Darren Ferguson’s Posh side avoided relegation in their first season after returning to the second tier by finishing 18th, ten points above the drop zone. Peterborough aim to stabilise in the Championship before eventually pushing for promotion. But how quickly can all of this be achieved?
It’s Round and It’s White spoke to Posh season ticket holder Patrick Moore (@paddyposh) to get the lowdown on the side’s chances this season.
How did last season measure up, compared to your expectations?
Most Posh fans went into last season expecting to go down, or to be very close to going down. I had a feeling we could pull off a shock and finish in the top 14, in the end we survived but not entirely comfortably as some make out. In terms of performances, we were very good for the majority of games but our inability to defend as a team let us down time after time.
The start of the season was great, we were riding high in the opening few months of the season, and by Christmas, most people thought we were already safe. Well we were a long way from it. The second half of our season was like watching a different team, we took very little points in comparison to the previous few months and the mood was drastically becoming more and more negative within the crowd. Towards the end of the season though, one of the most important games for us was away at Coventry, where we came away with a 2-2 draw. This kept them beneath us and was an important point.
The two standout games for me as a Posh fan last season have to be the two latter home ties with Reading and Blackpool, where we convincing beat two of the best footballing sides in the division. These not long after dreadful performances in the second half of the season, such as away at Barnsley where we played by far the worst team in the league based on their performance that day, and against the poor 10 man Barnsley we also played like a team of Conference players.
What do you think of your club’s summer transfer activity, are there more arrivals/exits on the horizon?
We have strengthened the squad considerably in the summer, without losing any key players as of yet. Michael Bostwick, Shaun Brisley, Tyrone Barnett, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Johnson Clarke-Harris, Bobby Olejnik, Danny Swanson and Nathaniel Knight-Percival have all joined us over the summer. Barnett and Brisley were on loan for the second half of last season but tied up permanent deals at the start of the transfer window. Overall I am very happy with the players we have brought in, and after watching them in pre-season I am pretty excited for the season ahead. The key arrival could well be that of £1m man Michael Bostwick. Coming from Stevenage, this is the sort of player we have been after for a few years; strong, quick, powerful, enforcer style midfielder who can also pass the ball very well. In my opinion, Michael will be one of the most important players this season. Swanson was also a very good capture, coming from Dundee United he has SPL experience which will be our benefit. The lad is small, but on first impressions appears very tough, quick and skilful on the ball.
What would be a dream new season for you?
If we were to survive, it would be huge for us considering the size of our club and the money we have available. In terms of a dream season, I would say breaking into the top 12 would be phenomenal; it won’t happen of course, but we can dream!
What would be your worst nightmare?
Losing Darren Ferguson and Darragh. No question. A great partnership in manager and chairman. Ferguson likes to play football the right way, and Darragh backs him to the sky in what he believes in. Long may it continue. These two are more important than any player who thinks he is bigger than the club.
Who will be your most important player/s this season?
If everyone stays, I would say George Boyd, Michael Bostwick and Paul Taylor will be the three key players along with also captain Gabriel Zakuani. We need big games from the whole team though week after week if we are to succeed this season, we can’t afford to carry anyone where last season at times we did. But those four I would say will be the key men, if they all stay of course.
Do you have the best manager for the job?
With the resources we have, absolutely. Darren is a great man manager and can get the best out of the players he has. He is also a huge believer in youth and in the previous couple of seasons we have seen numerous youth team players progress up to the first team. Joe Newell and Kosi Nthle are the two standout examples, Joe can play anywhere across the middle and Kosi who is a Left Back. Many people are touting Joe Newell as the next George Boyd, and that is down to the Fergie giving him games and getting the best out of him.
Opposition players that you despise?
I don’t despise many opposition players, there are a few who tend to wind me up whenever we play against them though, the two main ones for me are El Hadji Diouf and Adam Clayton, both now at Leeds United. Diouf is well known for how he plays his football, and in both fixtures last season Clayton was trying to buy everything, moaning at every opportunity to the referee and overall seems quite unpleasant to play against. In terms of a team, Brighton. Not because of who they are, but because of the way their manager Gus Poyet gets them to behave on the football pitch.
Best away fans/ground in your league?
The best away fans who came to London Road last season I would say were Leeds. Very vocal and brought 5,000 to London Road. After speaking to most clubs’ fans they seem to be of the opinion that for away fans, London Road is the best ground to visit in the Championship, as it has a 4,000 capacity terrace as well as around 1600 seats as well. The terrace is soon to be obsolete though, unfortunately.
In terms of the best ground I went to last season, I would say my favourite for atmosphere would be between West Ham and Nottingham Forest, but in terms of design I am a huge fan of The New Den. The way Millwalls ground is designed is how I would want PUFCs ground to be done; 4 separate stands all which have the same design.
Which teams do you really want to beat this season?
I always enjoy playing Leicester and Forest, because they are so close and consider them as our new rivals (for us, anyway) as our traditional rivals Northampton and Cambridge are both languishing in the lower leagues. Beating those two teams home and away would be brilliant for most Posh fans. There has also been a rivalry develop over the past couple of seasons with Huddersfield Town, with them seemingly developing a hatred for Peterborough after we ended their unbeaten run at Old Trafford in the 2010/2011 League One Playoff Final (3-0). Now they have finally escaped League One, I dare say both fixtures will be highly charged on the pitch and in the stands, and beating them would be very satisfying indeed.
Finally, where do you honestly think you will finish?
After strengthening our squad in the summer, I believe we will finish around 16th. The Championship is a lot stronger this season so it will be a very hard season, with the teams coming up and the teams who have dropped down into our league all being big clubs, all with much more money than us. If we can keep our two star players George Boyd and Paul Taylor, at least until January, I think our season will be a success and better than last years. If we lose them two however, and don’t replace them with equal quality, I would expect a struggle down the bottom until the final week.
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