Peterborough United fans forum: Brutal honesty of chairman the highlight as bombshells aplenty in lively forum

The brutal honesty of Chairman Darragh MacAnthony was all anyone was talking about after the Peterborough United fans’ forum on Wednesday night (July 27).

By Ben Jones
Thursday, 28th July 2022, 1:28 am
Darragh MacAnthony and Grant McCann were in fine form at the club's fans forum on Wednesday night.
Darragh MacAnthony and Grant McCann were in fine form at the club's fans forum on Wednesday night.

Fans knew they were in for a treat when, without prompt, MacAnthony kicked off the night by addressing the rumours about absent CEO David Paton.

Fans learnt that he is still employed by the club but will be away for an indefinite period of time and no further comment will be made on the matter. Operations Manager Leighton Mitchell will be stepping into the void and liaising with fans groups in the meantime.

After the longest question in human history to start, things gathered pace quickly and, as usual, MacAnthony’s quick-wit and charm was on show alongside Grant McCann who looked to be in good spirits ahead at the start of a season both are convinced will be a successful one for Posh. When asked what his hopes were for the season, it was a short and sweet answer from the chairman, “I want a title.”

There were some interesting revelations about how Grant McCann and Cliff Byrne arrived at the club and decided that Jonson Clarke-Harris had no future in a side of theirs, before being won over by his dedication, especially over the summer, and now describe him as a “warrior” ready to carry the responsibility of leading the club on his shoulders.

We learnt that the club has full faith in Joe Ward and Harrison Burrows as full backs and are unconcerned about the lack of options similar to Clarke-Harris in the squad as McCann says his side have different ways of playing.

Even the gasps in the room when it was said there is a chance Posh could lose one or two key players before the window closes were swiftly forgotten when the chairman got going though.

As a wave of fans on my twitter feed have been quick to point out, MacAnthony has threatened to quit on several occasions in the past but when he dropped the bombshell this time, it felt more real.

He wasn’t being baited by Twitter trolls, he wasn’t trying to give it large about his confidence in the side he built; he spoke honestly about the sacrifices he has made for the club and how as a father he doesn’t want to miss out on the special last few years he has with his children before they head to college (university in this country).

Whether you like him or not, MacAnthony has poured, blood, sweat and tears into the club during his time and if he does fulfil his ‘perfect’ plan and lead the club into the Championship before sailing off into the sunset, then his break will be well-earned.

He has vowed not to go if Posh aren’t successful this season, however, but says he had planned to step away last season with the club having secured their Championship status.

While a sense of shock reverberated around the room, one fan did actually get up and confront the chairman with the debt figure his vocal online critics like to throw around.

In his unmistakeable style, he fronted up this club’s financial situation; admitting that the debt does need to be reduced.

The plan was to spend three or four years in the Championship to wipe this out but the club will not panic into a fire-sale now that plan has collapsed.

It will, however, cut its cloth accordingly if a long stay in League One is ahead as Posh look to cut down the millions on player purchases and move towards their utopia of 30% spending on players and 70% producing players from the academy. “We need 12 or 14 Ronnie’s and Harrison’s” he enthused- wouldn’t that be nice?

Not that it will satisfy his detractors but MacAnthony has asked fans not to lose a wink of sleep over the finances, insisting the club is filled with assets and while some may have baulked at the £40m valuation he placed on the squad, it's hard to doubt his claim he could raise £16m right now if he wanted to, knowing how in demand the club’s stars are.

As no one in the modern world is ever willing to change their mind on anything, I fear his passionate and soul-bearing performance may have only made his supporters more desperate for him to stay and failed to convince the vocal minority that would rather he moved on that he was actually telling the truth but it was a night that big issues were put on the table that most owners would run a million miles from speaking about and Posh fans can be grateful for that.

Sorry Grant, you spoke well but as often happens when MacAnthony is in a room, he took all the attention.

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Peterborough United: Live- Darragh MacAnthony and Grant McCann host fans forum