Peterborough United chairman Darragh MacAnthony has accepted his share of the blame for another disappointing season and issued an apology to the club’s fans.
In a long post on his personal Facebook page, MacAnthony claimed he wasn’t sorry for sacking Grant McCann as Posh boss and replacing him with Steve Evans. In fact he wishes Evans had arrived at the ABAX Stadium much sooner.
MacAnthony confirmed many current squad members will leave Posh in the summer. He will host a four-day summit in Florida between the club owners and management team in order to plan a successful promotion campaign for next season. Four defeats in a row under Evans have made it impossible for Posh to reach the play-offs this season.
MacAnthony is also offering freee admission to a home cup tie and a home friendly for season ticket holders next season to make up for an unpopular decision to grant Premier League season ticket holders reduced admission for the last home match of this season against Fleetwood on Saturday (April 28).
MacAnthony’s statement read: ‘Sorry seems to be the hardest word ‘ is one of my favorite Elton John songs and is perhaps a fitting way to start this post regarding Peterborough United and the season that is coming to an end. I am not perfect nor have ever professed to be, but I am brutally honest (to a fault at times) and dont mince words, especially when it comes to talking about the football club. One thing I have always promised our fans is 100% truth good or bad. How that truth is judged and critiqued is for others to comment on. Owning a football club and being accessible on social media can be sobering at the best of times but win or lose, showing up and letting fans know your there and care is for me important even though serious thick skin is needed when you do this.
“Now on with the apologies:
“I am definitely not apologetic over telling Posh fans last summer I wanted promotion, great football, loads of goals and success. Some call it hype, I call it normal for everything I do and apply in my life. I don’t wake up each day hoping to be second or compete or do okay, I wake up every day wanting to win and be the best. I want the same for my football club and back that up with a lot of money and hard work each and every season. I honestly believe at the start of each season that we can be successful and talk about it because it’s something I expect. I am sorry we failed to deliver on those beliefs and none of them happened. For that I will always apologize for as you are judged on results and ours clearly have not been good enough.
“I am not sorry I gave a club legend (Grant McCann) his fist managerial role at Posh, gave him 22 months, four transfer windows and plenty of financial support any young manager should get. I am sorry it didn’t work and I so want Grant to go on to do wonderful things in football management. But I am not sorry for making the change when it happened. Grant got all the staff he wanted, investment in lots of players and other infrastructural support he asked for, kept his star players in January, another £500k from me in the transfer window (biggest spenders in League One in January) and some time to show it would pay off. It wasn’t happening, So I made the tough call to move on. I have absolutely no regret over making that decision. Sorry if that hard dose of reality and truth upsets Grant, some fans of his or even his friends or family, but football management as I always told him is a tough career to take on. I stand by saying he has a top future in the management business.
“I am sorry I brought Steve Evans into the club with 12 games to go. I should have brought him in a long time ago, but circumstances always got in the way, and that I am sorry about to him. I didn’t bring Steve into the club for a couple of months only, I brought him and Paul Rayner into the club to fix the issues we have constantly had for the last four seasons, whereby we flirt with the play offs, give all of us hope, then collapse when it matters in dramatic fashion. I am sorry that the squad I felt was good enough for the play-offs and who were fift with six games to go, didn’t have the strong mental capacity to handle a promotion run-in together. To lose their best centre-back and assists-maker and capitulate in such embarrassing fashion over the last four games says it all. I still have the belief the honesty and talent is there within the squad as shown by putting themselves in constant positions to win games (30 points dropped from winning positions) and number one in shots on goal for the whole of League One, but what’s not there currently is mental toughness as a group, fitness levels that can go into the final 20 minutes of games and win when the going gets tough. Over 35% of our goals conceded are in the final 15 minutes of games and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that illustrates a physical and mental issue with this group together. We have so many talented individuals, but it’s a team sport.
“I am sorry our fans have been given false hope so may times this season including in three of last four games where we led, then dominated in large periods then collapsed when it mattered. It’s the hope that at times kills you in football. I won’t be sorry to back the new manager in bringing in the right kind of non-football staff and players he feels will turn us into the ruthless football team we need to be in order to win promotion again from League One. Many of our current squad will leave and won’t have an issue getting good clubs as they are top 10 League One players and of course we will have big bids for our main assets which we will deal with at the right time, but I and my new partners who have been wonderfully supportive will give 100% backing to Steve, and the recruitment process has already started. We all have a four-day summit meeting here in Florida the week after our final game of the season. Our transfer list will be announced on that Monday and the next era will properly begin under Steve and Paul. The training ground come pre season will be a very different place as will the environment and the hard work that will follow. This management team are famous for winning games late on by scoring lots of goals late in games, not choking or throwing the white towel in when the going gets tough or running out of steam and legs on the hour mark.
“I dont blame previous management, current management or even the players for our failures this season. I signed the cheques, gave the nod of approval on everything so the buck stops here as Chairman. I am sorry for not doing a good enough Job.
“One almost final apology goes to all of our season ticket holders who have been furious with our ticket initiative for the final home game against Fleetwood and rightly so. The idea is to grow our gates and we aimed for the many thousands who live in the area who head out of town on match days to watch Premier League teams. By growing our attendances, we can make season tickets cheaper not more expensive, but it feels like a slap in the face for our season ticket holders who are constantly loyal and with us throughout good and bad. I’d like to offer all season ticket holders for next season a couple of things to make good on a previous promise of looking after them. Our first home game in a cup next season, I will personally pay for all of them to attend this game and any pre-season home game you want to attend, I again will pay for your ticket. That’s two free games on me as way of saying sorry and thank you at the same time.
“The final apology goes to my wife and children for me spending weeks away from home trying my best to fix the issues at our football club on and off the field, investing so much time and money without a moan from them tells me I am constantly winning away from football. They see the stress, pressure and results driven moods from me but always make things so much better. For them more then anything I want to deliver that promotion we all so badly want.”