Peterborough United chairman's pledge to older fans as he looks to build a great club service, plus 'the diminishing BBC,' no restrictions on new commentators, a petition and angry emails

Peterborough United chairman Darragh MacAnthony has pledged to deliver free audio match commentaries to older fans.
Darragh MacAnthony. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.Darragh MacAnthony. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
Darragh MacAnthony. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

Posh prompted an angry reaction from fans when cancelling their live match broadcast contract with BBC Radio Cambridgeshire in favour of a paid-for in-house service.

There was a lot of concern re older fans not being able to afford the £5 match commentary price (it’s £6.50 per month for every match and all other Posh plus products) or to indeed receive a broadcast that needs an internet provider.

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But, during a stint as a co-host on TalkSPORT on Monday, MacAnthony said plans were in place to make the transition smoother.

He insisted in-house commentaries were not a money-making exercise.

"We will lose money on this for the next two years,” MacAnthony stated. “But we are building a service that will be better than what went before.

"We are building a product that our fans will love and which will become more commonplace in the EFL.

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"We intend to have podcasts and TV documenatries as well as the match content as well as the great stuff already on Posh plus, and all for just £1.50 per week.

"But what we didn’t realise was the sheer number of older Posh fans without wifi who might live in the sticks. I apologise for that and the club is already working on a solution to ensure they can still listen to Posh Plus match commentaries for free.

"The BBC was a diminishing service. What would have happened if they had suddenly said tomorrow they couldn’t offer the service? The BBC don’t love us anyway. They did a three-minute skit on Friday mocking our decision.

"They haven’t been banned. They will still have a presence at the ground, They will still have access to the manager and the players and every six minutes they can broadcast a match update.

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"And the new commentators will not be restricted in what they can say. They can slag me off and they can slag the team off. We will have guests and some will be former players.”

Posh fans organised a petition to protest against the plans. That petition had gained 826 signatures at noon on Monday.

Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony is co-hosting a live show on TalkSPORT Monday-Wednesday and on Friday (10am-1pm).

He isn’t co-hosting on Thursday as he is meeting senior citizen Posh supporters, a meeting arranged before the story about in-house commentaries broke!

The PT has received emailed complaints from angry fans...

From Philip Smith...

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I am writing to you to voice my disappointment that Peterborough United have decided to end the free match commentary with BBC Cambridgeshire. I have listened to the commentary for many years when I have been unable to get to the game and found it first class particularly with the added views from Francis Green.

The BBC team are very supportive and do give a fair view of the game. They also provide a lot of debate, discussion and airtime for the club.

It is being replaced by in-house commentary which you have to pay for at £5.00 per game or a monthly subscription of £6.50.

Is this just a money-making exercise? To cut ties with the local radio station seems short sighted to me!

From Graham Hobbs…

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I am a pensioner, but luckily could probably afford to pay to listen to live matches on Posh+, however as a matter of principle I will certainly not subscribe to what I feel should be ‘free-to-air'.

I buy multiple season tickets already and begrudge being squeezed for the extra pennies that gives Posh a ‘Scrooge-like’ persona. Being a season ticket holder does not always mean we benefit in terms of match prices as many people may miss games through ill health or other family commitments therefore having to pay even more to listen from afar adds insult to injury.

There are many arguments about how poor this new strategy is and very few positive reasons found to support it. I contend that this is not a forward step at all, but a truly backward move.

It has all the outmoded and retrograde characteristics of the 1950s and 1960s when as a young boy I would stand in the street outside the Peterborough Standard office to patiently wait for away match updates to be posted in the window. Often in the rain or freezing cold we could only dream of being able to sit in comfort listening to local radio broadcasting the matches we could not otherwise easily see.

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Now it seems we must wait and listen to goodness knows what, just in case something happens and an update interrupts the latest top 10 hit. The new proposals are not democratic at all and will not endear the club to either loyal supporters or those on the margins whose support one day may be crucial to the club's success. In fact scrub the word 'club' because Posh is heading towards anything but! It is becoming a mere commodity devoid of the inclusivity that makes us a football family.

There may well be a financial reason to part company with the BBC, but to charge such sums for a niche service is unfair in this day and age and quite honestly offensive to those of us who are season ticket holders and who supported the club throughout the pandemic.

The chairman can deny it all he likes, but this has all the hallmarks of penny pinching so needless to say I will not be subscribing. On the other hand it might be cheaper for some to buy the subscription and not bother with a season ticket. There were times last campaign when I came close to thinking about such a move but here we are again eagerly awaiting the start of a new season with sweet and sour already on the menu.

Loyalty, however, has its limits and maybe the management would do well to remember those of us who turn up on a cold, wet and windy Tuesday evening in January.

From John Skeels…

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I don’t do social media so can only express my disgust with the Posh decision to end Radio Cambridgeshire commentaries via email.In pursuit of a supposed increase in revenue they are going to alienate a huge number of their core support.It’s hard enough as a senior citizen to save up for a season ticket, especially in these days when our pension is being eroded by inflation.I go to as many away games as I can afford, but the number has reduced in recent years. It’s more important to pay the utility bills than travel to watch Posh.I won’t be subscribing as a matter of principle. In my opinion Posh have seriously shot themselves in the foot.Very best regards from your ex Sunday League Linesman.