Painful departure but no sign of progress

Andy Awford celebrates in front of the Fratton end after last season's vital League Two win against Hartlepool Picture: Joe Pepler

Andy Awford celebrates in front of the Fratton end after last season's vital League Two win against Hartlepool Picture: Joe Pepler

Sol Campbell lifts the Barclays Asia Trophy. Picture: Will Caddy

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We’ve all been here a number of times in the past but it doesn’t get any easier.

The departure of a Pompey manager is a painful business – even if we should be more used to the whole process by now.

The club statement stated that Andy Awford’s exit was by mutual consent.

The chairman, Iain McInnes and chief executive Mark Catlin, were at pains to point out that one of modern football’s more ludicrous and overused terms was, on this occasion, actually true.

Of course, there are plenty of different shades of the term ‘mutual’.

It’s decidedly unlikely that Awfs made the first move in stepping down from his position as manager, let’s put it that way.

Recently, he spoke of his summer recruitment plans.

That is not someone who thinks their days might be numbered.

But perhaps over the course of the weekend as he contemplated where it went wrong at Morecambe, Awford – a man who rarely doubted his own abilities or at least never showed it – might have had some second thoughts.

As he made his way from the club training ground, there was a brief wave and a sad half-smile but he didn’t stop to speak to the media.

It’s hard to blame him.

Would any of us really want to wax lyrical to the public within an hour of losing our job?

Some suggest the heartless hacks revel in these types of big events but it’s an unpleasant business where it feels like you are intruding on someone’s personal grief.

Awford has made it known he will be not be making any public comment at the moment but he will surely agree that results haven’t been good enough this season.

Unfortunately, the bottom line is always the results.

All of the other good work in putting down foundations at the club or his rescue act from last season become yesterday’s news if the first team don’t perform.

Some supporters wanted a change and others didn’t.

But while there may be some satisfaction among those who wanted a new man at the helm, there will be sadness, too.

Awford got backing and was allowed to bring in his own players.

But the counter argument is always whether a year in charge is enough to allow a manager to really put their stamp on the team.

That is open to debate.

But a play-off challenge was the target and it never really materialised.

Most feel there simply should have been more progress this season.

But now the discussions start on who the next man will be.

As we’ve seen with the past three appointments, it will not be a straightforward decision for those who must make it.

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