In this section of the museum we share with you photo’s and details of some the men who have held the role of Chairman of Peterborough United Football Club.
So far we have found the names of the following 25 Chairmen Mr A J Dillingham, Mr Jack Swain, Mr A E Sharpe, Mr R H Gosling, Frank Stimson, W Warrington, W S Fisher, C L Palmer, T H Peake, V J Grange, J Thornley, J S Garnly, H W Wright, Stuart Palmer, Mr G. Woodcock, Bill Wilde, John Devaney, Roger Terrell, Alf Hand, Steve Kendrick, Hugh G Wright, Chris Turner, Barry Fry, Peter Boizot and Darragh MacAnthony.
If you know of any more Chairmen and / or can provide more information on any of the Chairmen of the club so we can update this page of the museum, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Page last updated: 27th June 2017
Born 24 March 1976 in Dublin, Ireland Darragh must surely be our all time best Chairman. Aged just 30 he became Chairman of the Posh in September 2006 making him at the time the youngest Chairman in the Football League.
Previous Chairman Barry Fry cited a Sky TV documentary, Big Ron Manager, as a factor in attracting investment from Darragh. Legally obliged to give first refusal to a third party in the event of a sale, Barry Fry retained 99.8% ownership of the club, but Darragh gained power of attorney for the club’s affairs.
Darragh became owner of the club in August 2007, buying the club for a nominal £1 after taking on the club’s debts. As a sign of his ambition, a printed note from Darragh was added to Peterborough United’s match programme in August 2007 where he promised fans promotion from League Two to the Championship in two seasons, which as all fans of the club know, he delivered.
Born 16 November 1929 in Peterborough, Peter is locally renowned as ‘Mr Peterborough’ because of the work and funds that he has put back into his hometown.
He purchased and then modernised the Great Northern Hotel in Peterborough in 1993. Peter also aquired the former Odeon cinema building in Peterborough in 1996 and transformed it into a multi-purpose entertainment venue complete with theatre, concert and conference rooms.
In 1997 he bought what was at the time our ailing football club and invested £5 million into its resurrection.
Born 7 April 1945 in Bedford, Barry was a Manchester Utd apprentice and had spells with Bolton Wanderers, Luton Town and Leyton Orient, before retiring prematurely due to injury.
Having managed Dunstable Town, Bedford Town, Maidstone United, Southend United, Barnet and Birmingham City in 1996 Barry became Chairman-Manager of the Posh.
The pressure of finding £150,000 wages every month to pay players and staff at the club wore heavy on him and he had to resort to remortgaging his family home, as well as putting in the proceeds from his pension and a £200,000 testimonial to keep the club afloat.
After four years of financial pressure Barry sold the club to current owner / Chairman Darragh MacAnthony.
Barry is now Director of Football at the Posh, a position he has held since May 2005.
Born 3 April 1951 in St Neots, died 27 April 2015 in Wisbech
Chris played for, managed and was Chairman of the Posh.
Having managed the club from January 1991 to December 1992 he led a consortium of local businessmen (Alf Hand, Philip Sagar and Roger Terrell) in the purchase of the club which saw him installed as Chairman of the club as he relinquished his Managers post.
In December 1993 with Posh struggling in the 2nd Division Alf Hand took over from Chris as Chairman so that Chris could once again manage the team.
Chris sold his interest in the club to Barry Fry in 1996.
Alf a local man has watched the Posh since their Midland League days in the 1950s.
He joined the Posh Board in 1979 where he served until resigning when the club went into administration in 1987. He was Chairman for the first time in 1987 for just two hours as he was the last of the Board of Directors to resign!
In December 1992 Alf Hand was an integral part of a Posh takeover for the first time in his life and said “I’ve come back because this club had to be returned to the local people”. At that time Alf was joined by Posh legend Chris Turner and well-respected local businessmen Philip Sagar and Roger Terrell with his appointment receiving universal praise. On the 31st May 1996, Alf resigned as Chairman again, this time to allow Barry Fry his dream of owning and running a football club.
His views on the club being in the hands of local people never wavered as on the 26 April 2003, over a decade later, Alf returned to the Posh as owner of the club, making exactly the same comment though this time the reception was much more muted. His partners this time were manager Barry Fry and a millionaire businessman called Colin Hill.
John Devaney was the man who rescued the club from a financially perilous position when on the 12th July 1988 he bought the club for £1.2m wiping out the club debts and took over as Club Chairman
John’s first move as Chairman was the following day (13th July 1988) when he moved then Manager Noel Cantwell to General Manager and appointed Mick Jones as Team Manager.
In the summer of 1988 he promised to make his Posh players the best paid in 4th Division history by doubling salaries but they have to win promotion first!
In April 1989 Devaney sacked Noel Cantwell and Chief Executive Ellis Stafford replacing them with his wife Bernie Devaney and Joan Hill.
In July 1989 he sells the London Road ground to his holding company , Parkhouse Commercial Properties, in a £500,000 deal.
On 31 August 1989 he sacks Mick Jones and appoints Mark Lawrenson as manager (Devaney had been a director at Oxford United when Lawrenson was manager at Oxford).
In April 1990 plans for a multi-pound re-development scheme of the London Road ground including a hotel, shops, and leisure facilities are put forward and despite local resident opposition wins council backing.
In November 1990, he sacks Lawrenson with Dave Booth (Lawrenson’s assistant) taking over as Manager.
On 21st January 1991 he sacks Dave Booth and the following day makes the now famous appointment of Chris Turner as Posh Manager.
Under Devaney’s reign Posh gain promotion in May 1991 from Division 4 and in May 1992 Posh gain their second successive promotion.
In December 1992 John sold the club to a consortium led by Chris Turner.
