Awford: My job was to rebuild the whole club

Andy Awford has no regrets about taking the Pompey job. Picture: Joe Pepler
Andy Awford has no regrets about taking the Pompey job. Picture: Joe Pepler
  • Awford honest in his assessment of Blues reign

Andy Awford is honest enough to admit he made mistakes during his time as Pompey boss.

He is also honest enough to admit his team should have done better than they did.

I personally think that we have improved – but not enough

Andy Awford

But Awford saw his position rather differently this season than the Pompey board did.

While his objective was all about rebuilding the foundations of the club and making steady progress, it seems that wasn’t quick enough for many.

After the experience, he could be forgiven for bearing a grudge or two.

He would also be well within his rights to steer clear of Fratton Park to further his career elsewhere.

But ask him if he would do the job again and it’s a swift reply.

Of course, he’d do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Awford said: ‘It was a great opportunity to manage the club. I loved it.

‘I wanted to have a go at it and I’m glad I did it.

‘Could I be manager again in the future? Who knows.

‘You never say “never”.

‘Being caretaker gave me belief I could do it and I still believe I can do it.

‘Given the time, I still have massive belief I would have got things right on the pitch and moved things off the pitch to a level we wanted.

‘Of course, I made plenty of mistakes along the way and there are a few things I would change.

‘If I could go back and give myself some advice on day one, it would have been to get a clear objective sorted out with the board and make sure we all knew exactly where we were going.

‘The play-offs were mentioned in January but I was asked in a board meeting at the start of the season where I thought the group could finish. My reply was “top half”.’

While that may seem to be lacking in ambition, especially with a budget among the highest in League Two, Awford explained there was a bigger picture to consider.

He said: ‘I am about building a football club, not just a team.

‘Everybody knows what we have been through as a club and we needed to rebuild from that.

‘If the plan is to get out of League Two as quickly as possible and whack all the money into building the team, then fine. But it was never put to me like that.

‘I was under the impression that as long as we improved – as a whole club on and off the pitch – then great.

‘I personally think we have improved – but not enough.

‘Let’s make it clear: it’s not sour grapes or a hard luck story. We didn’t do as well as we should have done – full stop.

‘I take a lot of responsibility for that but there is a lot that goes into managing a football club.

‘The main aspect is the first team but if I am guilty of wanting to look after other areas of the club, then I make no apology for that.

‘I have always been about the bigger picture and not short-termism.

‘And that is about developing the club to a point where it is sustainable, rather than a one-season wonder.

‘If we got promoted, could we sustain it under the current model? I’m not so sure we could.

‘There is a lot made about the budget and ours was right up there in League Two. I’m not denying that.

‘But a lot of our budget was allocated on players that I inherited and didn’t see as part of the plans going forward.

‘That was the attraction of this summer to clear a few out and then next season, I felt the play-offs were a realistic target.’