Cotterill hails ‘unique’ Pompey on first anniversary

Portsmouth manager Steve Cotterill during media briefing ahead of Pompey's home game to Derby County this weekend.
Portsmouth manager Steve Cotterill during media briefing ahead of Pompey's home game to Derby County this weekend.
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Steve Cotterill celebrated a year at Pompey and told supporters: Our unique fans got us through.

The Pompey boss believes the core of Blues faithful running from top to bottom through his club kept them afloat last season.

And Cotterill, who celebrates a year in the Fratton Park hot-seat today, insists it is those fans who attracted the new owners to the club.

The 46-year-old has never come across a club where there are dyed-in-the-wool supporters coursing through it at every level.

He said: ‘It’s been an unbelievable year.

‘You couldn’t have written a script for the season. It’s been a club effort.

‘The people who work at the club care about it. It’s a together club. The people who work here, the players, the coaching staff and the medical staff and fans are all supporters.

‘We’ve got fans going all the way through the club.

‘We have fans playing for the club like Joel Ward, fans at the top and Pompey fans on the staff like our masseur Colin Clement.

‘Without their support last year, I think we would have struggled, I really do.

‘While the fans are demanding, they know when you are up against it and give you support.

‘I wouldn’t be surprised if it was our fans who attracted the owners. I think that was the case.

‘You are only as big as your fan base, really – and they’ve been brilliant.’

Cotterill admits he is still stunned by the sheer amount of issues he has had to tackle since becoming manager.

He still feels it could have been much better for his squad with a few additions in January, though.

Cotterill said: ‘People were saying fourth bottom would have been a miracle.

‘When I look back at it, the big thing for me was we took it to the last eight games.

‘Until the last eight games we were in contention to get into the play-offs.

‘At critical times in that season, with two or three players to what we had, we could have pushed it.

‘There was an unbelievable time from December 11 onwards.

‘Richard Hughes couldn’t play, Michael Brown couldn’t play, Dave Kitson was suspended for three games, Liam Lawrence couldn’t play because of the 93-day loan period for a loan.

‘It was crazy. But the lads always stuck to their tasks.’