Former manager John Still has been a friend to Peterborough United ever since losing his job at London Road 20 years ago.
Still, now the manager of Sunday’s (December 6) FA Cup second round opponents Luton Town, is the man who sold superstars Dwight Gayle and Craig Mackail-Smith to Posh.
He’s also the man who recommended striker Lee Angol be given a trial at the ABAX Stadium last summer, even though the pair had fallen out spectacularly a few weeks earlier.
It’s that background Still hopes will influence the reaction of the Posh crowd on Sunday rather than his unhappy 18-month spell as the club’s manager.
“Lee Angol didn’t want to play for Luton so I didn’t want him at the club,” Still stated.
“When we were discussing a new contract in the summer he asked for money that would have made him the highest paid player at the club and I couldn’t justify that. He hadn’t played a game for us at the time.
“Our time together didn’t end well and Lee went to several clubs on trial like West Ham and Crystal Palace without getting anywhere. I didn’t want see his talent go to waste so I rang Barry Fry and suggested Peterborough invite him for a trial.
“I’m pleased Lee is doing well because he’s a good lad at heart. When he signed for us we gave him the option of a year on loan playing regular first-team football or training with the first-team and trying to break into the side. We pretty much saved his career at the time.
“He went on loan to Boreham Wood and did really well, but I was disappointed with his attitude when we tried to sort out a new contract.
“It’s another favour I’ve done Posh after selling them Gayle and Mackail-Smith and I hope the club’s fans remember that on Sunday!
“Seriously though I’ve been back a few times since I left and I usually enjoy it. Peterborough are a well-run club and I’m pleased they are having a decent run.
“Graham Westley’s done really well. Lots of clubs have a good run of form when a new manager takes over before they return to normality, but in Peterborough’s case that ‘normality’ might actually be of a very high standard. We know we are in for a difficult game. Peterborough play the midfield diamond formation very effectively and they are in great form, but we will arrive confident we can win the game.”
Still’s immediate future has been the subject of much speculation in recent weeks as Luton’s season has yet to catch fire.
The Hatters are currently 14th in League Two and Still accepts that isn’t good enough for a club of their stature.
“When I was manager of Dagenham I turned down lots of job offers,” Still added. “But Luton was too big to turn down. I wanted to bring them back into the Football League and then get them up one more division.
“I still think I can. This is a great football club with great support. We’ve suffered a bit with injuries this season. For instance Mackail-Smith was on fire when he picked up a niggle and he’s only just come back.
“Nathan Doyle and Pelly Ruddock are another two outstanding players who have been out with injuries, but I am still confident that we will at least reach the top six by the end of the season.
“We have some good players here and I hope they put on a good show at Peterborough. I don’t obsess about FA Cup draws, but this was one of the better ties we could have received. I’m expecting a good crowd and a very good game of football. And a Luton win of course!”