Former Peterborough United goalkeeper used to dread matches during one of the most successful seasons in the club’s history
Former Peterborough United goalkeeper Joe Lewis has opened up about the mental insecurities that dogged him during one of the most successful seasons in the club’s history.
Lewis was a 21-year-old rookie who played a key role in back-to-back Posh promotions in Darren Ferguson’s first spell as first-team manager.
Posh signed him from Norwich City for a considerable £400k fee in January, 2008. Four months later he was celebrating a promotion from League Two and 12 months after that Posh were a Championship club after finishing second behind Leicester City in League One.
“I had some unbelievabley good experiences in my time at Peterborough,” Lewis enthused. “But that promotion season in League One was also the toughest of my career without a doubt.
“I had a poor run of matches and it really affected my confidence. I went into some games absolutely dreading them.
“It was a mental thing. I was very young and I hadn’t learnt how to deal with mistakes.
“I was always confident in my ability, but I let errors bother me too much. One bad game would affect my confidence for the next couple of matches and I made some standout mistakes in that season.
“I have to say though that Darren Ferguson was very supportive no matter what had happened and we won promotion so I couldn’t have been that bad!
“I was only 22 in that League One season and now I feel I’m a much better goalkeeper because of the experiences I went through when I was young.
“The important thing was getting through it and learning from it.”
Lewis was Posh player-of-the-season in the Championship relegation campaign of 2009-10 and starred in the League One promotion season of 2010-11, but missed the play-off final triumph against Huddersfield at Old Trafford after picking up a knee injury in the semi-final first leg at MK Dons.
“Charlie Lee and I collided and I hurt my kneecap,” Lewis recalled. “I tried to play on for a while, but I was in agony.
“Darren was a hard man to tell you wanted to come off, but trying to fix me up with Ibuprofen and Paracetemol didn’t work!
“Luckily no shots came at me between getting injured and coming off as I wouldn’t have been able to save them.”
Lewis went on to play 190 times for Posh before leaving on a free transfer to Cardiff in 2012, but he made just five starts in four years in South Wales and, after loan spells at Blackpool and Fulham, he moved into the Scottish Premier League with Aberdeen.
He’s now the established number one at Pittodrie, playing regularly in Europe.