And what a first game for the 40 year-old as Posh travel to the Britannia Stadium on Saturday (November 20) to take on Stoke City in a Championship fixture. Etherington, who started his playing career as a 15 year-old at Posh, spent his final five years as a professional footballer at Stoke.
Stoke paid West Ham £2 million for Etherington in January 2009 and he played 176 times scoring 16 goals for the club before retiring.
“It’s weird how things turn out in football sometimes,” Etherington said. “To start my new role at Stoke, a great club which gave me some great times is incredible. They were the last club I played for and I had five-and-a-half brilliant years in front of their outstanding fans. They are a very loyal set of supporters and I can’t wait to go back there on Saturday. Obviously we will go there with a plan to get a result though.”
After leaving Stoke, Etherington went into coaching and recently completed the full set of FA coaching badges by passing his pro licence. He led Posh Under 18s to back-to-back league titles before graduating to the under 23 team for the start of this season.
Mark Robson’s decision to leave Posh to work with West Ham Under 23s opened the door to the first team rather quicker than anyone expected.
“I’ve been handed a brilliant opportunity by the manager,” Etherington added. “I was humbled when he asked me and delighted to accept. It’s a new challenge for me and I can’t wait to get my teeth into it.
“I leant a lot from Mark Robson and I wish him all the best at West Ham. I’ve been with the first team a lot last season and this season. I know the players well and I hope I can now form even better relationships and help to get the best out of them.
“Continuity was important to the manager. We know how each other works so it should go well. I will have to adapt, but I will give it my all.
“I will be forever grateful to the club for all the opportunities they’ve given me.”
Etherington has been replaced as Under 23s boss by another former Posh star Simon Davies who steps up from the under 18s. Davies has been replaced by Jamal Campbell-Ryce who only recently joined the club.