Peterborough United chairman excited by his new management team and happy to have paid top dollar to get them, plus that controversial goal scored against Posh by Grant McCann’s Doncaster Rovers is discussed!

Peterborough United chairman Darragh MacAnthony insists he has a top management team in charge at London Road again - and he paid top dollar to get them.

By Alan Swann
Monday, 28th February 2022, 1:21 pm
Peterborough United manager Grant McCann with chairman Darragh MacAnthony in 2017. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
Peterborough United manager Grant McCann with chairman Darragh MacAnthony in 2017. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

On the latest edition of his ‘Hard Truth’ podcast (February 28) MacAnthony revealed contract negotiations with new boss Grant McCann and his assistant Cliff Byrne lasted the best part of two days before they signed two-and-a-half year deals which made them the highest paid management team in Posh history.

But the chairman was happy with the outcome. He sprang into action after failing to persuade Darren Ferguson to withdraw his resignation as manager the day after a damaging 1-0 defeat at Derby County (February 19).

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Grant McCann and his assistant Cliff Byrne watch Posh lose to Hull on Saturday. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

“I was disappointed Darren resigned when he did,” MacAnthony said. “But I guess he did me and the club a favour in a way as he knew I wouldn’t sack him.

“We had plans in place that involved Darren, but once he had made his mind up we had to move and I contacted my partners to see if they wanted me to approach Grant McCann. If we were sticking to a similar plan he made sense.

“If we are in League One next season we would be hiring the man who won the title last season. We would be hiring the man who pipped us to the title and who pipped us to a play-off place when he was at Doncaster. He also kept Hull in the Championship this season.

“Obviously I know Grant well, but I needed my partners to speak with him and make sure they were comfortable. We set up a zoom meeting and I sat silent in the background while Jason (Dr Jason Neale) and Randy (Stewart Thompson) spoke with him.

Grant McCann celebrates a controversial goal for Doncaster against Posh.

“They wanted him so we then had to sort the contract out. I’d already told Grant we wanted his assistant as well which was important for him and us. They have been a great team and had a lot of success together. Grant didn’t have him when he was with us before. Most successful managers have a great assistant. Sometimes it’s an insult to call them an assistant. I’d checked out the work Cliff had done with Sunderland’s academy as well and it was clear he’s a great coach and brilliant with young players.

“When we used to play against Grant’s teams it was usually his assistant winding our bench up, rather than Grant!

“I even had a grudging respect for that goal at Doncaster against us (Donny scored after refusing to throw the ball back to Posh who had deliberately kicked it out of play). I was angry at the time, but when I calmed down I admired his win at all costs attitude. He’d never have done that when he was managing us.

“Grant and Cliff both had an agent so negotiations took time. The zoom meeting was on a Monday and it still wasn’t sorted on Tuesday night. Grant even checked us out. He even rang up our secretary to check what I was like these days! I know that because she rang me straight afterwards, but I didn’t mind at all.

“When Grant said he was coming I told him to get down to Fulham on Wednesday night and sit in the director’s box with Cliff so the players were aware.

“We’re paying the biggest contract for a management team and we have no problem with that. I’m excited we have them both. Grant was in demand - talks at Sunderland ended because of the length of contract on offer - and his career is currently shining. Managers have to make the most of those times. Grant has an idea of his self worth and I admire that.

“Grant was honest with us. He thinks we have a chance this season, but he made no promises. He told me he tried to sign players we had signed in the summer, but Hull weren’t able to pay transfer fees at the time. He knows a couple of players who he coached when he was our under 15s coach.”

Josh Knight, Oliver Norburn and Jack Marriott were all believed to Hull transfer targets in the summer.

The podcast was recorded before Saturday’s 3-0 home defeat to Hull in McCann’s first game back as Posh boss.