The Pompey managers who learnt the grass isn’t always greener

Harry Redknapp, right, and Kevin Bond at Southampton following their Fratton Park departures
Harry Redknapp, right, and Kevin Bond at Southampton following their Fratton Park departures
Pompey's Gareth Evans. Picture: Joe Pepler

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POMPEY managers tend to be shown the exit door rather than go searching for it.

The history books prove that to be the case, although there have been modern examples of bosses who sought to depart.

Paul Cook will become the fifth manager over the past nine years to leave Fratton Park of their own accord.

Such acrimonious partings are nothing new down PO4, however.

You can go all the way back to legendary double-winning title boss Bob Jackson and his controversial exit from the club.

After winning back-to-back titles in 1949 and 1950, Jackson’s standing in the game as a managerial great was assured.

That led, two years down the line, to him making the move to upwardly-mobile Hull in shock circumstances.

Interestingly, after signing a five-year contract and moving to the east coast things didn’t work out.

Four years later, Jackson sued the club for wrongful dismissal.

In total, eight of the 35 managers employed by Pompey in the club’s 119-year history have engineered their own exits.

After their formation in 1898, the Blues’ first boss – Frank Brettell – left for Plymouth in 1901.

He won 56 of his 88 matches in charge, before departing to help the Pilgrims’ bid to make the Football League.

Richard Bonney was another manager from the club’s early days who resigned after four years in 1908.

But, after Jackson, it’s a move into the modern era before seeing a boss leave of their own accord.

The likes of Milan Mandaric and John Deacon – both former Pompey owners – were renowned for their hard-nosed hiring and firing.

Yet it was Harry Redknapp who was the next manager to seek his own exit.

A fallout with Mandaric and Velimir Zajec’s appointment as director of football was the precursor for him leaving and soon resurfacing at Southampton, a couple of weeks later.

They, of course, were relegated after never recovering from the 4-1 demolition derby defeat in 2005.

Then there was Redknapp’s return between 2005 and 2008, before departing for Spurs as the first signs of the Blues’ recent financial problems surfaced.

Pompey then saw three managers on the bounce leave the same way as the club’s meltdown intensified.

Avram Grant went after the Blues were relegated from the Premier League and reached the FA Cup final in 2010 – but had a dismal time at West Ham who went down the following season.

Steve Cotterill moved from Pompey to Nottingham Forest in October 2011 – but was sacked the following July.

And Michael Appleton denied knowledge of Blackpool’s interest before leaving to preside over the shortest managerial reign in their history. He then moved to Blackburn, where he lasted just 67 days.

So the grass isn’t always greener on the other side!