Co-owner Stewart Thompson brings us his first excusive blog about life at Peterborough United.
Six months ago, Jason and I were fortunate enough to get involved in Peterborough United Football Club. I’m not going to speak for my partner, but I know I feel extraordinarily lucky! Sure, the season took a turn for the worse, and we’ve already been cash called a couple of times, but I feel ridiculously lucky.
My vision was to take over a non-league team to get our feet wet in the whole ownership thing. I had targeted four clubs that would have fit the bill. In truth, at the time I didn’t see any other opportunity than Jason and I were the 100% ownership group, so couldn’t imagine a place where the solid football people would stay involved. And I certainly didn’t envision L1 going “up” as opposed to L2 or non-league in financial distress.
So we are sitting in Las Vegas with this guy who I instantly like, and thinking there is no way this is going to happen. We all just happen to be in Vegas and it was a good chance to meet a guy who would steer us in a good direction. Next thing I know I’m in an Elvis chapel.. no wait, that wouldn’t be fair, that’s not what happened (we spent a ton of time together after the Vegas meeting) but that would have been a great story 😊 Jason and I did however walk away from Vegas thinking it would be way more fun getting involved with a team with tremendous pedigree than try the football gig from scratch.
I was never scared of getting involved in the business side of Football. The usual rules apply to all businesses- provide a great product, hire good people, keep revenue higher than expenses. Football is no exception to those rules. But the football side.. that’s a different matter.
First is the fans. I swear we could sign Ronaldo to a League One contract and the first things would be “he’s too old, you screwed up the club budget, he doesn’t track back.” The complaints are endless. But really, it’s not complaining, it’s passion. This is their club. It’s a massive responsibility to be an owner. And Twitter has been a riot. My tech investor account is nowhere near as fun, because my @rstposh account is full of creative fans finding new ways to “encourage me in a certain direction.”
Then there are the players. Jason and I were in a meeting with someone high up in the football world that said to us “Gents, this is like no other business you’ll ever own. You can do everything right as a business, but your success is down to 11 guys you probably wouldn’t trust to do a simple life task to deliver something special 90 minutes a week.”
In short, do you have 11 heroes or 11 loan signees from a certain club in the Midlands. Without Barry and Darragh and the unique interaction style they have I know this club would be nowhere near as successful. They love the game, they know all the players - management and field.
So this is the learning curve for me as an owner. Portugal is next week. This camp is important for the players to gel, the gaffer to see what he’s working with, and the ownership group to see if they backed the right gaffer to get it all to come together. I’m looking forward to being a part of it. Not to get my hands dirty and be in the way, but to really see what a unique business Football is, and how all the characters play their part to get us to “the next level”. This is my first time seeing the “unique business model “up close, and get a handle on how the pieces all fit over the course of a full season. It’s early but there are signs we got it right.