A full year in hot seat divides opinions

Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler
Andy Awford. Picture: Joe Pepler
  • Awford’s 46-game record: 17 wins, 15 draws and 14 defeats
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If a week is a long time in politics, a year is a lifetime in football.

Just ask Andy Awford.

The Pompey boss marked an eventful year in charge this week with disgruntled fans inside Fratton Park voicing their frustrations at the final whistle of the 2-0 loss to Shrewsbury Town.

Some supporters do not believe he is the right man to lead the club to promotion – they want a new manager – and he must know he is under growing pressure.

There are different views on what needs to be done regardless of whether it’s on an internet message board, social media outlets or among paying supporters who go to watch the games.

Some want change.

Others want to avoid the dismissal of a third manager in two seasons of fan ownership.

But it seems there is still not an overwhelming majority either way – even if an online poll somewhere on the internet might argue otherwise.

You will get those angry vocal folk who can’t begin to fathom how others could possibly have a different point of view.

There will also be those paying supporters out there who don’t see what the fuss is all about and simply want to watch a football match on a Saturday afternoon.

How many fans think Pompey need a new manager? All? The majority? Some? Or a vocal minority?

Frankly, you can argue that point until the cows come home.

But flip the calendar back to March 27, 2014. Pompey were in deep, deep trouble.

Just two points above the League Two relegation zone, the spectre of non-league football was there for all to see.

From the outside, it appeared Richie Barker had lost the confidence of the players and – perhaps most important of all – lost belief in himself as well.

Pompey needed someone to galvanise the club.

And that required a figure who was well respected by supporters with more than 300 games behind him and knew the club inside out.

They needed an injection of positivity at a critical time and Awford provided it.

Those final seven games garnered five wins and two draws as Pompey powered their way to safety.

That achievement should not be discarded or forgotten, just as the failings of this season should not be swept under the carpet.

Let’s also remember the job was given to him with almost unanimous public approval last summer.

But 39 League Two games later adds up to an entire year of managing the club.

His 46-game tally reads 17 wins, 15 draws and 14 defeats – enough for 66 points.

Based on last season’s final table, that would have been eighth place – five points adrift of the final play-off spot.

The season before, that points tally would have been enough for ninth – three points behind seventh.

Awford will point to progress but, for many, it has not been rapid enough after last year’s flying start.

And if Pompey do not better last term’s final haul of 59 points – they are 10 points away at the moment – the Blues boss knows there will be some tough questions to answer on why that hasn’t happened.