Alan Swann’s Posh review of the season - the end of Fergie time arrived too late

Darragh MacAnthony and Darren ferguson parted company.
Darragh MacAnthony and Darren ferguson parted company.
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It can’t be a good season when the chairman’s Twitter timeline becomes more compulsive viewing than the actual matches.

And that was the case for Posh fans for most of the 2014-15 campaign. Much of the football on view was sterile and dull, two words that rarely applied to those following @DMAC102

Posh won five of their first six matches to reach the top of the League One table on August 30.

But after a terrible home display and defeat at the hands of Colchester early in January, MacAnthony was raging and ranting on social media about £500k strikers who couldn’t score and a squad that folded like a cheap deckchair at the slightest hint of pressure.

Ignore the hysterical hyperbole and MacAnthony wasn’t far from the truth.

He exempted manager Darren Ferguson from blame on that occasion, but six weeks later their bromance was over. The most dismal, gutless, tactically inept display against MK Dons, the team’s fiercest rivals in League One, was the straw that broke the chairman’s back.

Fergie time was over at Peterborough United and the fans who had backed the team quite brilliantly at stadium:mk had received their reward. It came as a relief even to those who had resisted negative personal comments, presumably as a sop to the good deeds of the past.

To be fair to Ferguson his preparations for the new season had been undermined fatally by the sale of star striker Britt Assombalonga 48 hours before the big kick-off.

The money on offer was impossible to turn down, but the ghost of Assombalonga continued to haunt Posh as plans for a January transfer raid were thwarted by Nottingham Forest’s late payment of a part of his £5.5 million fee.

Assombalonga’s 33 goals were always to going to be impossible to replace. At current rates his replacement Luke James, that £500k forward, will reach that total in 2030.

Early-season injuries are also mitigation for a poor season, but this was hardly a vintage League One and yet Posh still managed to lose more games than they won and concede more goals than they scored.

Ferguson was too stubborn with his tactics, his formations and his individual selections, even before the narrow team he picked against an expansive MK Dons turned out to a suicide note.

Ferguson’s obsession with defenders being more comfortable on the ball than they were tackling opponents became laughable - well the opposition strikers were probably chuckling - and Posh finishing a full nine wins off the automatic promotion places was more to do with his management than the man who replaced him.

Ferguson deserves credit for signing Marcus Maddison, but Dave Robertson deserves more for improving Michael Bostwick and Ricardo Santos.

But memorable games, performances and results were rare and MacAnthony had a January phrase to sum it all up. “I’m p**d off,” he said and he spoke for all of us.