Lee Tomlin completes his hat-trick in a 7-1 win over Ipswich Town.Lee Tomlin completes his hat-trick in a 7-1 win over Ipswich Town.
Lee Tomlin completes his hat-trick in a 7-1 win over Ipswich Town.

Meet the Peterborough United 'mavericks' including the player caught trashing his own flat, the striker whose contract was terminated after getting sent off so often and the winger who refused to sit on the substitutes' bench before joining Arsenal

The retirement of former Posh star Lee Tomlin at the age of 33 was a sad day for those who like footballers to be instinctive geniuses.

Tomlin’s departure from the stage means Tommy Rowe (Doncaster) is the only player from the Posh starting line-up at the League One play-off final at Old Trafford in 2011 to still be active in the Football League.

Two unused subs from that day Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (Derby) and Joe Newell (Hibernian) are also still going strong at senior level, while goalkeeper Paul Jones is playing in the National League North for King’s Lynn Town.

Tomlin was a true maverick. A player who didn’t have the body shape of the modern footballer, but had more natural ability in his big toe than the athletic robots who populate the sport these days.

Tomlin was as flawed as he was gifted. His 45 goals in 177 Posh appearances were accompanied by seven red cards – the most in the club’s Football League history – mostly for acts of irritating impetulance.

He also famously trashed manager Darren Ferguson’s office after a move to Celtic was denied him.

But the bad moments were far outweighed by the moments of sheer delight which included a hat-trick in a 7-1 Championship win over Ipswich in August 2011.

Tomlin was a star of the League One promotion campaign the previous season when his vision, his improvisation and his finishing were key to the success of one of the greatest Posh teams.

He went on to play for Middlesbrough, Bournemouth, Bristol City, Cardiff, Nottingham Forest and Walsall. He was playing well for Doncaster in League Two this season, but injuries have caught up with him.

Tomlin said: “I have days when I can’t pick my daughter up for more than two minutes because of my hip or my back. It’s not a way of living and not a way I want to live.”

Tomlin was arguably the best of these Posh ‘maverick’ players. All of them talented and all of them free spirits….