Saturday 26th January 2019 was a very strange day for Peterborough United Football club. After a reasonably solid performance against Charlton Athletic which resulted in a 0-0 draw, Steve Evans lost his job immediately after the game – with the club announcing the appointment of Darren Ferguson under two hours later.
I’ve never claimed to be Steve Evans’ biggest fan, he’s a controversial character and a bit of a villain within the footballing world – a persona I think he enjoys playing up to. When Grant McCann was sacked, prematurely in my opinion, Steve Evans was the man with the best CV who we could realistically attract. Say what you like about him, at this level he gets results. Not only that, he kept one of the worst championship sides I’ve seen in Rotherham in that division. Nothing short of heroic. Once I digested the McCann sacking, I was fully behind Steve Evans and the mission ahead.
Darragh employed Evans – the ‘serial promotion winner’ to overhaul the squad and build a new one to get the club into the division above – a league above our station, but it really is the place to be. 22 signings later, Evans had his squad. We’ve played some unbelievable stuff this season, mainly away from home however the polar opposite at home. I understand we’ve not played the most attractive style of football so far this season, something we’ve discussed on The Yellow Block Podcast throughout the season so far, but we sit in 6th. To sack Steve Evans after setting him the task of the rebuild and promotion in January when we are sitting in the play offs, albeit only just, is an absolute farce. Where did the owners expect us to be? Top of the league? Some fans expect that, which you can’t really blame them for as they’ve been pumped with confidence and unrealistic aims over the past few seasons, but let’s sprinkle a bit of realism onto the situation.
Indeed our form has been quite poor in recent weeks, however check Evans’ record in the second half of the season; he comes good but we’ll never find out if he’d of completed his mission at Posh. I think McCann would have achieved promotion with us in the near future as well, but our owners are certainly trigger-happy. My prediction at the start of the season was 14th. I honestly thought after a new manager coming in, along with 20+ new signings we’d struggle. So in my opinion he was doing very well keeping us in the play offs. I think it shows a real arrogance from our club to not give him the season after the busy summer we had. If 6th isn’t good enough come January after 20+ signings then I don’t know what is. Yes, they’re his signings, the majority are crap, but the squad needed overhauling. Which makes the fact we’re in the play offs even more impressive.
Fast forward around an hour and a half – Darren Ferguson is appointed manager, for the third time. I doubt they’d have been many CV’s on the desk after the way the club has dealt with all of this, The club have acted incredibly poorly regarding this in my opinion. There was clearly an agreement in place before the Charlton fixture, I personally think it was decided at least a fortnight ago which is a huge disrespect to Steve Evans. Which isn’t something I’ll complain about too much as he’s not the most respectful of characters himself, however it made the club look like a laughing stock. A real classless chain of events.
I love Darren Ferguson, I don’t know how anyone can’t. Well maybe Preston fans, but Darragh has reverted to what he knows again. He’s on a deal until the end of the season, so is he the answer going forward? I’m not sure. He’s been in this situation before and got us promotion so I wouldn’t bet against him. Who would want the job in the summer though if it’s not Fergie? When it’s clear you don’t get the chance to build anything at this club. It’s not just Posh who operate this way, but it’s not a blueprint for success and never will be. This is something that needs to change if the club wants long term success. You can’t keep backing a manager in the transfer market, something the chairman has always done incredibly well, then sacking him half way through a season, bringing another manager in, letting him bring in his players, then he gets the sack! It’s a vicious circle, one that’ll ultimately lead to disappointment.
The top dogs at the club tell the fans to reign in their expectations, constantly reminding fans of attendances and budget restraints but maybe they should take that into consideration when deciding whether to part ways with their management team. Was he really doing that badly when all is considered?
I think Fergie is a bit of a yes man. I’m not suggesting for a minute that Darragh picks the teams or anything like that, but for example after the defeat to Portsmouth in the Ronseal trophy, Darragh publicly slated the formation etc. referring to Tomlin playing on the wing and saying numerous times he doesn’t like when we play one up front. However MacAnthony knew Steve Evans doesn’t share his love for a brand of ‘tikka takka’ type football so should of expected to be frustrated with some of his decisions. There must have been a severe breakdown in relationship between Evans and the Posh hierarchy for this decision to be made, otherwise it makes little sense to me. A Posh fan, Daz Lee made a good point to me on twitter, regarding Evans’ absence on the touchline in recent weeks; maybe his touchline antics irked the club owners? That may have contributed to this decision.
I’ll back Fergie to the hilt, he’s done incredible things at Posh. If he was to get us promoted it would be his greatest to date. The majority of the players signed in the summer by Evans wouldn’t be signed by Fergie in a month of Sundays, so it’ll be very interesting to see what happens. Let’s hope he really is recharged and ready to fire us up once more!
Up the Posh!
Ps. who’s got Boydy’s number? I’ll sort the van.