Peterborough United superstar Tony Adcock on Wembley, Chris Turner, Ken Charlery and completing a Division One double over Leicester City and Derby County
Adcock, the Teddy Sheringham of the lower divisions, and flying winger Barnes were key men as Posh clinched back-to-back promotions and a place in the second tier of English football for the first time in the club’s history.
Here Adcock recalls the glory days of winning the Third Division play-off final against Stcokport County at Wembley in 1992 and the following season in Division One when Posh finished 10th, still the highest finish in the club’s history.
Adcock was in conversation with Posh press officer Phil Adlam.
On signing for Posh...
“I was at Northampton who had money issues and obviously selling me was a way of raising cash.
“I came on loan initially and signed a couple of weeks later when Bobby Barnes also arrived from Northampton.
“We knew we were joining a club that had something. They’d beaten Liverpool the month before after all. Garry Kimble had scored the winning goal against Liverpool, but Bobby took his place. That’s football, but we all rubbed along together pretty well.
“But Peterborough played in a completely different way. Theo Foley, who used to be at Arsenal, was Northampton manager and he liked a passing game.
“Chris Turner’s way of playing was very different. It wasn’t like John Beck’s Cambridge United side as they just lumped it long from everywhere. Turner wanted the ball moved to the forwards quickly, but we had licence to play when we got it up there.
Turner’s style suited me. I saw a lot of the ball and I knew when it was coming my way.”
On Chris Turner...
“Training at Peterborough was very hard. We were worked very hard, but we were so fit we were often still running when other teams were flagging in the final 15 minutes.
“Turner used to take the back four with Lil Fuccillo (assistant manager) looking after the forwards.
“Turner didn’t coach me much, but he was a great motivator and a great man manager. He was just so positive all the time.
“Even before the play-off final at Wembley he kept things pretty low key and simple. The only different thing we did was go to a health spa to relax. There was no extra hype
“Turner had so much confidence and positivity it rubbed off on the players.
“When he moved upstairs midway through the following season it was a shock to the players as we had no idea it was happening.
“He promoted Lil to manager and it worked as he knew us and what worked for us, but the following season wasn’t so fruitful.
“Chris did come back for a time (after he’d been ill) and he gave us a lift such was the strength of his personality, but we were too far gone.”
NB: Posh were relegated from Division One in the 1993-94 season.
On Wembley 1992...
“We were all trying to treat the play-off final as just another game, but walking onto the pitch before kick off was a real ‘wow’ moment. I hadn’t experienced anything like this. I wouldn’t say we were nervous, but we realised how big this game was as so many Peterborough fans had travelled.
“We were the better side in the first-half and deservedly took the lead early in the second-half. I was right by the goalline when Ken Charlery’s header bounced down and I swear I still have no idea whether or not the ball crossed the line.
“In fact I tried to head it over the line and a defender just appeared and booted it clear. He very nearly took my head off, but luckily for us the linesman had ruled in our favour and given a goal.
“Stocport improved after that, but even when they equalised so late in the game we didn’t panic and didn’t settle for extra time. Mick Halsall and Marcus Ebdon just geed us up some more.
“Actually them scoring helped us as they pushed forward and Ken was able to exploit a gap and score a brilliant winning goal.
“I felt a bit sorry for Stockport as they lost at Wembley twice that season which must have been heart-breaking.
“We came back to Peterborough pretty much straight after the presentations. Some of the lads went into the town centre to soak up the atmosphere, but I was one of those who found it hard to appreciate what we had achieved.
“It wasn’t until the next morning it sank in for me. It was my first promotion and for it to happen at Wembley was unbelievable. Much better players than me had never managed that.
“We had the open-top bus parade the next day and as many people who went to the game seemed to turn up for that as well.
“These were special moments and I still cherish them now.”
NB: Posh beat Stockport 2-1 in front of 35.067 fans at Wembley. Over 25,000 were Posh fans. The opening goal from Ken Charlery is still disputed to this day.
On his Posh teammates...
“Ken Charlery was a very different player to me which might be why we got on so well.
“Ken was very athletic and very strong. He could hold the ball up, he had good feet and he knew where the goal was.
“When Ken left Tony Philliskirk came in and he was a top player, better in the air than Ken, but very chilled, very laid back. Tony had a better touch, but lacked Ken’s physical strength. Both partnerships worked though.
“Me, Ken, Worrell Sterling and Bobby were all on the same wavelength.
“Worrell and Bobby rarely used to cut back from the wing. They would cross the ball early which was what me and Ken thrived on. Worrell was more two-footed than Bobby.
“We had some good characters as well. Fred Barber was an extrovert, but he could get away with things like wearing a mask because he was such a good goalkeeper.
“At first I didn’t realise Fred was wearing a mask before games. In fact when he took it off, I asked him to put it back on!”
On Division One in 1992-93...
“Obviously there were few expectations when we set out in Division One.
“As far as we were concerned it was just business as usual. We weren’t going to worry about the clubs and the players facing us. We were still on a high after promotion and were determined to ride the momentum.
“Derby had spent mega money on several new players, but we beat them on the opening day which was probably the best time to play them.
“And we had 30 points before anyone realised we were there so staying up was never an issue.
“West Ham, Newcastle and Leicester were also in the division and the highlights were bearing Leicester and Derby twice. We just seemed to have the edge over Leicester back then.
“We also beat Sunderland 5-2 at home and it was obvious teams didn’t like playing against us.
“That first season was just outstanding, the second season was not so fruitful though.”
NB: Newcastle won the Division One title in 1992-93 with West Ham promoted in second place. Portsmouth, Tranmere, Swindon and Leicester filled the play-off places with Swindon winning them.
Posh finished 10th, one place above Wolves with Brentford, Cambridge United and Bristol Rovers relegated.
On his favourite goals...
“There were some standout goals. The best from a technical point of view was in a 3-3 draw with Swindon at London Road.
“Swindon played in a very unusual way back then as they played out from the back at every opportunity. Glenn Hoddle was the manager and they were a very difficult team to play against. They played ‘total’ football
“But on this occasion someone harried the goalkeeper into a rushed clearance and the ball landed it at my feet a long way out. It was a really windy day so I had to control the shot well to have any chance and I just managed to put enough curl on it for it to drop into the corner.
“I always felt my reactions and an ability to stay clam were my strengths. Lobbing the ‘keeper at Wolves was another goal that pleased me.
“My favourite goal though was at the Baseball Ground when we came from 2-0 down to win 3-2. I scored the winner from close range with a header from a John McGlashan cross. That was a very satisfying moment for me and the team.”
NB: Adcock scored 39 goals in 130 Posh appearances. He was Posh top scorer with 16 goals in the 1992-93 Division One season.
On leaving Posh...
“I’d been with the best bunch guys a player could wish to play with. I enjoyed every minute of the first season in Division One. “Things went wrong the following season. I missed a few games with ligament damage and a new manager (John Still) then came in who probably wanted his own players.
“We didn’t agree on a new contract which was as much my fault as the club’s and I ended up going to Luton, but I hardly played there as I was constantly picking up injuries so it was probably as well I left Peterborough as I wouldn’t have played for them either.
“Playing for Peterborough was a big part of my life though. It was the most positive experience of my career. There were a few lows, but far more highs.
“I won’t forget what the club did for me and I hope I’m not forgotten by the fans.”
NB: Adcock started and finished his career at Colchester United. He also played for Bradford City and Manchester City. He scored 249 goals in 705 senior appearances.