Goings-on behind closed doors at Peterborough Utd could soon become less of a mystery if filming for a new Sky documentary goes ahead. Big Ron Manager - as the show will be called - will take a fly-on-the-wall look behind the scenes at the everyday trials and tribulations of running a lower league club.
Atkinson will bring his forty years of experience in professional football to Peterborough United in February. He's chosen to base his new television show at the club and for a tasty fee of £100,000 paid to Posh, he'll be granted access to all aspects of running the club. The documentary will bring to an end 67-year-old Atkinson's long absence from television screens following racist comments he made live on air about Chelsea defender Marcel Desailly.
|"Of course the TV people tell you how great it will be for you and the club's profile, but I'm not stupid, I know how these things can work against you"|
|Iffy Onoura, Swindon Town FC (quote from Daily Telegraph)|
The decision to film at Posh comes hot on the heels of an initial attempt to get the documentary off the ground at League One club Swindon Town. Atkinson and his crew moved into The County Ground in January, but were ousted when manager Iffy Onoura found the presence of the cameras too intrusive.
And so, they move onto Posh. Atkinson was expected to turn up to accompany the team to their away match at Shrewsbury's Gay Meadow on Saturday 11th February, but was reportedly still in hospital, suffering from blood poisoning.
Speaking on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, caretaker manager Steve Bleasdale explains more about Atkinson's arrival: "Barry [Fry] came to me and said that we'd got a lot of money coming to the club from Sky TV. It's a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the club. It's not just about the football. It's about the whole community within Peterborough."
Fry has given Bleasdale assurances that Atkinson will not interfere in either the management of the club or match tactics. But the caretaker manager has been given free reign to 'feed off' Atkinson if he feels it's appropriate to do so.
And Big Ron confirms that he's more than happy to offer help and advice to the club - but only if he's asked to do so: "If I see something that I think is important and they want some advice, then I'll offer that. If Steve wants to come to me and ask my opinion - that's no problem at all."
On the subject of filming, Atkinson is brimming over with enthusiasm, saying that he loves everything about the beautiful game and those involved in it: "I think it'll be a very enjoyable time. I know one or two of the characters there [at London Road] and they've welcomed the project. It'll be an interesting time. All we can do is go in and advise and help all we can - and have a bit of enjoyment along the way."
He's also quick to counter any speculation that the documentary will highlight negative aspects of the club. "No one's coming in to stab anyone in the back or anything like that," says Atkinson. "We're coming in because we want to make a good television programme - and show just how hard it is at lower levels and just how hard people have to work."