Let’s ensure the name Chris Turner will never be forgotten at Peterborough United

Former Peterborough United player and manager Chris Turner, who is battling dementia. Picture: www.theposhpics.com Former Peterborough United player and manager Chris Turner, who is battling dementia. Picture: www.theposhpics.com

Friday, April 25, 2014
11:33 AM

As the impressive new stand at London Road takes shape, I’m sure there will be much discussion about what it should be named.

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Time for a taming of the Shrews

Posh need to be ruthless as they head into tomorrow’s vital League One match at Shrewsbury Town.

It’s bound to be an atmosphere full of high emotion as defeat for The Shrews will send them back down to League Two.

I’m sure Posh will take no pleasure in being the side that relegates their opponents, but we need to avoid getting caught up in the emotion and be clinical in securing the win that guarantees our place in the play-offs.

Swindon are now the only club who can beat us to sixth place and I certainly don’t want to go into the last game of the season at home to Port Vale with the pressure of knowing we still need a result to make the play-offs.

The last week has been typical of an inconsistent season at London Road. A poor first-half performance and sending off of Shaun Brisley saw us lose at Bradford, before we made light work of beating Carlisle 4-1 at home on Monday. It was yet another strong home performance, which was our fourth London Road victory in a row. Nine goals scored and just one conceded in this run shows a level of consistency that has been missing for much of the season. However, we’ve lost the last three away league games, so there’s still much to improve.

Darren Ferguson continues to chop and change his side, which, given the up and down performances is understandable. However, it would be good if we could find our best 11 ahead of what we hope will be a successful play-off campaign.

But for me, there is no debate. It should be called the Chris Turner Stand in tribute to a true legend who successfully served the club as a player and manager.

News has emerged in recent weeks of Turner’s battle with dementia and every Posh fan should take some time out to remember the big man’s years of sterling service to Peterborough United.

I’m too young to remember Turner as a player, but fans who did watch him from the terraces speak of his immense presence at the heart of the Posh defence, which helped the club win the Division Four title in 1974. Chris Turner first came to my attention when he returned to the club in the early part of 1991. Many hailed him as a saviour, but few could imagine the immediate impact he would have.

Posh had been languishing in the bottom division since 1979 and were going nowhere fast. Early optimism in the 1990-91 season that former Liverpool player Mark Lawrenson would bring success to the club proved unfounded after he resigned and successor Dave Booth was sacked after a poor run of results.

Enter Chris Turner in January 1991. Only the most optimistic fan could have thought he would be able to steer Posh to promotion that season. I still remember his first game in charge away at Walsall where a sizeable travelling contingent were buoyed by a new wave of optimism. Posh won 1-0 and never looked back as Turner oversaw a 13-match unbeaten run, which propelled us into the automatic promotion places.

The success just kept coming as Turner led Posh to back-to-back promotions, which saw us in the second tier of English football for the first time in our history.

Even more remarkable was our 10th-place finish in the old Division One (now the Championship), which is still the club’s best-ever performance in the Football League.

In just over two years, Turner had taken Posh from obscurity in Division Four to a position where the term “punching above our weight” doesn’t even come close to describing what had been achieved.

Despite the success, there were no airs and graces with Turner. He came across as a humble man of the people who was simply doing his duty for Peterborough United Football Club.

The image of Turner celebrating on the pitch at Wembley after his side’s famous victory in the 1992 play-off final will live with me for ever. The fact he turned up in Peterborough city centre later that night to celebrate with ecstatic fans spoke volumes for his character.

Now the club should make sure the name of Chris Turner is remembered by all Posh fans and recognised by future generations by naming the new stand after him.

It would be a fine tribute to a great man.

Where’s the staying power?

I always get a little irritated when there is an exodus of fans before the final whistle in a Posh victory.

I appreciate people want to get a head start out of the car parks or catch their buses, but it would be nice if fans could stay to applaud the players off, particularly after a fine performance.

Many fans are quick to moan when we don’t win, so they should praise the players when they put in a good performance, such as in Monday’s emphatic win over Carlisle.

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