Success relative for man of achievement Barker

Smoke bombs were let off during Pompey's match against Charlton today. Picture: Joe Pepler

Steward treated after smoke bombs let off following Pompey defeat

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For Richie Barker, success is not reliant on trophies won or promotions secured.

Certainly his achievements at Bury and Crawley were impressive enough to earn him the Pompey manager’s job.

After nudging Bury over the promotion line in 2011, he led them to their best League One position in 13 years the following campaign (2011-12), equipped with the tiniest of budgets.

He then steered Crawley to their highest placing in club history (2012-13), again in League One, and once more with miniscule playing finances.

No trophy, no day out at Wembley, no medals, no silverware.

Nonetheless, in a footballing world when it should be argued success is relative, Barker has enjoyed plenty of it.

He said: ‘Success is measured in many different ways.

‘I took Bury to their highest position in 13 years and took Crawley to their highest league position in their history.

‘There is an argument to say that was an element of success with what I had available to me at that particular time.

‘At Bury it was tough because that football club had been in League Two for a good few years, so sustaining League One was always the aim.

‘And to finish mid-table – we finished joint-12th – having sold four players on a tight budget was a feather in the cap for everybody. For me, in my first full year, it was a massive learning curve and I would say that is the equivalent of winning something.

‘We were one of the favourites to go down.

‘Obviously, people jumped on the fact it was my first job and I had only been a caretaker, but I think we bucked a lot of trends that year.

‘At Crawley I had a tiny budget and my job was two or three-fold, really.

‘It was to bring in young players, try to improve them, try to sustain League One, try to get as high up League One as possible and have an impact in a positive way on the finances.

‘Sometimes knowing you haven’t got a great deal from the start is easier than thinking you have got a great deal and ending up with not a great deal.

‘It’s something, again, I took pride in because I helped the football club come close to becoming self-sustainable and I enjoyed that.

‘I enjoyed that ability to make a difference on and off the pitch.’

Barker was dismissed two weeks today by the Reds following proposed budget cuts in January, with Steve Coppell following shortly afterwards.

He left a Crawley side once more occupying the safety of mid-table in League One with some talented young players, among them Joe Walsh.

And for the 38-year-old, the development of such players is another gauge to his credentials.

He added: ‘I brought in some good young players who I am sure will be the basis of Crawley for a good few years.

‘There is nothing better than a young player plucked from somebody’s reserves and watching them play regularly

‘Joe Walsh is a young centre-half who got released by Swansea at the age of 19 and now has 10 Wales under-21 caps and almost 50 League One games.

‘You take immense pride in that, as much as you do in winning matches.’