Darren Ferguson - Saint or Sinner?
As a Preston North End manager, Ferguson was condemned by many of the fans as the Lilywhites were stuck firmly to the bottom of the Championship table, eventually being relegated. However, the same man at Peterborough has managed three promotions in three years at the London Road club after a 3-0 League 1 Play-Off final win against Huddersfield at Old Trafford.
So, is Darren Ferguson the future of football management or will he potentially live in his father’s shadow throughout his managerial career?
Preston North End
Ferguson took charge of North End in 49 games, losing 25 of these and ending his 11-month stint at Deepdale with a 27% win ratio.
As well as Welbeck, Ferguson brought in Paul Coutts and Craig Morgan from his first spell at Peterborough but the inevitable slump never looked like improving as Welbeck picked up an injury and players and fans alike lost confidence in Ferguson.
Ferguson was sacked by the North End board on December 29 2010 following a 3-1 home defeat against relegation rivals Middlesborough. This opened the way for former Hull City boss, Phil Brown, to take charge but even Brown couldn’t manage a victory in his first twelve games at Deepdale. A good run of form, however, saw North End beat Swansea and Sheffield United but a 1-0 home defeat to Cardiff in April cemented a place in League One for the side from Preston next season.
Speaking to a few North End fans around the time that Ferguson was in charge, it was clear that he wasn’t a favourite on the terraces. Many blamed his tactics and others criticised his player choice also adding that perhaps Darren was living off his father’s fame and that management at Championship level was too tough for the Scot.
Perhaps Ferguson is more at home managing in the lower tiers of English football after seeing two sides he has managed in the Championship go on to be relegated after being sacked, however, he is a young manager and with the contacts he has involved in the game, it is likely that he will get that extra bit of instruction and encouragement that will see him rise to the top of British football management in the future.
Darren Ferguson has taken charge of 172 Peterborough United games, losing just 46 with a winning ratio of 51%.
Ferguson has led ‘The Posh’ to three promotions in as many years, taking them to the second tier of English football twice, and this year he aims to stay there. A convincing 3-0 Play-Off final win against Huddersfield saw the end to Craig Mckail Smith’s Peterborough career as he leaves to sign for a Premier League side and Ferguson knows from past experience that he has to bring in Championship quality players if his London Road side have any chance of avoiding the drop back into League One.
The Scot has already tabled a club record-breaking bid for MK Dons striker, Sam Baldock, an emerging young British talent and, together with club owner Darragh MacAnthony, has his eyes set on a few more players to strengthen the squad.
This year, Ferguson has pledged that he cannot stay faithful to the side that were promoted out of League One and a number of these players have been transfer listed including Charlie Lee and James Wesolowski, both of whom played an integral part in the Play-Off final victory.
In contrast to Preston North Ends fans, the faithful at London Road see Ferguson as a saviour. The future of Peterborough United looks bright with Ferguson at the helm and credit must go to the Scot and MacAnthony for persuading the likes of Lewis, Boyd and Mckail-Smith to remain at the club over last few years, with their sights set on reaching Championship football.
All that is left to be seen is whether Ferguson can shrug of his NPower Championship demons and lead his Peterborough side to safety and towards a mid-table place in England’s second tier of football.