Why Peterborough United chairman went behind his partners’ backs to sign Oliver Norburn, and why he wouldn’t sign other experienced players in the summer

Oliver Norburn’s attitude, and his offer to prove a desire to move to Peterborough United by taking a paycut, persuaded chairman Darragh MacAnthony to go behind the backs of his co-owners to complete a reported £350k deal with Shrewsbury Town.

By Alan Swann
Thursday, 4th November 2021, 12:31 pm
Oliver Norburn of Peterborough United in action against Queens Park Rangers. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

McAnthony was speaking at a fans’ forum alongside co-owners Dr Jason Neale and Stewart Thompson this week.

MacAnthony said: “We wanted Ollie two seasons ago, but we were quoted £1 million and I wasn’t going to pay that for a 28 year-old so I took Reece Brown on loan instead. Reece was a great lad who helped us win promotion.

“We then got wind in the summer that Ollie was now available for a lot less as the Shrewsbury manager didn’t want him.

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Posh co-owners, from left, Dr Jason Neale, Darragh MacAnthony and Stewart 'Randy' Thompson address the fans' forum. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

“What swung it for me was his obvious desire to play Championship football at the age of 28. He would have walked over hot coals to do it and he was prepared to take a paycut to make it happen. I wanted that guy in our dressing room.

“I didn’t tell my partners until the deal was done and they were a little angry about that, but I always say it’s easier to ask for forgiveness!

“Now compare Ollie’s attitude to other experienced players I was offered in the summer. Not players I was after, but ones I was offered.

“They wanted a release clause that let them go for free if we were relegated. That was their mindset. Their other request was to come in on twice the money the current players were on. I don’t want that sort of player at this club.”

MacAnthony also revealed that Posh are paying £1 million spread over five years to Exeter for summer signing Joel Randall, and that he will be revealing the arrival of two ‘gems’ for the under 23 side in the next week.

“One of them reminds me of Dwight Gayle,” MacAnthony enthused.

MacAnthony confirmed Siriki Dembele has no interest in staying at Posh beyond the end of his current contract next June and that he would remain at the Weston Homes Stadium unless offers of between £7 million to £8 million are received.

The PT understands several clubs have enquired about taking Dembele in January, but none are offering anywhere near what Posh are demanding.

“Siriki could make the difference for a club chasing the Premier League,” MacAnthony said. “And that is worth hundreds of millions to them so why not gamble on spending a few million on Siriki?”

MacAnthony insisted he could sell Jack Taylor now to four top Championship clubs which confirmed the club’s recruitment policy remains sound.