The day that Roy Keane got ‘The Posh’ treatment – Carl Marston’s Travels with Town
Football writer Carl Marston has visited 120 Football League grounds over the last 30 years, many of them reporting on Ipswich Town. Here he puts the spotlight on London Road
Peterborough United's London Road has often been the scene of desolation, whenever I have visited, and it was certainly not one of Roy Keane's favourite grounds.
One of Keane's low points - and there were many low points - during his 18 months as Ipswich Town manager was a visit to Posh for a lowly Championship battle on February 16, 2010.
I was not exactly brimming with confidence, when I took my seat in the familiar London Road press box, but even I didn't expect Town to surrender to a 3-1 defeat at the home of the basement dwellers.
Despite the woeful result, and woeful performance - and perhaps because of it - I have always remembered this particular encounter, maybe also because it happened to be a Tuesday evening.
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In fact, I have often found the misery of a midweek defeat, on the road and under floodlights, harder to stomach than a similar result on a run-of-the-mill Saturday afternoon.
I guess the journey home, often in the dead of night, gives you too much time to stew over such a miserable experience.
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I'm sorry to be so downcast, but Town's escapades at London Road have never been much to shout about (that will hopefully all change this weekend, of course).
The Suffolk club have not won on any of their last five visits to Peterborough, which also famously included a 7-1 hammering in August 2011, when Paul Jewell's Town briefly led before shipping six goals and picking up to two red cards (Lee Martin and Tommy Smith) inside a disastrous 26-minute spell between the 30th and 56th minutes.
But I digress.
This column is all about that Keane visit to London Road.
I've lost count of the number of times I've written the phrase - 'a game of two halves' - but I could well have penned those familiar five words about Town's demise from nine-and-a-half years ago.
As so often happened under Keane, there were glimmers of hope for a brighter future, not least following the recent arrival of target man Daryl Murphy on loan from Sunderland.
Murphy headed home his third goal in as many games, to put Town 1-0 up at London Road, a lead they maintained until half-time.
Alas, there was always a calamity lurking around the corner, during the Keane era, and so it proved in the second half as Posh steamrollered to victory, beating keeper Arran Lee-Barrett on three occasions.
Despite the win, Peterborough stayed bottom, but Town were hovering just above the bottom three to heap yet more pressure on their Irish boss.
Mercifully, it is not far from Peterborough to my home in Bury St Edmunds, so I didn't have time to dwell on Town's plight during the midnight trek along the A14.
And, as occasionally did happen, the gloom was momentarily lifted just three days later by a chirpy Carlos Edwards, who blasted home a long-range rocket at Hillsborough to secure a surprise 1-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday.
Funny game, football.
Ground: London Road
Club: Peterborough United
Town's first visit: 3-1 defeat on November 19, 1955 (FA Cup)
Town's last visit: 0-0 draw on March 9, 2013
Town's overall record at London Road: P7 W1 D2 L4
I have included more than just one 'quirky fact' this week, simply because I am spoilt for choice with regards Peterborough United.
Fact 1: The club's unusual nickname - 'The Posh' - pre-dates Peterborough United, who were founded in 1934, by 13 years. Apparently Pat Tirrell, the then-manager of Fletton United, which later became Peterborough & Fletton United and then eventually Peterborough United, put out a request that he was "looking for posh players for a posh new team."
The nickname stuck.
Fact 2: Victoria Beckham, when better known as 'Posh Spice,' filed a claim with the UK Patent Office insisting that the nickname 'Posh' was synonymous with her good-self. She was unsuccessful, so 'The Posh' at London Road were allowed to keep calling themselves ''The Posh.' Quite right!
Fact 3: When the club had to install more seating, to meet the requirements of the 'Taylor Report' following their promotion to the First Division in 1992, they obtained 700 seats from Leicester City's Filbert Street and 300 seats from Millwall's The Den. You can't beat second hand for value.