Danny Cowley achieves rare Portsmouth feat after memorable Fratton Park entrance against Ipswich

Danny Cowley has become only the third Pompey boss in 16 years to win his first match in charge.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 6:30 am

And all three individuals have been the most recent occupants of Fratton Park’s hot-seat – Cowley, Kenny Jackett and Paul Cook.

Since December 2005, the vast majority of Blues managers have endured dismal starts.

Of the 12 permanent appointments since then, eight have suffered a debut defeat, perhaps a fair reflection of the club’s tough times on and off the pitch during most of that period.

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Indeed, only Andy Awford hasn’t registered either a win or loss, with a 1-1 draw at Exeter in August 2014 from his opening match as permanent boss.

In fact, all eight managers from December 2005 until December 2013 slipped to defeat on their Blues bow.

That, of course, discounts matches involving caretaker bosses.

Beginning from Harry Redknapp’s second spell in charge, a 3-1 loss at Spurs, the first match has generally been a painful occasion.

Triumphant head coach Danny Cowley celebrates a debut victory over Ipswich with left-back Lee Brown. Picture: Joe Pepler

Tony Adams opened his account as permanent manager with a 1-0 defeat at Liverpool in October 2008.

Next was Paul Hart, who served as caretaker for 14 matches before handed the job in July 2009.

His first match was a 1-0 loss at Fulham on the opening day of the 2009-10 Premier League season.

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In November 2009, Avram Grant was at the helm for the visit of Manchester United – a 4-1 defeat for the Blues.

After Grant left for West Ham, he was replaced by Steve Cotterill, whose maiden game was the Championship curtain-raiser at Coventry in August 2010, which ended in a 2-0 loss.

Michael Appleton was in charge in November 2011 at Watford, an occasion which yielded a 2-0 defeat.

Following fan ownership saving the club, Guy Whittingham was upgraded from caretaker boss in time for the final fixture of the 2012-13 campaign.

That was a 3-2 defeat at Shrewsbury, with Patrick Agyemang and Ashley Harris netting consolation goals.

In December 2013, Richie Barker was unveiled as manager – yet began with a 2-0 home loss to Newport County.

Then came Awford’s draw, having been named permanently following a caretaker stint which kept Pompey in the Football League.

However, since August 2015, the trend has been well and truly bucked.

Firstly, Cook’s new-look side got off and running with a 3-0 success over Dagenham & Redbridge in the Fratton Park sunshine.

Following the Scouser’s summer departure, Jackett oversaw the Blues for the first time in August 2017 against Rochdale.

Debutant Brett Pitman secured a 2-0 success for the new boss, despite Jamal Lowe’s dismissal.

A 2-1 success represented the perfect start to life at Fratton Park for the newly-appointed head coach. It doesn’t happen often.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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