Pompey’s new manager looked to the future at Fratton Park and insisted: This is my time.
Michael Appleton was yesterday unveiled as boss on a three-and-a-half-year deal following the Blues’ lengthy compensation negotiations with West Bromwich Albion.
It ended a 28-day search for Steve Cotterill’s replacement.
For the 35-year-old Appleton, the appointment represents the prized first rung on the managerial ladder.
Having served in eight coaching roles in seven years with the Baggies, it has been a thorough footballing education.
Among his jobs at The Hawthorns were under-14 coach, assistant Academy director and reserve team manager.
Now Appleton has moved to Fratton Park to take the top job.
And he’s relishing the opportunity to finally prove his managerial worth.
Appleton said: ‘I almost feel it is my time to be given an opportunity.
‘At West Brom I did pretty much everything.
‘I worked with the under-14s, the under-15s, the under-16s, the under-18s, was reserve team coach, first-team coach, assistant manager and assistant Academy manager.
‘I think the experience I have is maybe one of the reasons why the owners and David (Lampitt) see me as the right candidate for this football club.
‘I certainly have been patient throughout those years.
‘You have to have the ability otherwise you wouldn’t be given those opportunities in the first place.
‘I just feel it’s time to take the next step.
‘I’ve got the ability to take this club forward and I’ve got the ability to take this job on.
‘If I didn’t think I could do that, I wouldn’t have taken it in the first place.
‘I’ve heard numerous times I was being groomed for the manager’s job at West Brom and maybe that was the case.
‘But I think sometimes in life, opportunities come along when you don’t expect them.
‘This was one of them and one I felt I couldn’t turn down.’
Appleton is the second-youngest manager in the Championship.
Burnley boss and ex-Blues defender Eddie Howe remains the youngest at 33.
Regardless of Appleton’s age, the former Manchester United midfielder was confident it was time to leave the Midlands. After 10 years as both player and coach with the Baggies, the ambitious Appleton wanted new challenges in his life.
He added: ‘It was very difficult leaving West Brom because, obviously, you build up a relationship with a lot of friends and a lot of good people.
‘It was a tough decision to make.
‘But I think sometimes when you are somewhere a long time, a lot of people tend to rely on you more than they should.
‘People probably at times become a little bit comfortable with you.
‘When that happens, sometimes you have to move on and do your own thing.
‘I’m very excited about the challenge which lies ahead.’