I’d quite like another 10 years

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - World Of Sport -

Igave it two years max­i­mum. Af­ter all I’d heard it all be­fore. Busi­ness­men with ex­ag­ger­ated wealth mak­ing out­ra­geous prom­ises be­fore re­al­is­ing the world of foot­ball is a tough one in which to thrive and pros­per.

I didn’t change my mind af­ter meet­ing Dar­ragh MacAn­thony (pic­tured, right, in 2006) for the first time. He’d made a vast for­tune, at a very young age, in the prop­erty world which set the alarm bells ring­ing for a start, given he was tak­ing over a prime city cen­tre site.

But 10 years later the big man is still here. So is the foot­ball club and those two facts are prob­a­bly con­nected. And thank the lord for that. I dread to think where Posh would be with­out him. Not chal­leng­ing for pro­mo­tion from League One that’s for sure.

It is of course easy to revel in the good times and Dar­ragh, in ca­hoots with his bright young man­ager Dar­ren Fer­gu­son, de­liv­ered plenty of those in the early days.

But it’s far more dif­fi­cult to re­tain your pas­sion, en­thu­si­asm and drive when times are rough. And there have been some se­ri­ously rough patches in the last 10 years, on a per­sonal level as well as within the foot­ball club.

But Dar­ragh hasn’t baled out as soon as things didn’t go his way. He’s no David Cameron. He ad­mit­ted his per­sonal wealth took a hit when the prop­erty mar­ket crashed a few years ago, but he’s still in there fight­ing against low at­ten­dances, high rents and mas­sive ex­pec­ta­tions, the lat­ter be­ing a by-prod­uct of the suc­cess he gen­er­ated in his early years at the club.

The dif­fer­ence then was Posh could af­ford to hang on to their su­per­stars like Ge­orge Boyd and Craig Mack­ailSmith.Now, partly be­cause of those wor­ry­ing at­ten­dances, it’s not so easy. The pock­ets aren’t quite so deep, although some of the fi­nan­cial com­mit­ments Dar­ragh still makes to the club are eye-wa­ter­ing to us mor­tals.

Of course Dar­ragh hasn’t been per­fect. No chair­man who ap­pointed Mark Cooper, Dave Robert­son and Gra­ham West­ley could ever claim to be that.

They were op­ti­mistic punts, but then so was the orig­i­nal ap­point­ment of Fer­gu­son.

But then Dar­ragh has earned the right to make the odd mis­take.

His open­ness with fans is (with the ex­cep­tion of his fail­ure to ig­nore the post-match trolling on Twit­ter) viewed with jeal­ousy by fans of other clubs.

I re­mem­ber the days when get­ting the likes of (past Posh chair­man) John De­vaney to say ‘no com­ment’ was seen as a ma­jor tri­umph.

Now a de­sire to keep the fans in­formed takes pri­or­ity over a des­per­a­tion for se­crecy.

Dar­ragh can also be a lit­tle thin-skinned, but my ex­pe­ri­ence is of a man who doesn’t bear a grudge even when he is in com­plete dis­agree­ment.

Why? Dar­ragh is ba­si­cally just a fan of Posh like the rest of us.

He wants the same thing. Suc­cess. But he puts his money where his mouth is.

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