Appleton Confirmed As Pompey Manager
By Jim Bonner
Updated Thursday, 10th November 2011
The saga finally comes to an end, but is it the right decision?
It has finally officially been announced that Michael Appleton has been appointed the new manager of Portsmouth.
The former West Brom assistant coach has signed a three-and-a-half year deal with Pompey and has the international break to get to know the vast majority of his new team before his first match in charge at Watford next Saturday.
The 35-year-old is obviously a surprise choice to succeed Steve Cotterill and there have been disgusted outcries from a few fans already over the appointment.
After all, it seems like that CSI and David Lampitt have gone for the "cheap option" with one newspaper claiming that Appleton is being paid £100,000-a-year, which is peanuts for a Championship manager's salary. As the saying goes, if you pay peanuts then expect a monkey.
History suggests that this appointment will be a bad one when you consider the demise of previous "cheap options" such as Paul Hart and Velimir Zajec.
Assistant managers who were looking to make the step up in their career have also floundered at Fratton Park rather than flourished. You only need to look at the records of Tony Adams and Graham Rix for proof of that.
The decision to employ someone with no previous management experience contradicts what Pompey's C.E.O was saying not so long ago about wanting to employ an experienced manager at this level of football.
Appleton's only experience as a manager came in one Premier League match last year that saw West Brom surrender a three goal lead at half-time to draw 3-3 with lowly West Ham.
Nothing should really be concluded from that result but this appointment makes little sense given that the club already had two men at the helm who were doing a good job (10 points from 18 available) and know the club well.
If it were a choice between an experienced coach teamed with an all-time Pompey favourite or an unknown coach that nobody had heard of until last week then it would have been obvious that the fans would have chosen the latter.
However, I believe that the main source of disappointment from the Pompey fans comes from the fact that it seems like the owners were unwilling to part with any significant amount of money to tempt a bigger name such as Dave Jones or Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to come to Fratton Park.
Mr. Lampitt may well champion this appointment as one for the long-term and one of plenty of promise because Michael is so young and knowledgeable.
However, despite the man himself claiming to be impressed with the "five year plan" in place at Pompey, would he leave us at the first chance in a bid to prove himself at a higher level should he be a success at Portsmouth?
On the face of it, Antonov and co. have simply gone for the cheap option and hope that this significant risk will reap rewards. But that makes their decision all the more intriguing.
Who is to say that Appleton isn't a tactical genius in the making? There is a chance that he will walk down the same road that Adams and Rix did but people who have worked with him say he is destined for great things and Pompey hopefully have spent plenty of time doing some research on their new man, rather than being turned down by preferred candidates.
The beauty of this situation is that none of us really know what to expect. Let's face it, it could have been worse had someone like Iain Dowie or Aidy Boothroyd got the job.
He obviously knows a fair amount about the game given that he was worked alongside an old head in Roy Hodgson and has his UEFA Pro License.
Given the fact his playing career was cut short due to injury and he has still stayed in the game to become a coach tells you something about his character and perhaps that might inspire the Pompey fans in time.
What can be guaranteed is that "'Appy" will be given a tremendous amount of support by the majority of Pompey fans. What is also guaranteed is that they'll turn on him in a short space of time should things go awry and so he needs performances, and more importantly, results quickly.
However, it would be stupid to dismiss this appointment as "pathetic" or "unforgiveable" until we see what the man is capable. Whilst it is a decision that will baffle some fans and one which represents a bigger risk than many, there is always the chance that CSI have unearthed a gem and we should all give him a chance and at least try to be patient with him.
Therefore, I shall welcome Michael Appleton all the best at Portsmouth, He is a man with a lot to prove and Portsmouth will give him the chance to show us what he can do with the resources he has.
I just hope CSI and Lampitt don't come to regret this decision six months down the line.
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