Awford dismisses big-spending claims

Pompey boss Andy Awford Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Andy Awford Picture: Joe Pepler

Andy Awford has shot down suggestions Pompey paid over the odds to sign striker Matt Tubbs.

The Blues boss revealed his anger at claims the club have gambled with their finances in a bid to kick-start their stuttering season.

Awford insisted the 15-goal free agent is well within the wage structure and that the budget has not been stretched to accommodate the 30-year-old’s arrival.

And he made another assurance that any financial outlay on his squad will stay within the existing framework which has been allocated by the board.

Awford said: ‘I think, because people think we’re Portsmouth, there’s an unlimited budget and it’s this and this. It’s not.

‘Some of the things I’ve read about what we’ve paid – honestly, do me a favour.

‘It’s annoyed me.

‘People are saying we’ve paid over the odds. Well, we haven’t.

‘People are trying to paint a picture that, because we are Pompey, we can pay over the odds. We can’t.

‘We haven’t broken any wage structures or anything like that. No chance. We’re not allowed to do that here.

‘If we need to find £50,000 at the end of the season, we don’t have a benefactor with a big, fat cheque.

‘We are where we are.

‘We are a League Two club so we need to keep it where it is. Tony (Brown) and Mark (Catlin) run the business brilliantly.’

Pompey were favourites from an early point in the chase to sign Tubbs, who had been on loan at Wimbledon from Bournemouth before his Fratton Park move.

But Awford believes the Blues could have missed out and would have been upstaged had a rival club made a cash bid to sign the front man.

He said: ‘We haven’t paid a transfer fee for Tubbs and someone could have offered one to Bournemouth before his contract was terminated.

‘That was always a worry.

‘He’s the top scorer in the league so, if someone had offered Bournemouth £50,000 or £100,000, we were not in it then.

‘We would have been blown out of the water.

‘Let’s not forget that Matt Tubbs had better financial offers but he wanted to come here. He chose to come here for footballing reasons.

‘We made him an offer and he accepted it.

‘Of course there was a bit of toing and froing along the way but we’ve got him here.’

Aside from the club’s ambition to progress, Awford believes Pompey’s major pulling power remains their supporters.

‘The fanbase is a pull for any player,’ added Awford.

‘But he wants to be here because it’s a good football club and he sees there is an opportunity to go higher.

‘That’s important and when we spoke it was a really positive conversation about that.

‘I always need to look them in the eye and I got the right vibes. It was fantastic.’