12 years after first taking to the dugout at Peterborough United, Darren Ferguson returned to London Road earlier this year for his third spell at the club, and after narrowly missing out on the Play-Offs by just a point last season, all eyes will be on promotion for the 2019/20 campaign.
Having had time to reflect since the 2018/19 season came to an end, Ferguson explained that whilst the initial approach from Chairman Darragh McAnthony came as a surprise, he had no doubts in returning.
“It feels great to be back at Peterborough. It’s a club I know very well, it’s my third time here, I still live locally and I’ve always had a great relationship with the Chairman,” he said.
“I took a break from management when I left Doncaster Rovers last year and I wanted to make sure I had a good break, which I really enjoyed but I always felt around January time I would be edging to get back into it and I was.
“For me, it had to be somewhere that had the ambition to get to the Championship and that’s why I had no doubts in going back to Peterborough. Their expectations have never changed since the Chairman took over, they still want and strive to be a Championship football club.
“With new owners coming in and the future plans such as the investment in youth development, I could see that the structure was in place for a bright future. It suited me.”
In his first spell he led the club to back-to-back promotions from League Two to the Championship before leaving by mutual consent in November 2009 when Peterborough were bottom of the second tier.
The Scot returned for a second time between 2011 and 2015, again leading the club into the Championship, however he believes that the club is in the strongest position it has ever been in as he enters his first full season since being re-appointed.
“It’s a slightly different club to the one I was at a few years ago and first time around. There’s a new structure in place, new owners coming in, new investment in youth and a new training ground – so things have changed and the structure is the strongest it’s been which a really exciting thing to be a part of.
“There seems to be a bit of a buzz around the place at the moment. As a manager you’ve got to manage expectations and fans expectations but we’ve been very strong in our recruitment so far. We’ve signed nine players now, a lot of which have been stand out signings that are getting people excited.
“Obviously last season we just missed out on the Play-Offs, but the recruitment we’ve done this summer has been done very quickly, we’ve got players in and we’re all happy with things so far.”
One signing that has caught the headlines is the return of fans favourite George Boyd. Boyd had previously made almost 300 appearances for Posh in a seven-year spell at the club before going on to represent Nottingham Forest, Hull City and Sheffield Wednesday. Ferguson expressed his delight in bringing him back to the club:
“Myself and George [Boyd] spoke in the summer – we’ve always kept in touch and we spoke about the possibility of coming back which he was keen to do. He wants to get another promotion on his CV, he wanted to go somewhere where there was a challenge and that he would enjoy the later part of his career.
“It wasn’t about money with him, it was about enjoying his football which he knows he’s going to be able to do here. For me – as a manager – to get him back to Peterborough United with the example he’ll set for the youngsters is just fantastic.
“As a manager I like to get a mix of youth and experience with the right characters and the right people. If you get that right it can go a long way.
“I’ve got to manage expectations throughout the season, there’s bound to be ups and downs but I do feel that the people I’ve signed are good people and that’s always a good sign for me.”