Cotterill: Pompey soap opera will make me better boss

Pompey boss Steve Cotterill
Pompey boss Steve Cotterill
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There WERE times when he wondered if there would be any light at the end of the tunnel.

On other occasions he was taken to, and beyond, boiling point as one thing after another mounted up against him.

Then there were the times when he felt like his head had been given a repeated pounding against a brick wall.

Yes, it certainly was an interesting first campaign in charge of Pompey for Steve Cotterill.

The Blues boss thought he had seen most things in his 16 years of football management.

That was until he succeeded Avram Grant at Fratton Park last June and embarked on steering Pompey through the club’s rebirth.

Nothing could have prepared the 46-year-old from Cheltenham for the vast array and variety of problems that would affect his progress.

A crazy pre-season tour, administration, a transfer embargo, squad restrictions, contract wrangles and the fear the club would cease to exist – all obstacles thrown in the way of the Pompey boss.

With the dust now settled after the close of the Blues’ campaign and the club safe in the Championship for another season, Cotterill can at last reflect on what has unfolded.

Maybe he doesn’t see a 16th-placed finish in the English game’s second tier as a cause for celebration.

But Cotterill can afford himself a small sense of satisfaction as he looks back at the campaign.

The man himself is sure about one thing, though – what has taken place in the latest episode of the Pompey soap opera has made him a better manager.

‘I think, maybe now it’s all finished, I can clear my head and look back at things,’ said Cotterill.

‘I can say: “Well, I might have done that better, but I did that well”. That will stand me in good stead.

‘I will certainly be a better manager for having this season than not having it.

‘I will be more tolerant and patient, and that’s a trait I don’t really have in me. I don’t suffer fools and I haven’t got a lot of patience if I have to keep showing people the same thing.

‘But I do relish a challenge. I have relished it and I have taken it on.’

Although stating he is loving the test at Pompey, Cotterill admitted there were many days that tested his resolve and pushed him close to the edge.

He insisted he has often had to put a brave face on that as arguably the biggest public face of the club.

Cotterill’s personality of extreme and intense emotions have often been evident in front of and out of the public eye.

The final home game of the season against Norwich saw him turn to the directors’ box at the final whistle and state that it could have been his team celebrating promotion and not the visitors.

Cotterill believes such instances emerge out of the drive for the game which powers him.

The boss feels he has had to make compromises he would not have normally accepted but refuses to make apologies for showing his character.

Cotterill said: ‘Some days are frustrating and there are frustrations.

‘I’m passionate about my football. If I think things aren’t right, that weighs heavily with me.

‘I think I’ve moved on lots of times this season when things haven’t been right.

‘Sometimes I have days when I feel like I’m going to explode any minute.

‘That’s what it’s like, though. Another day in the life.

‘I’ve papered over the cracks because you can’t let too many people know how you feel or what’s going on.

‘Sometimes it’s my face that mirrors the football club.

‘I’ve been okay around the players and the press and what have you.

‘But you do have some days when you just have to get through them.

‘I think I’ve taken that challenge on, though.’