1 April ~ Tonight's game between Peterborough and Bournemouth disproves the argument that a good manager is not as important as having the right players. Back in August, Bournemouth took Peterborough apart, winning 5-1. The Cherries were then managed by Eddie Howe, habitually referred to as the youngest boss in the League. During what was a tumultuous season for Posh in the Championship in 2009-10, Howe was approached to take over the club after the departure of Darren Ferguson. Wisely, he declined.
Bournemouth went on to win promotion from League Two, just behind Notts County who effectively bought the title on credit, while Peterborough lurched from one disaster to another. Firstly they appointed the wholly inexperienced Mark Cooper, who proved to completely out of his depth. His temporary successor Jim Gannon achieved better results but decided that he didn’t need striker Craig Mackail-Smith and tried to farm him out on loan. Thankfully, Gannon didn't take the manager's job on a full-time basis. Mackail-Smith, meanwhile, has gone on to be voted League One's player of the season for 2010-11. I doubt there’s a centre-back in the division who won’t be glad to see him move to the Championship in the summer, hopefully with Posh.
A demoralised side was taken over in April 2010 by Gary Johnson who oversaw some whopping losses at Reading, Southampton, Bournemouth and at home to Charlton. We were in the play-off positions when Johnson left two months ago but Mackail-Smith and his strike partners George Boyd and Lee Tomlin seemed to be carrying the team while the manager sat forlornly in the dugout without a clue how to stop us shipping goals. Nobody really knows why Darren Ferguson left, but since he came back in January he’s trebled the number of clean sheets this season while the goals are still flowing for us, now up to 100 in all competitions.
Bournemouth have still been impressive since Howe’s departure for Burnley but have now four games without a win at a crucial time of the season. Whatever happens tonight and for the rest of the season, both teams can realistically look forward to possibly having the support of the nation in an Old Trafford play off final against Franchise FC. Darren Fletcher