DAR­RAGH’S DECADE

The Peter­bor­ough United chair­man has just com­pleted 10 years ser­vice. ALAN SWANN looks back on a ‘decade of Dar­ragh’

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Front Page -

It was Septem­ber 18, 2006 when the Peter­bor­ough Evening Tele­graph re­vealed Peter­bor­ough United had been pur­chased by a brash, wealthy Ir­ish­man called Dar­ragh MacAn­thony. Few would have pre­dicted the next 10 years would see such great highs and oc­ca­sion­ally huge lows. Well apart from Dar­ragh him­self.

He stated Premier League foot­ball within seven-10 years was his ul­ti­mate goal, along with the con­struc­tion of a 30,000-seat sta­dium.

The ET’s front page story from 10 years ago car­ried quotes from Dar­ragh. They in­cluded: “I am not just in­vest­ing in a foot­ball club. I am in­vest­ing in a city.

“Be­fore I tok the plunge, I checked out the city and it is ob­vi­ous Peter­bor­ough has mas­sive growth po­ten­tial. If we can grow to­gether, handin-hand, that would be per­fect.

“I know some peo­ple are scep­ti­cal be­cause I am a prop­erty developer, but I can as­sure ev­ery­one that I am here pur­ley for the foot­ball.

“I am no Ro­man Abramovich, but I want suc­cess, and I also want some fun on the way. I won’t be treat­ing this club as a play­thing.

“You have to dream (about Premier League f oot­ball and a new sta­dium) and why shouldn’t it hap­pen?

“I am pas­sion­ate about the im­por­tant things in my life and that now in­cludes Peter­bor­ough United.” 10 Years on Dar­ragh has kindly penned a piece sum­ming up his decade at Lon­don Road... “My ex­pe­ri­ence has been an in­cred­i­ble one, high and lows in­cluded, and more then I ever ex­pected when buy­ing a foot­ball club.

“Of course no- one saw 2008/09 hap­pen­ing in the fi­nan­cial world and this of course changed my plans for Posh overnight in a way, but if I’m be­ing hon­est own­ing the club kept me sane, busy and with a pur­pose be­tween 2008-2012 as there was a lot of hor­ri­ble stuff go­ing on in my busi­ness life and for that I ’ll al­ways be thank­ful.

“I have met so many in­ter­est­ing char­ac­ters within the game and ex­pe­ri­enced some real eye-open­ing mo­ments through ne­go­ti­at­ing trans­fers which for some­body who has sold real es­tate in 20 dif­fer­ent coun­tries says some­thing about the foot­ball in­dus­try!

“The fans took to me from day one and have, 99 per cent of the time, backed me with pa­tience, sup­port and un­der­stand­ing, and have al­ways been fan­tas­tic with my wife and chil­dren when­ever they at­tend a game.

“So many to men­tion with­out sound­ing ar­ro­gant, but the Trin­ity (Craig Mackal-Smith, Ge­orge Boyd and Aaron Mclean) is high up on the list cost­ing me just £500k for three untested, non-league lads who matched the pol­icy I drew up when buy­ing Posh. They proved that pol­icy worked with mul­ti­ple pro­mo­tions and mil­lions from their sales and one of them is cur­rently still play­ing in the Premier League. Buy­ing Dwight Gayle for £500k with only £50k of the in­stall­ments paid be­fore sell­ing him for £6m (now gone past £7.1 mil­lion) is se­ri­ous deal-mak­ing for a club like Peter­bor­ough. There was mas­sive per­sonal sat­is­fac­tion see­ing Conor Wash­ing­ton go for £2.75 mil­lion af­ter fight­ing with every man­ager to first re­cruit him, then to give him a chance, not to men­tion the many fans con­stantly moan­ing about his lack of qual­ity.” “Lots here to men­tion also, but prob­a­bly the £1 mil­lion I flushed down the drain re­cruit­ing a player that went against the DNA I in­sisted the club was built on play­ing-wise, when I signed Ty­rone Bar­nett from Craw­ley. The £600k spent on Jack Payne who should have gone to the top as he had the abil­ity, but pos­si­bly not the right at­ti­tude as of yet to do so. We spent over £700k on fees/ wages on a too-young Nicky Ajose who men­tally wasn’t ready for us or the Cham­pi­onship or League One, but is now show­ing what a top player he is 4/5 years later. That’s al­ways the risk with younger ones, some take longer then oth­ers, es­pe­cially those who come from the Premier League down. The ones from lower league/non-league are the op­po­site. I hon­estly feel Luke James will prove to be one like Ajose who will come good at 23/24 but again a lot of money in­vested for right player at the wrong time. “ “Lee Tom­lin, Boyd, Britt As­som­ba­longa, Gayle, Grant McCann, Ryan Ben­nett (I pur­posely won’t name cur­rent crop as un­fair to do so but a good few of them would make this ar­ti­cle).” 2-0 win at home to MK Dons in the sec­ond leg of the play-offs & “The night we lost in the Cham­pi­onship, but other re­sults con­firmed our Cham­pi­onship sta­tus for the fol­low­ing sea­son was a mas­sive achieve­ment and won­der­ful feel­ing. The bus pa­rades for when we were suc­cess­ful and the city came out to show how proud they were of their foot­ball club. “Hon­estly no idea at the mo­ment. I’m fight­ing the odds con­stantly day-to-day own­ing Posh and at times it’s pretty ex­haust­ing and mas­sively un­re­ward­ing from afar. But it’s a chal­lenge I have an in­sa­tiable ap­petite for as I like to win. Af­ter I get Posh into the Cham­pi­onship and sort sta­dium is­sues out, I make no guar­an­tees of what’s next, but it’ll def­i­nitely be foot­ball for me. I love it even though it doesn’t love me some­times.”

The Holy Trin­ity - Craig Mack­ail-Smith, Aaron Mclean and Ge­orge Boyd.

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