Pompey failed in Warnock bid to become Barker successor

Neil Warnock
Neil Warnock

Pompey failed in an approach to Neil Warnock with a view to making him Richie Barker’s successor.

The former QPR boss was sounded out about a possible role at Fratton Park in a bid to turn around the club’s fortunes.

On Monday he was expected to join Nottingham Forest, along with Keith Curle and Ronnie Jepson, only to walk away from the offer at the 11th hour.

The Blues also made enquiries to Warnock, who was pipped to the manager’s job by the returning Harry Redknapp in December 2005.

However, it was decided to look elsewhere and yesterday the club opted for Andy Awford as an internal candidate.

But Pompey Supporters’ Trust chairman and Blues board member Ashley Brown admitted ‘big names’ had been eyed when seeking a Barker replacement.

‘We knew we needed an impact manager, there was no point looking at someone who could maybe turn it around next year – at the moment we are focused on staying in the Football League,’ said Brown.

‘The number of managers we thought were out there, available, that could turn up today or tomorrow and have that impact, was very, very small.

‘We had identified a couple but when we spoke to them it just wasn’t going to happen.

‘Neil Warnock was considered because he’s an available manager with a big name so was on our list of people we looked at.

‘We considered a number of managers and, speaking generally, some of their availability and being involved when we need them involved now as opposed to next season wasn’t there.

‘Steve Claridge has also been mentioned and obviously has a great deal of history with Portsmouth Football Club. He’s a very passionate fan of the club who has always offered to help out.’

Awford has been charged with keeping Pompey in the Football League and has promoted Paul Hardyman from the Academy to serve alongside him.

First-team coach Alan McLoughlin remains in the set-up, and Brown believes the right people are in place to galvanize the club.

He added: ‘We knew we had people inside here that know the team, know the club and know what it’s like being in a relegation fight for Pompey because they played in them.

‘We felt that actually might just give us the unity, galvanise the team, it might get the fans back behind the team and caretaker manager, and it might just give us that little bit of lift to get us out of trouble.’