Peterborough United great George Boyd on that infamous eye test at Nottingham Forest, dressing room aggro and some strange managerial behaviour

Peterborough United great George Boyd has lifted the lid on what really happened when he failed his eye test at Nottingh Forest.

Monday, 4th May 2020, 11:33 am
George Boyd in action on his Posh debut at Darlington in 2007.

Boyd also covered a wide range of topics in an interview with Posh press officer Phil Adlam.

On signing for Posh for a then non-league record transfer fee of £265k in January 2007...

“Stevenage chairman Phil Wallace had put this high buyout clause in my contract believing no-one would pay it, but Peterborough did.

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George Boyd celebrates a goal on his farewell Posh appearance at Millwall in 2013.

“It was then a case of Barry Fry selling the dream to me. He showed me around the training ground at Castor and told me a new one was being built. Four years later we were still there!

“It was an exciting time for me thoug. I needed the move into the Football League.”

On settling in at Posh...

“I knew after a week of training I belonged at this level. I could cope with the tempo and pace, although I took a while to get going in matches.

George Boyd celebrates a goalfor Posh against Derby on the opening day of the 2009-10 Championship season with Craig Mackail-Smith and Aaron Mclean

“I made my debut at Darlington and we lost and not long after we changed manager.”

On Darren Ferguson...

“The first impression of the players was we couldn’t believe how young he looked. It felt like he should be playing not managing.

“But he came in with a firm idea of how he wanted to play and how he wanted us to express ourselves at all times and the lads bought into it very quickly.

“Kevin Russell came in with Darren and he was a great character. He was good at rollockings!

“Craig Mackail-Smith came at the end of that month and Kevin always kept him and Aaron Mclean back after training for extra shooting practice and he definitely helped them become the players they did.”

On other Posh managers...

“When Darren left the first time we were shocked even though we had started to find the Championship hard.

“But it was a bigger shock to see Mark Cooper replace him. I knew of ‘Coops’ and he’d done well at Kettering, but this was a big step up.

“He changed the style of play quickly. We became a very direct side playing a rigid 4-4-2 and tried to pick up knockdowns further up the pitch. It didn’t suit me at all.

“Gary Johnson came in at the end of that season and at the time we thought that was a coup for the club. He’d done well at Bristol City and he had to be good for us now we were back in League One.

“I enjoyed pre-season with him so much I ended up signing a new contract at the club even though there had been a lot of talk about me leaving. Middlesbrough had had some bids rejected I remember.

“Gary was a much more expansive manager than ‘Coops’ and it really was a case of just trying to outscore the opposition, but he had some strange methods.

“He was forever battering the experienced players. He always used to pick on CMS who was the star player at the time. It mught have been his way of scaring the younger players.

“We started suffering some bad results, losing 1-5 at home to Charlton and 0-3 to Brighton when I got sent off so the writing was soon on the wall. There were rumours that Darren was going to come back, but the players didn’t think that would happen.

“When it did the squad got a huge lift. Darren couldn’t actually believe how low on confidence we were, but Gary had beaten it out of us.”

On dressing room scraps...

“When we were 4-0 down at half-time to Cardiff the manager didn’t appear in the dressing room until about a minute before we were due to go back out.

“We were like ‘where have you been?’ as we’d had to sort ourselves out. To come back and draw 4-4 showed great character, but there were some big rows after the game as well with Joe Lewis involved.

“When we were doing well there was never an issue obviously. The closest I’ve seen to a fight is when Izale MacLeod and David Oldfield had to be separated.”

On the famous Nottingham Forest eye test...

“I’d been on loan at Forest a couple of seasons earlier when it was obvious manager Billy Davies didn’t want me. David Pleat was their director of football and he was the one who pushed that move through, but it was a waste of time and I only played five or six time.

“They reached the play-offs, but I didn’t play and they lost to Blackpool.

“Then one January (2013) Posh agreed fees with Forest and Crystal Palace and I felt ready to make a step up. It was a tough choice as Palace was my boyhood club, but we’d just moved to Nassington so I chose Forest as it was nearer and we had a young baby.

“I went for the medical on deadline day and did all the scans on the knee, brain etc and was then told to hang around.

“Then at 9.30pm the Forest chairman told me I had to take an eye test and I had to take it without my contact lenses in! I said that’s silly as I can’t see properly without them, but they made me anyway.

“At 10.30pm they told me they couldn’t sign me because of my eyes and I was in pieces. I rang Darragh MacAnthony and he was brilliant with me to be fair. He told me I’d always have a place at Posh and I think I played for them on the Saturday.

“The eye test nonsense was all down to Billy Davies as he was set to return as Forest manager and clearly didn’t fancy me.”

On leaving Posh...

“I had decided any move away from Posh had to be to a club going places so when Hull became interested in me I was keen. They were in the top three of the Championship at the time and looking good for promotion.

“I knew on the morning of the night we played Millwall that the move was close. We were brilliant that night and won 5-1. Steve Bruce (Hull manager) then rang me and said the deal was done.

“There was sadness as Posh were in a great run of form and battling against relegation. Darren might say if I’d stayed we might have stayed up, but the lads kept winning that season anyway.”

Best Posh players played with...

“There have been so many, but CMS and Mclean for the hard work they out in and the sheer number of goals they scored.

“Ryan Bennett was a rolls royce in Leagues Two and One and went on to have a great career and you could tell Dwight Gayle was something special when he turned up.

“He never used to miss in training.”