Michael Appleton: I have unfinished business at Portsmouth - but it can wait

Michael Appleton admits he has ‘unfinished business’ at Pompey.

Friday, 20th September 2019, 8:00 pm
Updated Friday, 27th September 2019, 6:16 pm
Michael Appleton admits he has 'unfinished business' at Fratton Park following his previous spell as boss. Picture: Robin Jones

And while the former Blues boss is not targeting a Fratton Park return in the near future, he would relish a reunion before the end of his management days.

The 43-year-old spent almost a year with Pompey after replacing Steve Cotterill at the helm in November 2011.

Within two weeks, chairman Vladimir Antonov was arrested on bank fraud charges – and owners CSI soon entered administration, taking the club down with them.

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There were highs – with two south-coast derby draws against Southampton.

But administration, two lots of 10-point deductions and relegation meant Appleton was dealt an appalling hand.

Nonetheless, the affection the newly-appointed Lincoln City boss still possesses for Pompey is obvious.

He told The News: ‘As difficult as my year at Pompey was, with all the financial restraints, it was still an incredible experience and one I absolutely thoroughly enjoyed.

Michael Appleton applauds the travelling Pompey fans at Doncaster following a dramatic 4-3 victory in April 2012. Picture: Steve Reid

‘It was only the latter part that it became too much, I stopped enjoying it.

‘But the reality is I have fond memories of the football club and still have a lot of admiration for everyone down there.

‘It’s one of those places and times in my life where I have unfinished business.

‘Somewhere down the line, and I am not talking now, but in the future, if an opportunity came up I would love to go back. Not now, though.’

Michael Appleton spent almost a year as Pompey boss before walking out to join Blackpool in November 2012

Appleton walked out on Pompey for Blackpool, later managing Blackburn and Oxford United, while served as assistant boss at Leicester.

He added: ‘I have absolutely no doubt in my mind whatsoever – and I would look anyone in the eye and tell them – we would have stayed up comfortably if not for the off-pitch issues.

‘We had to loan out quality players to raise money and replaced them with young kids, a lot of people forget that.

‘With a group of young players, we took it to the second from last game before being relegated.

‘That was the biggest thing for me, a group of players had to pull together to take it to the penultimate match and, from my point of view, that’s quite a proud moment, despite relegation.’