Posh chief surprised by CMS
Peterborough's chairman admits Craig Mackail-Smith's decision to join Brighton came as a surprise.
Last Updated: 05/07/11 1:12pm
Peterborough chairman Darragh MacAnthony admits Craig Mackail-Smith's decision to join fellow Championship new-boys Brighton came as a surprise.
The Seagulls, League One champions last season, saw off competition from numerous clubs to capture the star striker, who scored 27 league goals to boost Peterborough's own successful promotion push.
MacAnthony claims Norwich, QPR and West Ham were all challengers for Mackail-Smith's signature, while Leicester were favourites to seal the swoop after agreeing a fee for his services.
And the chairman says he was as surprised as anyone when the 27-year-old Scotland international, League One's top scorer last season, opted for a switch to Gus Poyet's side.
"I was surprised Craig chose them, but to be fair they are a club heading in the right direction," MacAnthony told the Peterborough Evening Telegraph.
"They have sold 18,000 season tickets, they have a good manager and they play great football so all the best to them and to Craig.
"As a football club it's not for us to worry about where players are heading. We just wanted our valuation matched and Brighton did that."
MacAnthony says the saga surrounding highly-rated Mackail-Smith was full of twists and turns, with Wolves, Reading and Birmingham also among those interested in the hitman.
He added: "I presumed Leicester were favourites, but Craig was going to have to wait 10 days before speaking to (manager) Sven Goran Eriksson who was on holiday which I thought was a bit strange. If I'd had a bid accepted for a player as good as Craig I'd have wanted to speak to him straight away to tie up the deal.
"Anyway West Ham then sent me an e-mail with an offer from (co-owner) David Sullivan which almost made me fall off my chair. It was more than Leicester offered, although as I am a man of my word and had accepted Leicester's bid I was never going to renege on them.
"Craig was informed, spoke to West Ham after speaking to Leicester, but he didn't sign for either which surprised me as they are both Premier League clubs in waiting, the sort of club a player should walk to in order to play for them.
"West Ham then pulled out of the deal for financial reasons, but by then Brighton were back in the background.
"They now matched Leicester's offer with a little bit more up front and it became clear to me that Craig was very keen to join them."