The figures behind Awford’s Pompey reign

Andy Awford celebrates success over Hartlepool last season Picture: Joe Pepler
Andy Awford celebrates success over Hartlepool last season Picture: Joe Pepler

Mark Twain once wrote ‘there are lies, damned lies and statistics’.

Andy Awford may be under intense pressure as Pompey boss, but nonetheless compares favourably to many of his predecessors.

Certainly facts and figures paint a spell of a manager who has made a decent Fratton Park impact.

The Fratton faithful may rightly point to the League Two table which portrays a side in 18th spot and a mere two points above the relegation zone.

They may correctly hand over evidence of eight matches without victory and five triumphs in the past 27 fixtures.

Exhibit C may reflect an underachieving side assembled with one of League Two’s largest budgets and 35 different players used in match-day squads so far.

But in terms of wins per games, Awford stands in sixth position among the Blues’ past 22 permanent managers.

Or to be a little more precise, he has the best win record for a Pompey boss since Harry Redknapp departed for a second time in October 2008.

As it stands, Awford has triumphed in 35.89 per cent of the 39 matches he has overseen since March 27 last year.

That takes into account the seven fixtures as caretaker manager at the end of last season, before becoming permanent in May to almost universal agreement from Blues supporters.

Since March 1982, only Redknapp (both reigns), Bobby Campbell, Alan Ball (first reign), and Jim Smith have fared better.

The quartet – with five spells between them – each average more than 41.50 per cent in the winning stakes.

Awford is the next one in line at 35.89 per cent – almost double that of last-placed Tony Adams (18 per cent).

The Arsenal legend tasted victory four times in 22 matches, before his Fratton Park departure in February 2009.

It’s an unwanted record which puts him comfortably at the foot of the 22.

Had his Blues side held on for victory in that famous AC Milan fixture, he wouldn’t have made the bottom four.

Also bringing up the rear is Alain Perrin (19.04 per cent) – a deeply unpopular manager among his players who reaped four wins in 21 matches.

Above him, Richie Barker and John Gregory are level on 20 per cent – a pair who did little to endear themselves to the Fratton faithful.

Elsewhere, the oft-lauded Avram Grant (30.30 per cent) has a narrowly-better win record than Paul Hart (30 per cent), with the Israeli’s FA Cup return the clincher in that comparison.

Breathing down the neck of Awford on the list are Frank Burrows in his second spell (34.92 per cent), Terry Fenwick (34.22) and Tony Pulis (31.42).

Meanwhile, Steve Cotterill, currently manager of second-placed Bristol City in League One, comes in at 31.14 per cent, with 19 wins from 61 fixtures.

But it is Redknapp who tops them all with 46.55 per cent in his first spell, and 42.51 per cent in his second coming.

Second-placed Campbell has 43.11 per cent and Alan Ball’s first spell weighs in at 42.34 per cent.

As for Awford, admittedly his figures are boosted emphatically through his five wins in seven matches as caretaker manager at the end of last season.

Take those away to focus solely on the current campaign and it would be a rather disappointing 28.12 per cent, putting him at 14th.

Albeit still better than Michael Appleton (27.45), Velimir Zajec (23.80), Guy Whittingham (23.52), Steve Claridge (21.73) and the bottom four.

They are the statistics, but in truth the league table doesn’t lie.