In the final instalment of the series, James Bloodworth counts down the 15 best strikers signed since Darragh MacAnthony became Posh chairman.
15. Souleymane Coulibaly (Free Agent, 2015)
Coulibaly was signed as something different in the vanilla frontline Dave Robertson had assembled. However, if I carry on with that ice cream analogy, the 2011 U17 World Cup top scorer would be Absinthe and Nettles, or Jalapeños and Cement: eccentric, explosive, exotic, but overwhelmingly, a bit shit. Scored his fair share of goals mind.
Kyle Vassell (Bishop’s Stortford, 2013)
To this day, I still don’t know if Kyle Vassell is good or not. I don’t actually remember him doing much apart from getting into a shoving match with Marcus Maddison over the winger’s selfishness. But looking back, he was decent value for the nominal fee we forked out.
Lee Angol (Luton Town, 2015)
Angol was the leading goalscorer during his only full season here, and was a handy player. A serious injury practically ended his Posh career, and despite some expecting him to return as our saviour, he appeared to be a reincarnation of Dick Emery instead of Dennis Emery.
Emile Sinclair (Macclesfield Town, 2011)
‘If Emile Sinclair had shot JFK he’d still be alive’. Sinclair’s finishing was the butt of plenty of jokes, but he silenced his critics by scoring more goals in the Championship for Posh than both Craig Mackail-Smith and Aaron Mclean. Sure, it looked like his feet were 5 seconds behind his brain and his heading ability was on a par with a post-1536 Anne Boleyn, but his lightning pace made him incredibly effective.
Craig Mackail-Smith (Luton Town (Loan), 2017)
‘What the? He’s past it, he’s a crock’ Was my immediate reaction to this signing. A desperate attempt to attract fans back in a drab season. I’m pleased I could eat humble pie though. CMS scored his 100th goal and 5 more during this spell, and in hindsight probably could have been useful to keep on for the 17/18 season.
Junior Morias (St Albans City, 2017)
Who knew the larger than life Morias would go from the comedy character of the side to a vital component? It’s not a coincidence that the downturn in form in the current season started when-in layman terms- Junior’s thigh literally exploded at Boundary Park. It remains to be seen if he comes back the same player.
9. David Ball (Manchester City, 2011)
If I had to choose a player on this list to score with the ball at his feet in the penalty area to save my life, I’d probably choose David Ball…and then ask how in God’s name I ended up in such a situation. Ball was an outstanding finisher, but lacked a bit of pace and/or strength to be a top player.
Lee Tomlin (Rushden and Diamonds, 2010)
You could write a novel on Lee Tomlin. A psychology student could probably do their dissertation on him. Our Lee was a unique bloke. Talented. Explosive. Foolish. Just some of the words he wouldn’t be able to spell. Tomlin nearly didn’t get included in this list on the basis he’s more of an attacking midfielder, but he was used as a striker in one of the club’s most successful periods. In a Posh shirt, he scored 43 goals-some of which were the touch of a genius- and earned 6 red cards-all of which were the touch of a twat.
Jack Marriott (Luton Town, 2017)
From a Hatters reserve to the 2nd highest scoring Englishman of the season in just 6 months. Even the most optimistic of Posh fans (there are some somewhere, surely?) couldn’t have expected Marriott to score the sheer volume of goals he has managed with such a freakish consistency. He can lose the top-knot though.
Conor Washington (Newport County, 2014)
Washington was a divisive figure. Some thought he was alright, most thought he was crap. The common view was that he was a hard worker but would never, ever be a goalscorer. That was before Graham Westley rocked up. In the one positive thing that he did for the club, Westley turned Washington into a player QPR felt was worth £3m (THREE MILLION). The excellent percentage profit on Washington pushes him up the list.
Britt Assombalonga (Watford, 2013)
2013/14 was a simpler time. Posh’s most successful manager was at the helm, we were tipped for promotion and the biggest complaint some people had was ‘all that Assombalonga does is score goals’. Jesus wept. The club’s second million pound player was seen as the key to pull us straight back up to the Championship. He was prolific, but there was only so much he could do to cover up for frailties elsewhere in the side. His £6m move to Nottingham Forest started the slump Posh are yet to recover from.
Aaron McLean (Grays Athletic, 2006)
The first striker that Darragh signed and boy, he made it a good one. It’s hard to know what was bigger, his jumping reach, his smile or the taxi fares he’s run up. A complete striker, who sadly for him but not for us, peaked at London Road. Fired the side to 2 promotions and had a hand in a third, McLean is a PUFC icon.
Paul Taylor (Free Agent, 2011)
I toyed with putting Taylor top of this list. A bizarre signing at the time, a striker who wasn’t young by our standards, had been a disruptive force at Chester, failed a drugs test at Vauxhall, and to top it all off, was a Scouser. Injuries thrust him into the limelight, and the most talented player I have seen in a Posh shirt helped us to safety in the Championship. A ferocious shot, a mesmerising dribbling ability and a knack of scoring important goals saw him move to Ipswich for 7 figures after one season. His 2nd and 3rd spells shouldn’t overshadow his amazing first.
Dwight Gayle (Dagenham and Redbridge, 2013)
As if a striker on loan from Dagenham would ever have been able to save our moribund 2012/13 season. They were in League 2! Well, Dwight nearly did. In an incredible December, Gayle turned us from dead certs to go down to a side destined to beat the drop. 7 goals in 9 games earned him the league player of the month award and a permanent switch to Cambridgeshire. He added a further 6 goals before his perfectly timed tackle on the last day of the season was deemed to be a foul, which was converted into the Crystal Palace goal that sent us to the third tier. Gayle was sold to the bastards for £6.5m the following month, and is currently holding his own at Newcastle. Probably the best player on this list.
Craig Mackail-Smith (Dagenham and Redbridge, 2007)
CMS wasn’t the most gifted on this list. Nor was he the most lethal, and thanks to his bloody father in law, was not the most profitable either. But he was legendary. I’ve never seen someone work to the extent Craig did. Most central defenders just couldn’t handle him, and if he had an ounce of finishing ability, he would have been a Premier League striker. 99 goals and 3 promotions in his first spell before he moved to Brighton for £18.43 and a stick of rock mean he is a Posh legend. Gayle, Assombalonga, Tomlin and probably Aaron McLean were all better strikers, but looking at the signing overall, I couldn’t bring myself to put anyone at number 1 but him.
James Bloodworth (jwb1997)
James can be found on Twitter @JamesB17_