Wilson’s Wisdom: Experience comes in many guises

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho still makes mistakes
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho still makes mistakes
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South

Rotherham 1-0 Pompey: they said what?

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Wilson’s Wisdom is the weekly Sports Mail column written by sports reporter Steve Wilson...

The lack of it has been levelled at Andy Awford after a week that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons at Fratton Park.

An insipid 3-0 loss at Plymouth Argyle followed by the depressing FA Cup exit at Aldershot Town put the manager under serious pressure to stay in his job.

But are those results entirely down to the fact Awford is in his first managerial job?

When I was fresh out of university and desperate to start a career as a sports journalist, a lot of applications and CVs were sent out – with a whole lot of nothing coming back in reply.

On the rare occasions someone was kind enough to write back, a lack of experience was often used as the polite let-down on why I hadn’t been selected for interview.

Eventually, after doing a hefty amount of unpaid work experience at a number of media outlets, someone took a chance.

At the time, all that was needed was a chance to prove myself and improve with a bit of nurturing from more senior figures.

Most of us will have our own tales of being overlooked for jobs we knew we were perfectly capable of doing.

Then eventually someone gave us a break, allowed us some slack to learn from a few rookie errors along the way but saw the potential in us to grow into the role.

The argument, of course, is that being manager of Pompey is not the place to cut your teeth and make those mistakes. Why not?

Just look back at the recent past.

The board (inexperienced at running a club) made a mistake with the appointment of Richie Barker.

Players (inexperienced in playing for a club like Pompey) have made errors on the pitch.

They are not alone.

Journalists might write a story which could be seen as an inaccurate reflection, or form an opinion nobody else agrees with.

We’re all human – so occasionally, we have to accept we all make a blunder from time to time.

So why should we be expecting Awford to jump into the role and sail through without ever putting a foot wrong in the process?

Even Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger still make mistakes from time to time.

Of course, some will suggest that an older manager with a string of clubs on his CV will know how to handle certain situations better because he has been there before.

But would Micky Adams, for example, be guaranteed to do any better at Pompey simply because he has had 12 previous managerial appointments?

Nobody can know that for sure.

So perhaps Awford’s long association with Pompey puts him at an advantage instead.

He knows the unique quirks of this club, the bond with the supporters and the countless other tiny factors that make up the knowledge of just how things roll around these parts.

He understands a player who is struggling for form will always get backing from fans if they are working hard for the cause – a trait which still sets Pompey supporters apart from so many others.

After all, he has that experience.