After 28 days of searching, Portsmouth finally unveiled Michael Appleton as their new manager last Thursday, much to the surprise of their fans.

Appleton has no pedigree as a manager, although he has been through a number of coaching roles with West Bromwich Albion, which is where Pompey signed him from on a three and a half year deal. During his time at Albion he had eight coaching roles ranging from the U14 side through to reserve team manager, so it could be argued that he has been through the coaching system and is now ready for that first real managerial role.

This, however, is a dilemma for Pompey fans. Historically at Pompey, coaches have not made good managers and two recent examples are Paul Hart and Tony Adams. Neither of them inspired Pompey to any level of achievement. Consequently, this led to a muted response amongst fans when Appleton was appointed.

Many fans were becoming disillusioned with Steve Cotterillai??i??s Pompey. Last season, Portsmouth had gone from relegation certainties to potential Play-Off gatecrashers, going unbeaten for 10 games at one stage, winning eight in that run. Fans thought with his own side this season instead of those he had inherited and obtained on loan, that Pompey would set the division alight and with closet and fiercest rivals, Southampton, being promoted to the Championship many were looking forward to this season.

The expectation levels had been set, but 10 games in to this season, it was Saints who led the Championship table with nearly double the points Pompey had mustered. The style of football being played was dire, frequently playing one up front and whilst sometimes dominating games, rarely winning. It was almost with some relief that Nottingham Forest came calling for Cotterill following the departure of former England boss Steve McLaren from the City Ground.

In the summer, Portsmouth had been taken over by sporting business, Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI). They made the second highest investment in playing staff this season within the division, with only Leicester ahead of them, therefore by giving Cotterill permission to speak to Forest, it signalled that they too were happy to let him go, but also perhaps that they had a replacement in mind. Within the week, Cotterill had joined Forest and Pompey had asked first team coaches, Stuart Gray and Guy Whittingham to step up into temporary charge. The search had started for Pompeyai??i??s new manager.

Early on, Pompey declared they had had more than 40 expressions of interest in the position. The CEO, David Lampitt declared they were going to be thorough and it had to be the right appointment for the Club, Owners and fans. For the fans, who hadnai??i??t been overwhelmed by the takeover by CSI in the summer, this was indeed a key appointment because it would show the intent and ambition of the owners. Quickly, both National and local media were speculating who would takeover at Fratton Park. Aidy Boothroyd made a blatant pitch for the job whilst covering Pompeyai??i??s first manager less game against Barnsley, for Sky Television.

During the following weeks, a procession of names were produced to whet the appetite for fans. Steve Coppell, Ray Wilkins, Eddie Howe and Sean Oai??i??Driscoll to name but a few, but the one that really got the fans buzzing was when a National newspaper reported the ex-Manchester United player, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had been approached.

Solskjaer was manager of Molde in Norway, who were on the verge of winning the league. The City was abuzz with excitement, especially as after the weekend when Molde won the league, David Lampitt, Pompeyai??i??s CEO, said they were close to making an announcement. Fans were convinced Solskjaer was the man who would take over the managerial reins at Fratton Park.

It was somewhat disappointing then that after Pompeyai??i??s draw with Crystal Palace on 1st November, that Appletonai??i??s name started circulating with conviction. The disappointment around the City was palpable, not helped by National media speculation that he was all the club could afford on A?2k per week.

The 35 year-old Appleton joins the club during the International break and will have a week to work with the players before the away game at Watford on 19 November. He will have to make a quick impression and almost an unbeaten start, for on the 18th of December is the first of the South Coast derbies against Southampton.Ai??If Pompey lose that and certainly if by any great margin, then his relationship with the fans will be over before it started.

Having beaten them 4-1 in both of the last meetings, the first time to condemn Saints to Premiership relegation, it could be a game which sees Appleton crowned King or dismissed as a Joker. It seems he is already walking on a tight rope at Pompey.

Written by guest author Tony Goodall

Follow Tony on twitter @PompeySwiss

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3 Responses to “Portsmouth’s Corner: Expecting Solskjaer, Hiring Appleton – Major Doubts Over Managerial Appointment”

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  1. dan says:

    Walking on a tightrope?? The guy hasn’t even had a game yet!! Cut him some slack – talk about wanting instant gratification. How can you say that his relationship with the fans will be over if we lose to saints. They’re flying at the top of the table if you hadn’t noticed. Surely we should give the guy a few months before judging him, this isn’t X factor for God’s sake.

  2. Pompey! says:

    Dan, I have to say I agree with the author. Unless there are some positive results soon, the negative atmosphere around the club may reach a point of no return. He is walking a tight rope and is already a controversial appointment!

  3. RJM says:

    The only major doubts are about your dross article and shocking game commentary Goodall, it is absolutely clear in the city that the massive majority if fans support Appleton’s appointment. Give the guy a chance for gods sake; what a cheap shot.