Andy Awford Leaves Pompey

Last updated : 13 April 2015 By Jim Bonner

Following a meeting with the board this morning, Andy Awford has left Portsmouth Football Club by mutual consent with Gary Waddock taking charge of first-team affairs for the rest of the season.

The timing of the decision is bizarre given that there are only four games of the campaign remaining and there is no imminent replacement arriving given Waddock's temporary promotion into the manager's role.

Hopefully that promotion won't become permanent no matter what the results are for the rest of the season as Waddock's track record is less than stellar. He may have got Wycombe promoted from League Two but also took them back down and Oxford were in a strong position for automatic promotion when he was appointed last season, only for a complete collapse to see his team miss out on the play-offs and Waddock replaced with Michael Appleton last summer.

As for Awford, did he really deserve to leave?

There will be fans who wanted him to stay and as a young manager he probably needed more time to establish himself as a respected boss in league football. However, time is something anybody is simply not going to get at Portsmouth whilst the club languishes in the bottom division of English football with the fans clamouring for at least a promotion push, which is something Awford has failed to deliver.

There will also be people who will point the finger at the players for underperforming and whilst they deserve some of the blame, the squad at Awford's disposal is good enough for at least a top seven finish when you consider the calibre of players available to the manager and just how poor League Two is as a whole.

Awford also has to carry the can for some of his bizarre loan signings, inconsistent tactics where he still probably couldn't name his strongest eleven or the formation they would play. But not being able to work out how to get results on the road has probably been his biggest criticism all season given Pompey's woeful record of two wins from twenty-one away games in the league and some utterly dreadful performances to go with that with the latest being last Saturday's defeat at Morecambe.

And let's not forget the dismal FA Cup exit to non-league Aldershot too. That, along with no signs of significant progress from last season means that there can't be too many arguments for keeping Awford in the job no matter how well we all wanted him to do given his popularity at the club.

It's sad that his tenure has ended this way given his genuine care for Pompey and we should remember he has done more good than bad in the last year having repaired the damage Richie Barker had done to the club whilst his work in his other roles at the club cannot be understated either. Hopefully the offer of a return to Pompey in another capacity in the future is a genuine one.

As for Awford's replacement, it's absolutely imperative that the board gets their decision right at the fourth time of asking and yet it's a very difficult decision to make given who's available or who could be coaxed from another club.

SkyBet have opened up a market for the next permanent Portsmouth manager with Gary Waddock understandable favourite, although he is joined by Harry Redknapp at 5/1 too which just goes to show how ridiculous the odds can be.

Further proof of this is having James "Scummer" Beattie at a 10/1 shout when there's more chance of Nigel Farage taking charge of Pompey than him. The usual out-of-a-job cloggers such as Danny Wilson, Brian Laws and Gary Megson are on the list but strangely there's no mention of Paul Tisdale who has applied for the Pompey job previously and is well regarded in lower league football.

However, Tisdale is seen as a better long-term manager and long-term is something that a huge number of Pompey fans will not accept if it means failing to achieve promotion from League Two next season. Soon-to-be-jobless Mark Warburton or the harshly treated Uwe Rosler would probably be too ambitious for a League Two club to tempt to them, no matter how big they are.

Could someone like Chesterfield's Paul Cook or perhaps Phil Brown of Southend be tempted to leave their current clubs and take on one of the biggest jobs in the bottom two divisions? Despite their recent failings, Ian Holloway or Darren Ferguson would also be interesting appointments.

Despite the low job security, the Portsmouth manager's role is a superb one to have for anyone who can get it right.

But the board must get it right by appointing someone inspirational who the fans will get behind and most importantly deliver the success that Portsmouth Football Club craves - starting with promotion next season.