Appy: I’m ready for a new era after steep learning curve

Pompey boss Michael Appleton
Pompey boss Michael Appleton

When you’ve had to deal with what he’s had to deal with, it’s no surprise you want to draw a line under it all as quickly as possible and look to the future.

Michael Appleton – in his first permanent job as a manager – was the unfortunate man left without a chair when the music stopped at Fratton Park.

Appointed in November, just weeks before the reality of Pompey’s finances hit home, the former Manchester United midfielder was then tasked with attempting to keep the club in the Championship while his better players were shipped out to slash costs.

For Appleton, while it ended in relegation to League One, it’s been an understandably steep learning curve along the way.

But, importantly, it hasn’t put him off the job at Fratton Park.

Appleton still doesn’t know if he will be able to manage the Blues next season, with the club still fighting for it’s life.

The 36-year-old has also been linked with the West Brom job after Roy Hodgson was confirmed as England manager yesterday.

But through all the drama, Appleton believes life will be a whole lot easier at Fratton Park next term if he is given the chance to rebuild everything from scratch.

He explained: ‘There are all sorts of words I could use to sum up the past six months.

‘Educational is one. It’s been bizarre, it’s been crazy and it’s been frustrating. But there are all sorts of other words I could use, too!

‘I just keep saying to myself how good it’s going to be next season if I get the opportunity to do it right.

‘I would like to think I have done okay and if I can handle this type of situation well enough, then, hopefully, the rest of it will be a breeze.’

Appleton is a straight-talking individual who would sooner cut through the rumours, point-scoring and politics to know exactly what he is dealing with as soon as possible.

And while others in the Fratton Park corridors of power in recent times may have preferred to keep information under wraps, Appleton would rather deal in truth – no matter how unpeasant that may be.

He said: ‘The one thing I do like is to be told.

‘If it’s bad news, I will deal with it in my way. I might not always be up front in public but I might have my time away where I go and smash windows or doors in.

‘I’m not really like that but we’ve all got our ways of dealing with things and de-stressing.

‘But I have tried to be as honest with the players as I possibly could.

‘I have been straight down the line with them.

‘It might be information that they don’t want to hear at times but at least they have heard it. They can get it out of their systems and move on.’

While the players may also have seen the occasional glimpse of Appleton’s temper in the confines of the dressing room, the Blues boss prefers to keep his emotions in check and insists he does not suffer too much with the stress of the job.

‘I don’t really get stressed out that much and that has probably helped in the past six months,’ he said.

‘If someone in my place had struggled with stress, they would have been in serious, serious trouble over the past six months with some of the stuff that’s gone on.

‘I will usually go in the gym and take it out on a few weights and punchbags.

‘That is my time where I do my thinking as well.

‘I get away from everything. I don’t like people talking to me when I’m in the gym.

‘I get into a bit of a routine and if I need time to work out a formation or a selection, I will take myself away for an hour.’

But Appleton also believes he has learned a lot about himself that will stand him in good stead going forward.

He said: ‘You think you know people and you know their character and personality.

‘When you are winning things and things are rosy, you find out certain traits.

‘Then when the proverbial hits the fan, a different trait comes out.

‘I’ve learned that over the past six months and I have probably learned that about me as well.’