Posh pushed for promotion from League Two.

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In the most dramatic scene Bleasdale, who had taken over as manager after Mark Wright was sacked for gross misconduct, quit an hour before kick off in one of the final matches of the season.

Former Posh manager Steve Bleasdale (right).Former Posh manager Steve Bleasdale (right).
Former Posh manager Steve Bleasdale (right).

Crow appeared on screen appearing to laugh at the news, something he couldn’t live down for several years even though he protested his innocence.

Crow, in an interview with the Posh media team, said: “Barry Fry came into the dressing room one day and said we were doing this documentary. If we didn’t like we could leave, but the club needed the money.

“In those days a documentary was unusual. Some of the senior lads feared it would affect our promotion push. It just seemed surreal to us younger lads, but the experienced pros were right.

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“I was portrayed badly by the programme and I believe that it affected my career. It harmed my chances of progressing.

Ron Atkinson (second left) and Steve Bleasdale (far right) at a Posh fans' forum.Ron Atkinson (second left) and Steve Bleasdale (far right) at a Posh fans' forum.
Ron Atkinson (second left) and Steve Bleasdale (far right) at a Posh fans' forum.

“Mark Wright had left as manager and Steve Bleasdale had taken over. In the scene when Steve quit in the dressing room the camera appeared to show me laughing.

“I really wasn’t like that. I’d never do that. I was just shellshocked as we were sat there waiting for the team to be announced and instead he just quit.

“The documentary came out that summer and I never watched it, but people were always commenting on it.

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“I was out shopping in Manchester one day and someone shouted out ‘when it’s a battle you effing battle’ which is what Bleo is shown saying in the programme.

“Opposition defenders would then say to me oh you’re that so and so from the documentary. They didn’t know me and yet they were having a go at me.

“I felt very sorry for Bleo. He was a good guy, but probably a bit out of his depth with the TV cameras following our every move.

“The day he left we were playing Macclesfield and I scored twice including a last-minute winner, but we missed out on the play-offs.

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“I got on very well with Ron Atkinson. I wouldn’t say a bad word about him. He had great knowledge and helped me a lot, but the documentary certainly didn’t help me.

“Keith Alexander came in the following summer and I think he saw me as trouble purely from what he saw on the television.

“He wanted to play a more direct style anyway and that didn’t suit me or many of the other players.

“I scored the odd goal but soon fell out of favour and when Darren Ferguson took over it was the same.

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“He signed players from non-league who I didn’t really know, but you could tell they could play.

“I didn’t think at the time they were any better than me, but looking back they obviously were.

“The standard of training and the tempo and intensity of it under Darren were brilliant. It was a real step-up from the previous season.

“The following pre-season I came back in pretty good shape, but Darren told me I’d be training with the under 18s so obviously it was time for me to leave.

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“I didn’t do myself any favours with Posh fans by joining Cambridge, but I enjoyed my time at the club.

“I was player of the season at the end of my first year at Posh scoring close to 20 goals despite the distraction of the documentary so that was a good time.”

Crow scored 29 goals in 90 appearances for Posh after signing as a teenager from Norwich City. He went on to play for Notts County, Cambridge United, Luton Town and Newport County.