Ex-Bournemouth boss and Liverpool coach Sean O'Driscoll quits Portsmouth Academy amid facility and funding criticisms

Pompey’s Academy has been plunged into uncertainty following the resignation of Sean O’Driscoll.

By Neil Allen
Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 8:03 am
Updated Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 8:31 am
Pompey Academy's head of coaching Sean O'Driscoll has handed in his notice over Academy facility and funding concerns. Picture: Habibur Rahman

It is understood the frustrated head of coaching has handed in his resignation over concerns about the set-up’s ongoing funding and facilities.

The recruitment of the former Bournemouth manager and Liverpool assistant boss represented something of a coup when he arrived in March 2019 as owners Tornante bolstered the structure Blues’ Academy system.

However, it is believed there has been growing disillusionment among staff over the levels of funding by the Eisners, despite promises made when attempting to purchase the club.

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That has prompted O’Driscoll to resign and he will now work his three month’s notice.

The ex-England youth boss has recently been coaching the Blues’ under-16s following Shaun North’s appointment as Pompey kitman.

Subsequently, O’Driscoll has battled with the issues facing the under-9s up to under-16s, in particular training arrangements.

The club have yet to secure a permanent training facility for those age groups, using the University of Portsmouth’s Furze Lane, Bay House School in Gosport and Priory School in Fratton.

Following this month’s launch of a new 3G surface at Horndean Technical College, it now houses training on Monday evenings.

It is understood the lack of a consistent structure for training facilities has infuriated those connected with the Academy and some parents of its talented youngsters

Among the criticism is that it reflects unfavourably on the club’s professionalism, with parents bringing their children from across the area for one-hour training sessions at several alternating venues each week.

In the meantime, the existing 3G pitches at Roko, Pompey’s newly-acquired training ground, are considered not fit for purpose.

Having deteriorated substantially under the Roko ownership, they are out of use, with the former 5-a-side league which previously took place there long since scrapped.

The under-18s are accommodated at Pompey’s training ground, however, working on its grass pitches from Monday to Friday during the day.

Roko is also used for under-18 home matches, with Liam Daish’s side enjoying an excellent start to the season, leading the Youth Alliance League South-West Division after six games.

In May 2017, Michael Eisner addressed supporters gathered at the Portsmouth Guildhall ahead of their proposed £5.6m takeover.

Among the pledges was the continued funding of the Blues’ Academy, which has offered a tremendous production line during the last decade.

However, in recent years it has slowed and in the last 12 months come under scrutiny, with long-serving former Academy head Mark Kelly quitting this summer.

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