He’s an Awf-ully good signing

Andy Awford, sporting a dodgy 1990s blonde hair-do
Andy Awford, sporting a dodgy 1990s blonde hair-do
Mo Farrah after missing out on a gold medal
				 Picture: Adam Davy

VERITY LUSH: Leave me to browse the make-up counter in peace

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Andy Awford’s arrival as academy manager could be one of the shrewdest signings Pompey make.

Awford has settled into his new post after making an emotional return to Fratton Park.

And knowing Awfs, it won’t be long until he’s making an impact.

Steve Cotterill identified the former defender as the man he wanted as he looked for a return to a ‘tracksuit manager’ at that level.

There’s no doubt the Blues favourite has a monumental task ahead.

He’s not blind to the size of the challenge ahead with the academy falling into a state of disrepair off the back of administration.

The 38-year-old has left the relative comfort of his teaching job and role working in the media to get back into the cut and thrust of coaching and Pompey.

Why has he done that? Because it’s in Awfs’ blood.

Spend time talking to the man who made 341 appearances for his one and only league club and you soon see how his passion boils to the surface.

Ideas about how he sees football at youth and age group level spill forth when you get him going. David Lampitt probably realises that now after being given a four-hour ear-bashing when they discussed the role.

Most of those thoughts aren’t rocket science, either. Just a good dollop of commonsense garnished with lashings of experience and knowledge.

It’s the approach that is needed now as Pompey clearly have to go back-to-basics.

Facilities may reflect where the club stand at the moment in terms of a lack of foundations.

But Awford isn’t about to accept that as an excuse for failing to harness and develop players to feed into the first team.

There’s a long history of Pompey doing just that with the talent that lies in and around this area.

Awford, after all, was himself one of those youngsters once and we’ve got the pictures to keep embarrassing him.

His history with the club will aid his role, too, as will his (dodgy) sense of humour and ability to communicate with people.

And from the club’s perspective it’s another person who has a genuine care and affection for Pompey.

That’s something you can’t underestimate.