McInnes: Play-off failure drove Awford decision

Pompey boss Andy Awford on the touchline at the Globe Arena Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey boss Andy Awford on the touchline at the Globe Arena Picture: Joe Pepler

The Pompey players celebrate winning the League Two title on the final day of the 2016-17 season following their 6-1 win against Cheltenham Picture: Joe Pepler

Gallen: Let’s carry momentum of Pompey title win into opener

  • Awford leaves after 383 days in charge
  • Pompey 11 points from play-offs with 12 points to compete for
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IAIN MCINNES admitted Andy Awford’s failure to reach the League Two play-offs was the decisive factor in his Pompey exit.

Awford stepped down as Blues boss by mutual consent yesterday morning following training-ground talks with chairman McInnes and chief executive Mark Catlin.

No question about it, from day one the play-offs were the target and the budget was set accordingly

Iain McInnes

He leaves Pompey in 14th spot, with Saturday’s defeat to Morecambe leaving Pompey 11 points adrift of seventh spot with 12 left to compete for.

That scenario prompted the club board to act, having set Awford a pre-season stipulation to reach the play-offs.

McInnes insisted it had been a ‘realistic’ target, considering the player budget fixed for this season.

Yet, ultimately, Awford could not meet the requirements.

‘Reaching the play-offs this season was critical for us,’ said McInnes.

‘It was a realistically-ambitious target supported by a realistically-ambitious budget.

‘At the start of the season we had a decent nucleus of players and a very competitive playing budget – in this division that is normally enough to get you up.

‘The board made it perfectly clear this was the season this football club had to get itself in the promotion frame by way of the play-offs.

‘No question about it, from day one the play-offs were the target and the budget was set accordingly.

‘Andy was conveniently a little vague about what he understood the ambition to be.

‘Yet any doubt about our ambition was re-stated when we gave a small uplift in his playing budget about Christmas and certainly just prior to when Gary Waddock came in.

‘The statement from the board was clear – the target was the play-offs.

‘Whether he ever believed that was achievable, that is something for Andy to state for himself. Certainly, from our point of view – collectively the board, the chief executive and the finance director – that was the stipulated target.

‘To be fair, if we had got to eighth and missed out on goal difference, or the top 10 and maybe lost a key game and showed real progress and a style of football, then we may have said that’s real progress.

‘We would have been disappointed but believed we were up and ready to go for next year because we had the nucleus.

‘I have to be honest and say I don’t believe that’s where we are, therefore that is why yesterday turned out the way it did.’

Pompey’s board held discussions over their manager’s future in the aftermath of the abject Morecambe defeat.

And the decision to call a meeting with Awford was reached on Sunday night.

McInnes added: ‘A manager will say when the players go across the white line sometimes you can’t control them, well the same goes for the board.

‘When we give somebody the ammunition and a target, they then go across the white line. The one thing you can refer to is always a target.

‘The minute it got to the point where that target was no longer achievable, we decided we were going to have the conversation which took place yesterday.’

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