Former Peterborough United star reckons the current team can set a new club record for the highest Football League finish

Former Peterborough United star Steve Welsh believes the current team can set a new club record for the highest Football League finish.

Friday, 6th August 2021, 11:30 am
Steve Welsh.

Welsh was part of the Posh side that set the existing record by finishing 10th in the old Division One in the 1992-93 season - the club’s first foray into the top two divisions.

The Scottish centre-back was also at the club the following season when Posh finished rock bottom so he knows what’s required to succeed and what’s needed to avoid failure.

Welsh missed just one League match in each of those two contrasting seasons.

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Ken Charlery.

Posh have spent just five of their 61 Football League seasons in the second tier. They’ve never lasted more than two successive seasons at such an exalted level.

But Welsh, now 53 and Academy Director at League One Doncaster Rovers, believes Darren Ferguson’s men can buck that trend.

“I watched Posh a bit last season and I liked what I saw,” Welsh said. “They looked organised, fit and with a fair bit of quality. They also have a manager who has managed the club at that level before and he’s probably a bit more worldly-wise now.

“And they seem to have recruited well. Jorge Grant is an excellent player.

Tony Philliskirk.

“Look, they will need things to go their way a bit, but I fancy them to survive comfortably and I wouldn’t be surprised if they beat our 10th place finish.

“We did so well that season because we were extremely fit, we had great momentum after going up two seasons in a row, we had a manager in Chris Turner who believed in us, kept things simple and was a master motivator and we started superbly.

“We won promotion to Division One through the play-offs so we didn’t have much of a break and the following pre-season wasn’t as intense as ones we’d been used to.

“And we couldn’t wait to get started. The club had never played as high before and we were up against some big clubs like West Ham, Newcastle, Derby and Leicester, but we were a very confident squad.

Dave Robinson.

“We enjoyed the perfect start by beating Derby, who were fancied to win the league, in the first game at home and we never really looked back.

“We won on a regular basis and although we lost plenty of matches we were never in danger of going down.

“One of our fears going into the season was losing key players, but when we did we replaced them well.

“Ken Charlery left for Watford early that season, but we brought Tony Philliskirk in who was a class striker. He scored on his debut at Leicester and was outstanding for the rest of the season.

“Dave Robinson also left us for Notts County for big money, but Lee Howarth stepped up at centre-back and we didn’t really miss the big man.

“The biggest shock that season was Turner stepping down as manager to become chairman, but Lil Fuccillo had been our coach and nothing really changed when he became manager.

“We approached all our games with a ‘nothing to lose’ mentality and it served us well. We enjoyed some great results. Turner looked after us well. We would go down to somewhere like Ashton Gate the night before a game and he’d let us stay over on the Saturday night as well so we could let our hair down. Turner made you want to play for him.

“The previous season he’d promised us a holiday if we won promotion, but we didn’t have time to take it so he said we could go if we stayed up the following season.

“He was true to his word and it helped that Thomas Cook was the club sponsor at the time so we all shot off to Tenerife. Even ‘Robbo’ came even though he’d left the club and wasn’t invited! He just turned up at the airport and joined in.

“Towards the end of that season it had become obvious we needed some new players, but there was no investment and we were found out badly the following season. Results were poor from the start and, although we were relegated at Easter, we were doomed from before Christmas.

“Fuccillo left and Turner came back for a bit, but it wasn’t the same. We tried, but were outclassed.

“The competition was as tough back then as it is now so even if you stay up for one season you have to keep improving or you’ll get caught out, especially if you’re one of the smaller clubs. I have a feeling Posh will be fine now though.”