Roger Terrell not only would he have been Chairman of the Posh, had he had his way, he would have been the owner of Peterborough United.
He declared his interest in buying the club when chairman Peter Boizot officially announced his intention to sell Posh, in November 2001.But he balked at the then £2.5million asking price, and his attempt to take control of his home town club fell by the wayside.
During his 10-year spell on the board, he held the position of chairman for a short period, a post he relinquished following Barry Fry’s arrival at the club seven years ago.
Roger qualified as a Solicitor in February 1980 and established ‘Terrell’s LLP in Peterborough in May 1988.
Steve was Chairman of the Posh when ‘the Messiah’ (Noel Cantwell) returned as manager in November 1986, replacing of John Wile.
Steve said “His charisma and obvious love of Posh in particular, and Peterborough in general, made him the only choice”.
Hugh was Chairman of the club from May 1980 until his death in December 1981.
Joining the Board at the time of the Joint Football Association and Football League Enquiry into the affairs of the club. In 1972 he became Vice-Chairman and eight years later became Chairman.
Throughout his long association with the club, Hugh travelled thousands of miles and visited many grounds in the course of his Directors duties.
His one ambition was to see the Posh gain promotion to higher Divisions to the Football League which sadly he didn’t live to see.
Frank was elected to the Board as a new Director at the Club’s A.G.M.in July 1946, with the highest number of votes 82; he was to become one of the best ‘signings’ the Club ever made.
Frank was a man of many interests who was Vice President of numerous sporting organisations and President of the Peterborough Co-operative Society. His profession was a Licencee where he was landlord for many years at the popular Peacock Pub in London Road, only a few yards from the London Road football ground.
The Manager at the time of Frank’s appointment to the Board was the ex-Arsenal star – Sam Haden. Sam departed in 1948 – when former Exeter City player Jack Blood took over the reigns. Towards the end of season 1949/50 Frank Stimson was voted as the new Chairman of Peterborough United FC taking over from Mr Jack Swain who had announced his retirement. The first Manager under Frank’s reign as Chairman was the former England and Sunderland centre forward Bob Gurnery who came into office just prior to Frank’s appointment. Bob Gurney left Posh to become Manager of Darlington towards the end of 1951/52 season. On 4th June 1952 ex-Newcastle United goalkeeper Jack Fairbrother became our new player-manager and already Frank Stimson had great plans for the Club announcing at the beginning of 1952 plans for Football League status. An illustrated brochure was designed to state our cause but was all to no avail as we only received 6 votes despite help from the national press.
By the time Posh were gaining recognition for their exploits in the FA Cup and the football world were beginning to take notice. Fairbrother left Posh to become manager of Coventry City directly after our cup defeat away to Cardiff City after unlucky to lose 3-1. Another famous keeper then took over at the helm in February 1954 being ex-Arsenal no.1 George Swindin. Exciting time lay ahead under our Chairman’s leadership and still had great ambitions to take us into the Football league but only to be disappointed once more by receiving 18 votes. But Frank made sure the Club were going in the right direction announcing a profit of £2,063 and a substantial rise in gate receipts of £23,978.
In 1955 at the Club’s 21st Anniversary Dinner, Jack Fairbrother attended and presented the ball as used in that memorable cup tie against Cardiff City, to Chairman Frank as a token of his esteem for the Club. In June 1955 there was yet more disappointment for Frank and the Club as Posh received only16 votes yet again and failing in their desire of League Football. This would make Frank only more determined in his dream and ambitions for his beloved Posh and announced work would begin very shortly for the building of a brand new grandstand. Shareholders feeling confident with the Board duly re-elected Frank and his fellow Directors to continue their ambitions for the Club at the A.G.M. Both on and off the field the Club was going from strength to strength with record profits of £30,613 gate receipts and Frank’s dream of a new stand got under way and Posh won their first Midland League Championship during 1955/56 season.
Posh continued their fine exploits in the FA Cup and were now famed ‘giant killers’ and at the same time were breaking record attendances at London Road. The following season Posh won their second Championship and despite a hat trick of titles in the following season Chairman Frank could still not realise his dream of Football League statues as yet again Posh could only muster 15 votes.
But then in 1958 more disappointment came when George Swindin left to return to Arsenal as Manager. Frank then was happy to announce that form England and Sheffield United star Jimmy Hagan was to be the new boss. Hagan continued the good work and led Posh to a fourth title, but despite this again poor Frank could not fulfil his dream of League status as Posh registered 26 votes.
Sadly for Frank that’s where it ended when tragedy struck as Posh prepared to play their first practice match of the 1959/60 season, the sad news came learning of the death of our beloved Chairman and, sod’s law that Posh went on to their 5th successive title and the dream came true as Posh were at long last elected into the Football League, well the rest is history!
The name of Frank Stimson will always be remembered in the History of Peterborough United FC for, despite not living long enough to see his greatest ambition fulfilled, it was down to him for the Club’s remarkable rise from those early days. This wonderful, jolly gentleman will never be forgotten.
Mr AJ Dillingham
Mr AJ Dillingham was elected a Director of the club on the 31st July 1934 and subsequently appointed the club’s first Chairmen.
Towards the end of 1935 at a special meeting of shareholders, called to discuss the serious financial position of the club he resigned from the Board of Directors.
It was the day that Peterborough United Football Club officially came into being on 17th May 1934 that local councillor Jack Swain was appointed acting Chairman.In fact it was Jack that told the crowded meeting at the city’s now long demolished Angel Hotel ‘I think that with the revival of old enthusiasm in the city, Peterborough will ultimately find a place in the Football League.’It may have taken 26 years but that is exactly what the Posh did!
Note: Special thanks to Peter Lane who provided us with all the details about Frank Stimson in this section of the museum in our August 2012 newsletter (No. 37).