A look back at the last time Peterborough secured Championship promotion

Peterborough United are on the cusp of securing promotion back to the EFL Championship following Saturday’s 1-0 win over Charlton Athletic.

The Posh only require one win from their three remaining League One fixtures to ensure that next season will be their first season in the second tier of English football since 2012/13.

The first chance for the club to confirm promotion comes this Tuesday (April 27), when they face Doncaster Rovers at home.

Failing a victory on Tuesday, Peterborough play Lincoln City at home on May 1 before facing off once again with Doncaster at the Keepmoat Stadium on the final day of the season.

Automatic promotion would be a fantastic achievement for the club, who marginally missed out on the League One Play-Offs in both of the last two seasons – finishing seventh.

Darren Ferguson celebrates victory as he turns to walk towards the tunnel, following the Sky Bet League One match at The Valley last Saturday
(Image: PA)

A return to the Championship this season would also mark ten years since Peterborough last ascended to the division, which would be the ideal way to mark and ultimately eradicate such an anniversary.

A decade ago, Posh were looking to bounce back from a rather chastening Championship campaign.

After being promoted with a second-place finish in League One in 2008/09, they dropped straight back down the following season after finishing bottom of the Championship.

The club had four managers across the season. Darren Ferguson, who had guided the club to the Championship, was sacked in November with Posh at the foot of the table.

Ferguson was replaced by Mark Cooper, who signed a three-and-a-half year deal to become the club’s new manager.

However, Cooper only lasted two-and-a-half months in the job – winning just one of his 13 games.

Stockport County legend Jim Gannon was next in the hot seat, but he was replaced by Gary Johnson after numerous disagreements with the board.

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Despite relegation, Johnson saw out the season and remained in charge as Posh looked to mount their charge for an immediate return to the Championship.

A huge amount of summer signings saw the squad revitalised. Among them were Lee Tomlin, who moved from Rushden & Diamonds, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing on loan from Wolves and midfield general Grant McCann.

Posh started the season well, winning five of their first eight league games.

Bristol Rovers, Plymouth Argyle and Oldham were all put to the sword as United scored freely and looked the team to beat in the division.

However, October and November became a struggle and saw the club make a habit of losing.

By January, Peterborough had drifted away from the play-off places.

Six losses and one draw from 10 games between September 28 and November 23 had taken its toll and, even though Posh had enjoyed an upturn of form in December, they were well off the pace.

After nine months in charge, Johnson left the club on January 10. Two days later, the prodigal son returned.

Darren Ferguson, who had led Posh from League Two to the Championship in the first two full seasons of his first spell at the club, took charge once more.

Peterborough’s fortunes increased and they hit form at a welcome time, peaking in an unbeaten run of eight league games across February and March.

Ferguson’s Posh side were finding the back of the net with ease, beating Hartlepool 4-0, winning 5-3 against Sheffield Wednesday, hammering Oldham 5-0 away from home and knocking Carlisle for six at London Road.

Recovering from a tough winter, the club found themselves in a great position in March, with automatic promotion a real possibility.

However, the club stuttered in the run-in, starting with a 1-0 defeat at MK Dons.

Peterborough won only one of their final seven league games and finished fourth – meaning that they had to go through the rigmarole of the play-offs.

Craig Mackail-Smith of Peterborough looks on during the npower League One match between Leyton Orient and Peterborough United at Matchroom Stadium on April 22, 2011
Craig Mackail-Smith of Peterborough looks on during the npower League One match between Leyton Orient and Peterborough United at Matchroom Stadium on April 22, 2011
(Image: Getty Images)

Facing fifth-place MK Dons in the play-off semi-final, Peterborough fell to a 3-2 defeat in the first leg at Stadium MK.

It was not a terrible result, though. Grant McCann’s late penalty would prove vital as Posh went into the second leg with it all to play for.

United were superb in the second leg, taking the game to the Buckinghamshire outfit.

A 2-0 victory was enough to claim a 4-3 aggregate win, with Craig Mackail-Smith’s 34th goal of a wonderful season booking the club’s place in an Old Trafford final against Huddersfield Town.

The best was yet to come, though. Played at Old Trafford because Wembley was playing host to the Champions League final (as if that should take priority), the afternoon had Posh fans in dreamland.

48,410 spectators were there to see United blow Huddersfield away with a late flourish that secured 3-0 victory.

The game was goalless until the 78th minute, when Thomas Rowe’s header broke the deadlock. Two minutes later, Craig Mackail-Smith doubled Posh’s lead with a deflected effort.

Grant McCann secured the win with a long-range effort five minutes from time.

It was a remarkable spell of three goals in five minutes and saw Posh book their place in the Championship.

A remarkable game to cap off a rather topsy-turvy season in style.

Ten years on and Darren Ferguson has the chance to do it again. The boss, now in his third spell at the club, should secure his fourth promotion with Peterborough in either the coming days or weeks.

Three points on Tuesday would send Posh up to the Championship with automatic promotion, avoiding the nerve-shredding tension of the play-offs.

It may not be as glamorous as a 3-0 win in front of nearly 50,000 fans at the Theatre of Dreams, but no Posh fan is likely to complain.

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