With Preston parting ways with Darren Ferguson, Lakes takes a look at his tenure as Preston boss, explaining why it was simply never going to work out.
It takes a special kind of man to make Craig Brown and Paul Simpson look like tactical masterminds, and that man has just sneaked out of Deepdale by the back door - and no, it’s not the man from the Milk Tray ads, although he probably would’ve done a better job in charge.
Darren Ferguson has nothing to be proud of. His tenure at Preston North End was little more than a disgrace and there can be no argument against it.
When Ferguson was hired, I, along with many other Preston fans, felt a wave of optimism surge over us.
This was the beginning of a new era – moneybags Hemmings in charge, Maurice Lindsay at his right hand and the messiah himself, Darren Ferguson, running on-pitch affairs.
Alright, messiah might have been pushing it, but there was certainly a belief and optimism that the new era at Preston might be a good one.
There was the promise of a sure link to a Premier League club in Manchester United and the potential for a wave a money that might accompany the owner of the club installing his own man.
Instead, we were lumbered with a messianic slate of turd.
Ferguson’s philosophy was this: attack. And that was it. Central defenders covering the wings, midfielders up front with the rest of the team, milling around with no objective other than to get the ball and run with it.
To put it simply, Ferguson was the master of Forest Gump football. In fact, you could argue that the Gump similarities didn’t end there. There was a whiff of Gump about Ferguson’s general media handling style, too.
To be fair, he never blamed the players. But that’s because he didn’t have the right to. Everything that’s gone wrong on the pitch at Preston this season has simply been down to his ineptitude as a football manager.
Craig Brown was too nice and too conservative. Paul Simpson was out of his depth in the Championship. But the one thing you could say about both men is that they did know something, ish, about football. Ferguson can’t take the same plaudit.
Although you could argue that Preston’s squad isn’t fit for promotion, there will be those who feel he could have done a lot better than prop up the bottom of the table with the players available to him – not least because of the never-ending influx of youngsters from daddy.
The results speak for themselves. Ferguson won just 13 of his 49 games in charge, a pathetic 26% return.
The wins themselves seemed random, too, rather than part of a bigger pattern. If there was a pattern to be found it was in the huge number of goals Preston conceded under him – 42 this season alone.
When you consider where Preston fancied being this season, you have to say that’s rather a failure when compared with teams like Swansea, who’ve conceded close to the 20 mark.
So, rather than a delicious helping of Cadbury’s Milk Tray, Preston have simply had a cardboard tray of excrement shoved through their letterbox.
Let’s hope whoever’s next on the billing has a taste for the stuff, because there’s a lot more coming between now and the end of the season.