Coppell lifts lid on Pompey presence

Pompey were crowned league champions on this day in 1949. Picture: Pompey History Society

On this day picture gallery: Pompey crowned league champions

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Steve Coppell has at last lifted the lid on his Pompey presence but insisted: I’m no puppet master.

The former Reading boss has kept a distinctly low profile since joining the Blues alongside Richie Barker back in December.

Portsmouth's new Director of Football Steve Coppell during Portsmouth v Newport County, Sky Bet League Two, Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Sat 14th December, 2013.

Portsmouth's new Director of Football Steve Coppell during Portsmouth v Newport County, Sky Bet League Two, Fratton Park, Portsmouth, Sat 14th December, 2013.

Installed as director of football with no contract or wage, Coppell has not missed a single Blues fixture following his arrival.

He previously operated with Barker in the same role at Crawley, the pair striking up an effective relationship they were eager to re-establish at Fratton Park.

Regardless, some fans have questioned the 58-year-old’s contribution as Pompey remain embroiled in the relegation battle which cost predecessor Guy Whittingham his job.

Now Coppell has stepped forward to speak to the media for the first time following his appointment.

And he has clarified his precise role in Barker’s current Pompey set-up.

He said: ‘I know I am given that title but I am not director of football – I am a helper!

‘Although, I am disappointed because obviously my help hasn’t been a great deal of help!

‘I come in a couple of days a week, I’m at every game and me and Richie talk first thing in the morning.

‘Richie’s an early bird, I’m an early bird. We get in early, have a chat about things, he has got his ideas and asks my opinions on certain things.

‘I am not a puppet master or anything like that. He is the manager, I have always said I enjoy the involvement and I enjoy it here particularly because of the commitment of everybody around.

‘In many ways, I am sad it has not translated into real big positive results because the people here deserve it for what they have done to make this club survive when it has been a financial pawn in somebody else’s game.

‘For me, it is voluntary work. Although, I hope people don’t think “look at the sad old so and so, he hasn’t got anything else to do”.

‘It’s what presses my buttons. I enjoy watching football, it’s part of my DNA from when I was 11 years of age and I hope it doesn’t sound sad!

‘You could be watching a film on TV, at the cinema, at the theatre, you can be in a restaurant – and at the back of your mind you are thinking about York on Saturday.

‘We all have that in our veins, every supporter. No matter what they do in their job, we are all thinking “we have got to win on Saturday”.

‘I criticise myself and am too analytical at times. I analyse things and I think that is what I try to bring, the analytical approach to it all.

‘I like reviewing games and preparing for the next game. I like an input in those particular fields – but it is supportive and helpful rather than directive.’

For Barker, the opportunity to pick the brains of a two-time LMA manager of the year is a precious one.

And Coppell is comfortable with his own Pompey arrangement.

He added: ‘If Richie phoned me this afternoon and said “listen Steve, thanks but no thanks”, I would respond “thank you very much for letting me be involved and being part of the journey”.

‘I am not tied to Richie and he is not tied to me. I enjoy watching football. If I wasn’t watching Pompey I would go and watch somebody else.’