Born 28th December 1932 in County Cork, Ireland – died 8th September 2005.
Known to all Posh fans as the ‘Messiah’, Noel managed the Posh on two separate occasions. He was appointed Posh Manager for the first time in October 1972 when the club were struggling at the bottom of the 4th Division. That season he steadied the ship as Posh finished 19th in the table avoiding the embarrassment of having to seek re-election to the Football League which had looked likely earlier in the season.
In his first full season in charge the Posh won the 1973/74 Fourth Division title in style attracting average home gates of 8,795, up over 4,000 on the previous season.
In the first season back in the 3rd Division Posh finished a creditable 7th as well as reaching the 5th Round of the FA Cup.
In the 1975/76 season Posh finished 10th in the 3rd Division as well as reaching the 4th Round of the FA Cup when they were drawn and played against Noel’s old club Manchester Utd at Old Trafford.
The following season Posh finished 16th in the 3rd Division and Noel announced he was quitting the club two days before the final game of the season.
In November 1986 Noel was back for his second stint as Manager, however this time as Manager was nothing like his first. Struggling financially Noel launched ‘The Cantwell Crusade’ a fundraising drive to raise £100,000.00 for new players.
Noel almost got the Posh into the play offs in the 1987/88 season when we needed to win at Crewe Alexandra on the final day of the season as well as Leyton Orient and Swansea City losing. Although we got the win Swansea also won which meant we missed out on the play offs.
With new Chairman John Devaney coming in and wiping out the clubs debts he moved Noel upstairs as General Manager and appointed Noel’s assistant Mick Jones as Team Manager. The reign of the ‘Messiah’ was over.
Did you know: Noel played one first class cricket match for Ireland in 1956, scoring 31 and 17 runs.