Funny things happened at the Peterborough United fans’ forum as a quick-witted chairman stole the show

Welcome to the Darragh MacAnthony show or, as it was advertised, a Peterborough United fans’ forum with the club’s three owners.

By Alan Swann
Tuesday, 2nd November 2021, 8:10 am
Posh co-owners Darragh MacAnthony (left) and Stewart 'Randy' Thompson having fun at the fans' forum. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com
Posh co-owners Darragh MacAnthony (left) and Stewart 'Randy' Thompson having fun at the fans' forum. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com

Posh have a self-made multi-millionaire, raconteur, ruthless businessman and quick-witted comic as chairman. It’s a wonderful cocktail with which to host 100 or so fans. He placed them in the palm of his hands and had them rocking in the aisles, and not just when he implied Posh set-pieces were improving.

The owners certainly have an interesting dynamic going on. You can imagine relatively sensible Dr Jason Neale and Stewart ‘Randy’ Thompson looking at this maverick, risk-taking, self-confident, player-recruitment genius with a mixture of awe, admiration, and occasionally some fear.

They’d all come straight from interviewing for the post of Posh chief executive officer - a £100k post for a club with 4,000 season ticket holders - so a bit of light relief was probably welcome.

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Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony (right) with co-owner Dr Jason Neale.

MacAnthony poked fun at, er me (‘a lighweight’ for not attending in person), club press officer Phil Adlam (for daring to say an extra inch is important) and even Dr Neale’s physique and dress sense (‘he’s wearing a shirt made from old curtains’).

Naturally new stadium questions were plentiful and a few interesting, and new, nuggets of information were forthcoming, but there appears to be an impasse between club and council, not entirely unconnected to a request from elected officials (some with as many as 900 votes from the public) for the club to fork out another million quid to speed up the process.

“There are some big decisions to be made in the next 60 days,” Mr Thompson stated, something PT newshound Ben Jones will cover online tomorrow (November 2).

Only ugly alternatives to the preferred Embankment site are available according to Mr Thompson, but rest assured there appears little that would stop the trio supporting the club as they have done so impressively during a pandemic and while the EFL played fast and loose with promotions. Their love for the club and its fans, and indeed each other, is unquestionably genuine, unless Oscar-worthy acting is among their attributes. Only the compulsory introduction of vaccine passports would drive MacAnthony away. He didn’t travel to Swansea last Saturday for that reason, the lucky man,

Most questions were of the softball variety (favourite player, favourite goal) or personal rather than about Posh. We learnt that Dr Neale grew to love a puppy during lockdown and Mr Thompson learnt to empathise with his staff.

We also learnt MacAnthony has found another couple of under 23 gems who will arrive soon and one reminds him of Dwight Gayle so no pressure there then, and that the chairman values the club at £36 million citing a ‘debt-free, top-40 club an hour from London, one promotion from the best and richest league in the world with a new stadium on the way, and a valuable playing squad with the potential to grow.’

MacAnthony promised not to hammmer loyal Posh fans with season ticket prices next season, but the club are working on a subscription service covering the club’s under 23 team, youth team, women’s team and junior teams as well as an all-singing and dancing alternative to the dreaded iFollow. It was also disclosed it will cost £1 million just to to rip up the London Road End terrace should Posh still be in the Championship next season

There were no grumbles in person on the night as those who love to troll the chairman after a defeat presumably stayed away, or lost their voices. This is not the environment to take on a chairman blessed with a gift of the gab.

All three owners paid tribute to manager Darren Ferguson ahead of his 500th game in charge of Posh tomorrow. All three confirmed he was bullet proof. ‘This is not a vote of confidence headline,’ MacAnthony said, as he delivered his own vote of confidence.

It was an entertaining couple of hours with Dr Neale’s shaggy dog story about a pet called Sam who gets confused and excited whenever his owner loudly celebrates a Sammie Szmodics goal winning a big laugh.

But the last words of course went to MacAnthony as he delivered this season’s catchphrase ‘trust the ******* process’ he chuckled as the curtain fell on an impressive performance.

Forum details