Darren Ferguson could well become Peterborough United’s Arsene Wenger, a great and successful manager who tarnishes a great legacy by hanging around for too long after the magic has gone.
I hope not. Ferguson’s managerial record at London Road currently demands respect. Only the hard of thinking can dispute that.
He won three promotions, delivered the most exciting Posh football since the 1960s and he helped develop some of the greatest players in the club’s history.
That’s how I want to remember him, although winning a fourth Posh promotion, and a third to the Championship, would I suppose end all arguments about the club’s greatest ever manager.
If that happens Posh might have to find room for a second statue at their stadium (wherever that might be), but it’s a big if judging by recent events on and off the pitch.
These last two seasons have been among the most frustrating in my time following my club (it’s close to 50 years now boy, man and reporter) and not because finishing in mid-table bothers me particularly.
Irritation comes from decisions made at boardroom level in February, 2018 and January, 2019. Just as Steve Evans was the wrong man to take over a Grant McCann team in 2018, Ferguson appears to be the wrong man to take over an Evans team 12 months later.
Nothing I’ve seen in Ferguson’s first nine games in charge has changed that opinion. I find it hard to believe Posh wouldn’t have picked up more than seven points since the end of January under Evans.
But just as Evans was unfairly judged on results at the end of last season, Ferguson, and his assistant Gavin Strachan, shouldn’t be judged entirely on results until he has own players on site.
He’s been appointed now and it’s the duty of all fans to get behind him and the club. I wish him all the best as stability is something Posh have lacked in recent seasons. It has to be worth a try now as Posh face a seventh successive season at League One level.
Remarkably since Ferguson’s most recent departure from the ABAX Stadium in February 2015, Posh have employed five different full-time managers, in just four years.
Of course Ferguson’s three-year deal which was announced yesterday (Wednesday) means very little. Evans and McCann weren’t saved by similar deals, but maybe the arrival of co-owners from Canada will herald a new era of patience and long-term planning.
Certainly the new demanding directives for the Posh Academy suggest a change of tack.
If Ferguson, and he’s been sacked twice by the current chairman before, is the man chosen to oversee the regular introduction of teenage graduates he needs to be given the time to make it work.
Forgive me if I’m not getting over-excited by the appointment. I want to it to work, I really do, if only to avoid an ignominious departure of a club legend.