POSH REVIEW OF THE YEAR (part two): Top scorer sold and David Brent's selection by tombola
Top scorer Conor Washington was sold to Championship side QPR for Â£2.5 million and promptly stopped scoring.
Posh signed seven new players in the month which encouraged Graham Westley to insist promotion was still very much a possibility. Westley could also bask in the glory of turning Washington into a League One goal machine. He scored 13 goals in his last 14 Posh appearances.
But back-to-back defeats to promotion rivals Gillingham and Burton left Posh eighth in League One and the wisdom of selling Washington started to come under scrutiny.
Consolation arrived in the FA Cup with a handsome win over Westley’s old club Preston and a come-from-behind draw at West Brom which saw Jon Taylor equalise four minutes from full-time.
Top quote: “Lee Angol and Souleymane Coulibaly can shoot us to promotion,” Westley.
A month that started so promisingly with a win with nine men at Chesterfield (Ricardo santos and Michael Smith were sent off) followed by a great display in the FA Cup replay with West Brom which was lost on penalties, ended in despair as four League One defeats in a row left Posh 12th.
Taylor again scored against ‘the Baggies’ in front of the biggest crowd ever to watch a Posh match. Millions watched live on BBC One, but Darren Fletcher smacked in an equaliser and West Brom were then perfect from the spot.
As Posh form disappeared, Westley was accused of ‘selection by tombola’ as his constant tinkering left players and fans bemused. ‘Five-a-day’ to this Posh boss meant the number of team changes.
His post-match press conferences were becoming bizarre leading to a new nickname of ‘David Brent’, although few expected him to stay in office for long.
Top quote: “Newness, youth and change are difficult in any workplace,” David Brent, sorry, Westley.
Posh finally ended a run of seven matches without a win by defeating Ferguson’s Doncaster with a last-minute Santos goal, an outcome which had appeared as far-fetched as Leicester winning the Premier League.
Posh also fluked their way past Coventry to finish the month in a still disappointing 16th place.
Westley insisted the team’s problems were easy to solve. So easy he hadn’t managed it in the previous three months.
Top quote: “The manager is a winner. He will get the best out of the players,” Posh skipper Jack Baldwin and yes he was talking about Westley.
‘Graham’s a Goner’ screamed the Peterborough Telegraph headline on April 23 as Westley was dismissed after an insipid 2-0 defeat at home to Scunthorpe.
Chairman Darragh MacAnthony blamed dismal home form, falling gates and concern for next season. He resisted the temptation to blame erratic team selection and a failure to connect with fans who had started to openly mock everything from his tactics to his dress sense.
Posh had lost four of six April games and were 14th when MacAnthony pulled the trigger and put everyone’s mate Grant McCann back in charge.
The response was a thrilling 4-3 win at Shrewsbury and players performing with a smile on their faces for the first time since the FA Cup exit in February.
Top quote: “He’s a hokeycokey manager. Players never knew whether they would be in or out of the side,” Peterborough Telegraph’s obituary on Westley.
Posh won their final game 5-1 at home to Blackpool to secure a 13th-place finish. Substitute Jon Taylor bagged the first hat-trick of his career in just 12 minutes late in the game.
At least the fans/club could enjoy a feelgood factor going into the summer. The identity of the next manager would determine whether or not it was still in place next August.
Top quote: “The chairman has the same footballing beliefs as me. We both want exciting, attacking, passing football,” McCann.
Posh review AUGUST to DECEMBER appeared online yesterday (May 14).