by Peterborough United manager Graham Westley
When I joined Peterborough United, I was asked how I felt about working for a chairman, Darragh MacAnthony, who had called out his squad on twitter and begged serious questions about them.
My response back then was that I knew the ‘kitchen’ that I was stepping into and that I wouldn’t dodge the bullets in a similar situation.
This week I was put to the test as my chairman unloaded on me and on the entire staff at Posh in a BBC radio interview. The essence of his message was that he has spent a lot of his own money on his football club and the club has not done enough winning to make it feel worthwhile.
He pointed at me, at the players and at the entire staff. Gates have fallen due to poor recent results and season ticket sales are behind where he wants them. The cost of our results is bigger than he is prepared to bear. So he put us all on warning that nobody’s job is safe. His message could not have been clearer.
I walked into our Press conference on Thursday to a barrage of questions about the subject. Inevitably, the focus was on my relationship with him and my reaction to the outburst.
Frankly, I loved what he said. He was straight, honest and to the point. He told us all exactly where we stood.
From my point of view, I could be defensive. I presided over a great run of results and some stunning performances in the first four months of my tenure. We performed in the Cup and received multi-million pound bids for players. But although I lost some key players to injury and sale, my reaction to that and our last two months of performances has not been good enough.
The chairman’s biggest issues with me have been that I’ve chopped and changed too much to try and find answers and I’ve been too tolerant of our new recruits and not demanding or positive enough with them to generate their performance.
On both counts, he has a fair point of criticism. I have tried to give everyone a fair chance to impress me and I haven’t managed to get enough results.
If I am honest, I signed too many new lads in January and our squad has become too big. Then, I have shown understanding of the lads stepping up from lower leagues and that tolerance has probably created too much understanding of the whole squad.
I definitely agree with him that stable selection and managerial demand are features in a winning environment.
So my reaction to him speaking out is positive. I embrace his message. We must all do much better and his requirement that we go for the title next year is fair enough.
We have a high quality squad at Peterborough which we will fine-tune this summer. It needs significant slimming down and it needs key man additions.
But we proved earlier this season that the essence of a title-winning squad is in place. With a strong pre-season behind us, we will go into 2016-17 with a strong unity between ourselves, with our fans and with our chairman.
In his own words, he is a winner and he is demanding success not asking for it.
I don’t think anybody could wish for stronger leadership than that and, knowing the people at our club, I will not be the only one going all out to make sure he gets what he wants.