THE football management trade has been a hands-on experience for Andy Awford.
But now he’s going back to school to further his credentials.
And the Pompey boss is in elite company when it comes to developing the skills needed to make it in a unique trade.
Awford is one of 25 people who has been selected to take part in the latest Uefa pro licence course.
He will join the likes of Scott Parker, Brad Friedel, Bury boss David Flitcroft and a host of notable figures in management at England’s St George’s Park base in January.
Awford was at the national football centre yesterday for a familiarisation session.
And he is confident the Blues will benefit from his experience.
Awford said: ‘I’ve done all of the coaching badges, but this is a management qualification. I’m looking forward to getting on it.
‘It’s not coaching. It’s a management course.
‘I think you are better off learning on the job.
‘I’ve learnt more in the last six months here than I will on the course.
‘But if I pick up one per cent it’s worth it. I hope and think I will get more, though.
‘You need the pro licence these days if you go further up the tree.
‘So when we get to the Premier League I will need this qualification!
‘From my view it’s useful to have but I’m hoping to bring stuff back to the table for our staff.
‘It will be a great benefit not just to me, but for the club.’
With the course done in blocks and weighted towards the closed season, the commitment of undertaking the qualification will have no impact on Awford’s Pompey duties.
It will provide him with advice and assistance on dealing with issues he will encounter in his day-to-day work.
England under-17 boss John Peacock leads the course, with new director of elite development, Dan Ashworth, a central figure.
Other guest speakers will lend their support and there will be some interesting scenarios for Awford to deal with.
He said: ‘It’s things like dealing with upstairs, in terms of managing up amd dealing with the press.
‘They actually do a Sky Sports post-match scenario and get the cameras in.
‘They ask some awful questions, as you can imagine. They mock the press up.
‘They do an overseas study, so you would go abroad in the summer if there’s an under-17 World Cup or something.
‘It’s about management not coaching, so it’s another string to the bow.
‘Man-management skills and techniques will come into it and there will be guest speakers.
‘There will be a lot of open discussion because there’s so much experience on the course.
‘John Peacock is leading it and then the FA staff tutors.
‘There will be people like Dan Ashworth involved.
‘It won’t just be there is one way to do things. It’s will be people asking how to deal with certain issues you come up against. Then there’s a discussion.
‘My eyes are open wide and I’m grateful for the club’s support.’