Credit due for fans playing at running Pompey

Iain McInnes
Iain McInnes

It’s the biggest stick to bash the Pompey board with.

For all the improvements at the club, the steady progress being made off the pitch, the training ground and the debt-free status you still hear the murmurs.

Picked the wrong managers, didn’t they.

It was no good going for Andy Awford, Richie Barker and Guy Whittingham, we needed experience.

Why didn’t we ever plump for Neil Warnock? Where was the move for Paul Warburton? Harry Redknapp hasn’t been up to much lately, has he?

The small issue of reality has always been eschewed when it comes to appointing the man at the helm down at PO4.

And the litany of names and big-money budgets which were in place in the more prosperous years before the community era have proved an unfair yardstick to be judged by.

The online posts, radio phone-ins and comments hurled across the South Stand on a matchday were heard loud and clear through last season’s disappointments.

Iain McInnes and the six directors who influence the direction Pompey are headed are wise to the whispers and inferences.

Fair play for saving us, but what do these people really know about running a football club?

‘I’d think the same,’ said McInnes, in a candid moment back in the aftermath of Awford’s departure.

If that’s the sentiment being peddled, what’s the basis for it?

Of course, there have been mistakes in the 27 months since Pompey exited administration.

Alan McLoughlin’s exit, although not entirely the board’s fault, could have been handled better.

Few could argue against them exerting an influence on the coaching set-up, though, with the season in disarray after the FA Cup embarrassment at Aldershot in November.

Lessons were learnt on that front and the difficult but inevitable decision over Awford departing, was handled with the humility a tough call warranted.

Beyond that, it’s the managerial shouts which has been the board’s Kryptonite.

But analysing them in hindsight offers a very different perspective to when the appointments were made.

Anyone other than Whittingham being appointed in April 2013 would have drew a furious response, after he remained at the helm as we prayed for Pompey’s survival.

Maybe the board were swayed by an impressive interview from Richie Barker, and Steve Coppell’s proximity to him, in his appointment.

But Awford not getting the nod after guiding the team on an inexorable charge to League Two safety last summer, would have led to a revolt.

He was then backed with a handsome budget at this level and given the conditions to succeed.

So it’s hardly been the tale of buffoonery and gaffes from Pompey’s board some would have you think.

It’s worth remembering, too, the most popular of owners, Milan Mandaric, worked his way through four permanent managers before hitting the jackpot with Harry Redknapp.

For all the rebuilt reputation, though, at a football club it is what takes place on the pitch which provides the ultimate grounds for judgement.

The board need no reminding of that.

Our Great Pompey Survey put the figure of support for the new manager at 87.1 per cent after his appointment.

As we stand at the mouth of a new season, the club has paid around £150,000 for an appointment we agree with – and again backed him well.

We don’t know where the next nine months will take us. But those fans playing at running a football club, deserve a little credit for that.