Cotterill believes legacy will thrive

An emotional Steve Cotterill leaves Pompey's training ground yesterday Picture: Robin Jones
An emotional Steve Cotterill leaves Pompey's training ground yesterday Picture: Robin Jones
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Steve Cotterill has reflected on the legacy he believes will take Pompey on to greater heights.

The 47-year-old drove away from Eastleigh at 11.28am yesterday morning after sealing his departure.

He had spent two hours saying his goodbyes to his players and staff before handing back his training gear and clearing out his office.

It had clearly been an emotional experience judging from Cotterill’s demeanour as he left to journey to Nottingham and put pen to paper on a three-and-a-half year deal.

His exit has sparked a mixed reaction among the Blues fans he has left behind.

Cotterill refused to reveal the precise reasons for his departure.

Nonetheless, the club is very different to the one he walked into 16 months ago.

And Cotterill is convinced he has contributed to the foundations upon which it can prosper.

He said: ‘Compare June 2010 with now and the club is at opposite ends of the spectrum.

‘When I walked into here it was very difficult to know what was lying in wait during an hour-long interview.

‘Since then I’ve just been trying to pull everything back together.

‘I look at it now, though, and the wage bill has been cut by two-thirds.

‘Last season we had a regular team with an average age of 32.8 years or something like that.

‘It’s amazing the starting XI this year has now gone down to 24.8 years.

‘Then you look at the young players in the Academy at the moment. That was not there when I came here

‘Andy Awford has done a really good job.

‘We have a training ground which has been put straight after a lot of neglect.

‘The pitches are right and now the players are excited about coming into training every day. They can see the facilities have improved no end.

‘As for the team, it will be okay, for sure.

‘There is a win around the corner, I know there is.

‘We have played really well in some games, a couple of others made a slower start to the game, and in just the one game this season we were not at it from the start.

‘I think sometimes you forget how bad it was – even me as manager.

‘But it was really bad.’

Insistent he didn’t want to leave on a sour note, Cotterill would not go into why he has left Pompey.

Instead, he was quick to praise the players – and fans – that he has opted to leave behind.

Cotterill added: ‘It was Thursday night at 11.50pm when I found out compensation had been agreed.

‘I wanted to go into training yesterday morning to say goodbye to everyone.

‘I have so many working associations that have become like a family to me.

‘It was quite an emotional morning all round, really. I have not said it for any effect, that is the truth.

‘I am one of those managers who does have a rapport with my players. I do my best for them and I am unselfish.

‘I always know I have had the dressing room in the cup of my hand.

‘That is not a boast but a genuine statement.

‘They are all with me and it is how I treated them.

‘I shielded them even when sometimes it came at my own detriment. It’s how I manage.

‘The fans have been fantastic with me. I thank them for their support over a period of time.

‘In a way it’s a pity I cannot say goodbye to all of them for their help and support.

‘It’s a great football club with great support.’