It’s a regular occurrence to see English Football Teams on TVs across the United States at the moment. The Premier League is arguably the most popular league in the world and many of the most beloved English teams are on display regularly for the American audience. However my team is not! For close to twenty years, I’ve been supporting Peterborough United Football Club. The club is known by the nickname “The POSH”. They do not play in the Premier League. Nor do they play (at the moment) in the Championship. The POSH are a League 1 team which means that they are in the third tier of English Football. Since they are not on the television often, I follow my favorite team weekly through the internet by watching highlights and interviews on Youtube etc. This week I’ll be making my second trip to watch a match at their home, The ABAX Stadium (formerly London Road) and I can’t wait!
My interest in the POSH was completely unexpected. My girlfriend (now wife) bought me the first XBox and the FIFA video game to go along with it. At first I used Liverpool as my team because as a young player I had watched soccer videos with Kevin Keegan. Eventually I got bored with how easy it was to win the league. So I decided to choose a lower league team and get them promoted to the Premier League. As I was searching through the lower league teams, I found Peterborough. Since my name is Pete, it seemed like a fine choice. My POSH teams on the XBox were usually a combination of quality POSH players and a few of my favorite American or English players. Brian McBride and Scot Thompson were regulars in the digital version of the blue and white.
After playing the game with the POSH for a while, I decided to look into how the team was in real life. It was very casual at first but the season they got into a relegation battle really drew me in. After that I followed the team regularly online by reading the match reports and checking Skysports.com. The POSH forum at LondonRoad.net was another way that I got information relevant to the club. The slow burn of my love for POSH got a large log thrown upon it in September of 2006 when Darragh MacAnthony became chairman of the club. He stated that his ambition was to do exactly what I had done in the video game world. If I wasn’t hooked before, I was all in at that point. My newborn son had a full kit and I wore POSH blue (or bright yellow) regularly. In addition to game days, I wore the POSH colors whenever I ran long distance races.
In 2007 I decided that it was time to visit London Road to attend a match. It was possibly the most frugally planned trip that I could arrange. I was in England for three nights including one in a basement room of a one star hotel in London. It was an amazing trip! The main reasons that the trip was amazing were all POSH related. The team beat MK Dons 4-0 despite Shane Blackett getting sent off in the second half. After the match, I waited around for autographs from the players and coaches. Shwan Jalal and Craig Mackail-Smith were particularly nice to me. Unfortunately I did not get to meet the new manager, Darren Ferguson. At that moment, I mainly knew him as Sir Alex’s son. Eventually he would become one of the best POSH managers by putting Darragh’s plan for promotion into effect. By signing ambitious young players and putting them into a system that created boatloads of goals, he has become my favorite manager.
So after a twelve year absence, I finally get to return to Peterborough. Many things have changed but many have not. Darren Ferguson is the manager but he is on his third spell with the club. The club is still ambitious but pragmatic in its approach. On the outside looking in on playoff spots, there is a slim possibility that they’ll make the cutoff. Regardless I am still hopeful that I’ll get the chance to see one of the games culminating in a playoff promotion success. I know that it will be a great atmosphere having watched “Sunderland ’til I die!” recently, it’s obvious they have passionate fans. Regardless, I can’t wait to be there! It may require thousands of miles of travel and over ten years of waiting but I’m proud to be a POSH fan! Supporting Man United would just be too easy!