Alasdair McGregor: Brace yourselves, Posh fans, winter is coming and we must be ready to battle
PUBLISHED: 06:30 17 January 2014
“When it’s a battle, you ******* battle!”
I’ve removed the expletive, but it’s the now infamous quote spluttered from the mouth of former Posh boss Steve Bleasdale as he berated his players on the Sky TV documentary Big Ron Manager several years ago.
Posh fans won’t want to remember much from Bleasdale’s short stint as manager, but the club could do worse than blast out a recording of his battle cry to today’s beleaguered squad, who hit rock bottom this week after their home FA Cup defeat to non-league Kidderminster.
Posh were in desperate straits with Bleasdale at the helm when Barry Fry struck a deal with Sky to allow Big Ron Atkinson to come in as a consultant as part of a fly-on-the-wall documentary.
The series made something of a laughing stock of Posh, but it wasn’t long before businessman Darragh MacAnthony came to the rescue, spending big on young talent and enjoying three promotions.
It’s important to recognise the club is still in a much better state than the pre-Darragh era, but there’s no doubt the genial Irishman is facing the biggest test of his tenure as the club’s owner and chairman.
At the same time as Posh were being dumped out of the FA Cup, a League One win for Walsall saw us drop out of the play-off positions for the first time this season.
Last weekend’s reverse at Swindon left Posh reflecting on a dreadful record of nine defeats in 12 league games and fans were left wondering what was going on in the mind of Darragh after he disappeared from his usual choice of communication, Twitter.
He returned to the social media forum on Wednesday to release a statement in which you could almost feel his pain at what’s happened to the club. He spoke of his embarrassment and accepted that fans had the right to be angry.
He rightly hit out at the players, saying they’d fallen below the standards expected but, significantly, continued to back manager Darren Ferguson – who has come under increasing fire from supporters.
I must admit that I’d begun to wonder if the big news story on Wednesday would be that Darragh had finally lost patience with Fergie and pulled the plug on his second stint as the club’s manager.
I don’t think there would have been many raised eyebrows if Fergie had been relieved of his duties, but in fairness to Darragh, he’s moved quickly to back his manager again.
Darragh’s ploughed a lot of money into the club and I’d much rather have him at the helm than Vincent Tan, of Cardiff, or Assem Allam, of Hull.
Which brings it all back to the “when it’s a battle, you battle” quote. This should apply to everyone involved with Peterborough United Football Club – the chairman, directors, management team, players and the fans.
Darren Ferguson, speaking before the Kidderminster game, said the supporters had a big part to play in the club’s battle to salvage the season. He’s right, but it’s a two-way street and we’ve got to be convinced that all the players who have the privilege of pulling on the blue shirt are up for the battle.
Up the Posh!
Tomlin not helping his own cause
Lee Tomlin has let himself, the club and the fans down with his second sending off of the season and now he must repay us all by helping salvage something from this season.
We could sell Tomlin in this transfer window, but that would be the easy option, in my opinion Besides, how many managers would be interested in signing a player with disciplinary problems such as Tomlin’s?
Tomlin was angry when Posh turned down summer bids from Celtic and has made no secret of the fact he wants to play at a higher level than League One.
But Tomlin is under contract to Posh and he needs to give his all to the cause.
Getting suspended regularly helps no-one – especially himself as he tries to show off his talents in the shop window.
It’s now up to Tomlin to knuckle down and prove his worth to the club. If he manages to turn our season around, he may well get his pick of clubs in the summer.
In the meantime, Lee Tomlin owes us big time.
Snubs are very disappointing
Posh’s ability to pluck promising young players from the lower leagues has been one of the big success stories of the MacAnthony-Ferguson era.
It’s disappointing, therefore, that our two main targets of this transfer window have turned down moves to London Road.
Not content with turning down Posh for Huddersfield, Kidderminster winger Joe Lolley rubbed salt into the wounds with the winning goal against us on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Rochdale hotshot Scott Hogan has chosen to stay at Spotland, despite Dale accepting a big offer from Posh.
I hope Posh haven’t lost their attractiveness to lower league players. We’ve shown time and again that we can improve players before allowing them to move on.
Perfect opportunity for United
On paper, back-to-back home league games against Tranmere (tomorrow) and Notts County (Tuesday) would appear to give Posh the perfect opportunity to get our season back on track.
We’ve already beaten Tranmere 5-0 on two occasions this season while we beat Notts County 4-2 at Meadow Lane.
Posh have to win both games to give us any chance of getting back into the promotion race, but don’t expect either match to be a walkover like the matches from earlier this season.
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then and Posh need to ensure they chalk up six more points against teams we should be able to beat at home.