Hardyman pride at new Pompey role

Paul Hardyman, right, with Alan McLoughlin, left, and Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler
Paul Hardyman, right, with Alan McLoughlin, left, and Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Paul Hardyman has spoken of his Pompey pride after becoming joint first-team coach.

The 50-year-old has completed a long-expected permanent elevation from his Academy coaching role to join Andy Awford with the senior squad.

For the former left-back the appointment represents an emotional progression with his home-town club.

Hailing from Copnor and having stood on the Fratton Park terraces as a youngster, he went on to make 128 appearances for the Blues.

Since 2000 he has had spells coaching in the Pompey in the Community programme and, more recently, serving as Academy coach.

Now Hardyman has been permanently given a role with the first-team, joining Alan McLoughlin in Awford’s new-look backroom set-up.

He said: ‘Me and Awfs have had a fantastic time doing the Academy and he said he really wanted me with him with the first-team so that was nice to hear.

‘It has gone well with Macca as well, the three of us, so it was a case of let’s give it a crack.

‘My personal thing is I always want local kids to come through and do what I did.

‘I am proud of that, standing on the terraces and ending up playing in the first team.

‘Now I have ended up coach and for me there is nothing better.

‘When you are a kid everybody asks you what you want to do and you say ‘be a footballer’.

‘When you finish football everyone asks what you are going to do.

‘There is no better thing than coaching and playing for your home-town club.

‘I’ve made that leap and it is so pleasing for me because from standing at Fratton Park at the age four to where I am now is massive to me.’