MEMORY MATCH: Peterborough v PNE, January 2010

Darren Ferguson was appointed as PNE managerin January, 2010

Darren Ferguson was appointed as PNE managerin January, 2010

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There was more than a sense of irony in the air when Darren Ferguson registered his first victory as Preston manager.

Appointed at Deepdale just a few days into 2010, the son of Sir Alex had to wait until January 26 to secure his first three points for PNE.

And that victory came against Peterborough United – the club which sacked him just three months earlier!

Ferguson had enjoyed unprecedented success in his time at United, leading the club to two successive promotions.

However, Posh had struggled in their first season back in the Championship 
and were rooted to the bottom of the division when Ferguson was fired.

And on the eve of his first return to London Road, Ferguson was the subject of an astonishing attack by Posh chairman Darragh MacAnthony.

In a statement which was published on the club’s website, MacAnthony apologised to Posh supporters for the disastrous campaign and added: “Nobody has been good enough this season and we have failed our fans in the worst possible way.

“The team spirit from the last two years has nearly been destroyed by greed, skulduggery, tapping up and disloyalty from within and this has all occurred over the last 120 days or so, non-stop and is eating away at our inner core.”

After the match Ferguson was forced into defending his reputation rather than talking about Preston’s first win under his charge.

He said: “I am not happy about what was said and I have to defend myself against allegations of tapping up the Peterborough players and other items.

“I got the club into the Championship for the second time in 75 years and we should just leave it like that.

“It seems like they are trying to ruin my reputation. I wish I didn’t have to talk about those comments but I’m sure people appreciate my need to give my reaction.”

While Ferguson’s rift with his previous chairman may have garnered all the headlines in the following morning’s newspapers, he was thrilled to collect his first win as PNE boss.

It was Neil Mellor who struck the whole important winning goal in the 33rd minute as the visitors secured a precious 1-0 win.

“Neil did really well in a different role, not staying really wide and took his goal well. Overall the players deserve a lot of respect as it was never going to be an easy place to come with Peterborough fighting for their lives,” Ferguson said.

Although the former Manchester United midfielder’s arrival at Deepdale was met with much optimism, his time at the club did not work out.

On December 30, 2010, he was sacked with North End heading towards relegation from the Championship.

But in a further twist to the tale, less than two weeks later, Ferguson patched up his differences with MacAnthony and was reappointed as Peterborough manager – a position he still holds to this day.

He immediately guided Posh to promotion once more but could not prevent their relegation a couple of years later.