Regrets, but no hard feelings as Posh boss Fergie returns to Deepdale to face the Preston North End club that sacked him over a decade ago

Peterborough United manager Darren Ferguson admits Preston North End was the right club for him, but at the wrong time.
Darren Ferguson when Preston manager in 2010.Darren Ferguson when Preston manager in 2010.
Darren Ferguson when Preston manager in 2010.

Ferguson took charge at Deepdale, two months after his first sacking by Posh, in January 2010.

It proved to be a culture shock for a manager who was still relatively inexperienced despite his back-to-back promotions at London Road.

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Ferguson was dismissed just under 12 months later which paved the way for a third promotion with Posh.

“I’d best describe my move there as the right club, but at the wrong time,” Ferguson, who will return to Deepdale on Saturday (August 21) for the second time since his sacking and the first time since 2014 (a 3-1 Posh loss) said. “It’s a great club with a fantastic stadium and some terrific people there.

“I very nearly turned them down. I had offers from Sheffield Wednesday and Preston on the same day and I wasn’t sure about either of them.

“Eventually Preston persuaded me, but I inherited an aging squad and it was tough going. I wasn’t confident I’d get them playing the way I wanted .

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“They were experienced players on big salaries and they didn’t appear to have the same motivation as the players I’d left behind at Peterborough.

“Results were very inconsistent and I soon got the impression I was one bad result from the sack. In my case we lost to Hull. Phil Brown did commentary on the game and seven days later he had my job!

“Preston chairman Maurice Lindsay came to my house to deliver the bad news and I left my rented house exactly one year after I moved in.

“I enjoyed the challenge though and there is certainly no ill feeling on my part about what happened.

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“I was proud to manage Preston - for some reason it’s a job that attracts plenty of Scottish managers - and obviously I wish I had been more successful.

“I was still quite a young manager then as I’d only had one other job, but I don’t regret going to Preston because I learnt so much while I was there.

“They went down to League One after I left, but since getting back to the Championship they’ve been a very solid team. They are well run and they have good players so it will be another tough afternoon for us even though they haven’t had the start they wanted. I’m looking forward to it on a personal and professional level though.”