Our assault on League 1 starts in under 3 weeks, and I can honestly say I’ve never been this excited for a season to start. In the last article I wrote, just after Evans was sacked I stated how Fergie needs to be supported and backed to build a squad capable of competing at the top end of the league within the next 3 seasons. It’s safe to say Darragh, Jason and Randy have certainly done that.
Rewind to when Fergie took over from Evans, we looked lost; a squad full of seasoned football league donkeys – that’s aimed at you Mr Daniel. We looked a long, long way off the attacking free flowing Posh we’ve known and loved over the past 12 or so years. I didn’t think it would be possible to return to that within a summer, hence why I stated after a couple of seasons under Fergie we’d be in a position to challenge at the top end of the league.
Fast forward a couple of months and we have assembled, in my opinion, our best squad for a decade. Our recruitment this summer has staggered me, genuinely. I was expecting positive changes, especially with the trio of owners so hungry for success. I had the pleasure of meeting co-owner Jason Neale when he came to The Yellow Block towers to record an episode of our Podcast. I was impressed and left the studio more excited for the future than I was when I had arrived. Jason came across very well, a polite, softly spoken gentleman who naturally you respect given his success in business. However he fitted in with us so well, another passionate football fan who happens to be an owner of the club we love. Jason and Randy have brought new ideas to the club, a new drive, a new energy along with supporting Darragh in his mission to get Posh where he’s always seen us – in the championship.
The Championship is exactly where I believe we will be, come May 2020. I don’t predict promotion every season. I thought we’d finish 14th last year. I’m going top 4 this time around. This isn’t clouded judgement because George Boyd has returned, although the euphoria I felt when I saw he had re-signed was like no other, I could genuinely walk in to find him ploughing my wife into the wall insulation and I’d stick the kettle on for the man. He’s a Posh god. I’ve never been one to adore players, except Boyd and McCann. They’re my exceptions.
Boyd has been absolutely fantastic for us over the years, a top pro, that never pushed for a move that his talent and work rate deserved. He pulled us through games in the Championship, his back heel against Reading, the volley V Scunthorpe. A proper leader through performances. Not to mention crackers V Huddersfield Town and Boston United. I’m so glad he went onto ply his trade in the Premier League and earn the riches on offer in that division. I’ve always said if he had pace, he’d have got there a lot sooner, and when he did, he was deployed as a workhorse rather than the skilful winger we all know him as.
I thought we’d sign Boyd again one day, this season possibly only if we got to the 2nd tier. Jason was talking about the clubs plan A and B plan at the back end of last season. Plan A being if we got promoted and Plan B if we failed, like we did. I did think signing Boyd may be a slight possibility in Plan A, never in a million years did I think he would be a part of plan B. It’s a huge statement of intent by the club, a truly wonderful signing. A huge hats off to Darragh, Jason, Randy, Darren and Aaron McLean who no doubt pinged off a few texts to George, in between watching Love Island of course. I did mention signing George Boyd to Jason in the studio. Did he respond? No, did I plant the seed? Of course.
“If we were a championship club right now, I’d be delighted with our transfer business so I’m absolutely elated we’ve managed to recruit so well going into our 7th season in League 1”.
Looking at other new arrivals, starting from the back; Christy Pym, a solid keeper who’s earned his stripes at Exeter, It will be easy to improve on last season’s keepers. Mark Beevers is a fantastic signing, installed as our new captain already and rightly so. By all means a Championship defender. Frankie Kent, a highly rated defender with plenty of Football League experience, he’ll join Beevers in the centre back berths. We’ve also finally signed proper Posh full backs. Niall Mason at right back, solid in defence but even better going forward, then we’ve got Dan Butler – arguably our best deal of the summer – a superb left back with a tremendous delivery and engine on him. Colin Daniel was our left back last season, Dan Butler this, need I say any more?
We’ve smashed our transfer record too of course, with the signing of Mo Eisa – again reverting to the classic Posh type striker; electric pace and constant harrowing of defenders. Eisa will be a superb signing, I’m going 20+ goals in all competitions next season. We’ve plucked some lesser known players from lower divisions as well, just like we did with Boyd, in Blake-Tracey and Tasdemir. The latter looking very promising from pre-season run outs. If we were a championship club right now, I’d be delighted with our transfer business so I’m absolutely elated we’ve managed to recruit so well going into our 7th season in League 1.
It’s players currently with us who excite me just as much as the new arrivals. Ivan Toney – he has the lot and I’m tipping him to be our top goal scorer next season. Siriki Dembele is another – a mixed bag last season, all the flicks and tricks but little end product. I feel this will be his season where he really kicks on. I hope it is, mainly because my fellow co-host of the podcast Matt Kisby thinks Dembele is terrible and only good for making cups of tea in the changing room. He’s wrong and I can’t wait for him to be proven so.
Marcus Maddison is the last of the crop from last season who gets me buzzing for this campaign. I got slated last season, and rightly so, after saying on the podcast that I’d sell Marcus this summer. That was never based on his ability, he’s a fantastic footballer at League 1 level and could play and shine in the championship with ease in my opinion. His attitude has always seemed to be an issue however, but under Fergie he plays his best football. I really hope his £2.5m release clause isn’t met this summer.
It’s possible we can fit Boyd, given his new role in the middle of the park, Dembele, Maddison, Toney and Eisa all in the same 11 next season. That is absolute madness at this level. Goals galore, with finishers like Toney and Eisa, being played through by the likes of Maddison, Boyd, Dembele and no doubt from Butler down the left. Look at the defence, Pym, Mason, Beevers, Kent, Butler and Naismith. Very solid on paper you must say. I expect us to blow lots of teams away next year like we’ve done before, if the defence is as strong as it looks promotion is a very real possibility. Bring on August 3rd. Until then, I’ll continue walking in a delirious Boydy wonderland!
UP THE POSH!