POSH MANAGER APPOINTMENT: McCann's magic has re-invigorated MacAnthony

Peterborough United chairman Darragh MacAnthony insists he was close to putting his club up for sale.

Monday, 16th May 2016, 3:09 pm
Updated Monday, 16th May 2016, 4:11 pm
Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony with new manager Grant McCann. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.
Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony with new manager Grant McCann. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

The man who has overseen three promotions and three seasons of Championship football in his nine-year reign at the ABAX Stadium was close to quitting after the most difficult period of his tenure.

MacAnthony made the shock disclosure after unveiling Grant McCann as the eighth managerial appointment of his time in control.

The chairman revealed he had agreed a deal with a Championship-standard manager to succeed Graham Westley. With that appointment in place, he was ready to walk away.

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Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony in reflective mood.

But MacAnthony changed his mind on both counts after seeing the impact on and off the field McCann had made in his two matches as Posh caretaker-manager at the end of a frustrating season.

He also praised director of football, and his great friend, Barry Fry for keeping him going.

“I’d been pushed me to the brink by issues with the stadium and the training ground,” MacAnthony admitted. “It has been a tough few months, my most difficult time as the owner of this club.

“A couple of weeks ago I had tied up a deal with a Championship manager to come and work for us. It was a done deal and when it was in place I was going to put the club up for sale.

New Posh boss Grant McCann with former Posh manager Graham Westley. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

“I don’t like firing managers. It’s not good for me or the club.

“But I took myself off to Vegas to watch a fight and things started to dawn on me. There were positive signs that were re-affirmed by talking to staff members about the impact Grant had on the team, and the club as a whole.

“Grant has re-invigorated the club and he has re-invigorated me.

“I spoke to him to ask him if he was ready to manage the club and he told me he was ready 12 months ago. He pointed out to me the success Gary Caldwell has had at Wigan and that Neil Harris has had at Millwall. They were both top players at those clubs who have enjoyed success as young managers there. It’s the same at Barnsley with Paul Heckingbottam.

Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony in reflective mood.

“I started to realise that I needed to be less conservative and a bit more bold. Appointing Grant is a bold move, but it’s also the right move for the club.

“Appointing Darren Ferguson was a bold move and it worked out beautifully for us. It could be the move that brings us the success we want.

“I have been criticised in some quarters for my recruitment record, but it isn’t actually that bad. Sacking managers hasn’t cost the club a lot of money because of clauses I put into contracts.

“I have been criticised for hyping the team up too much. I’m not apologising for that because I want to have ambition, I want us to return to the Championship.

New Posh boss Grant McCann with former Posh manager Graham Westley. Photo: Joe Dent/theposh.com.

“We have to give Grant time and patience, but the one thing Grant will definitely give us back is his all. We haven’t had that for a long time.

“Grant is a tremendous character. He has bottle and he is a leader. He has brought happiness to this club while in charge. He is not in any way tainted by his association with the previous two managers (Westley and Dave Robertson).

“Grant will work night and day for this football club. He is ready to give everything he has to win promotion for us. He’d knock over his own mother to achieve it.

“We will still play great football under Grant, but we will also have an edge. He’s his own man. He won’t back off making the tough decisions.

“It will also be great to have a manager who lives locally and who won’t just pop in for a couple of hours a day.

“I want someone to unify the club. Grant is that man and on those terms it was an easy decision to give him a four-year deal.

“The fans have shown angst recently. This has been shown in attendances and by season ticket sales. Grant’s appointment will help.

“I have to also place on record my thanks for the support of Barry Fry in this tough period, He has continually kept me going. He lifted me when I needed it.”

MacAnthony has sanctioned the appointment of an experienced coach to help McCann. Dave Farrell (under 21s) has also been appointed to the management team.