‘There’s unfinished business here’ – skipper Tom Jeffes on taking on a management position at US Portsmouth

Tom Jeffes believes the most successful season in US Portsmouth's history could signal the start of big things to come.

Sunday, 30th May 2021, 1:02 pm
Newly-appointed player assistant manager Tom Jeffes scores the winning penalty for US Portsmouth in their FA Vase fourth round victory over Christchurch. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

And he is 'delighted' to be at the forefront of taking the club into a new era, as USP's new player/assistant manager.

Jeffes, who has spent the past four seasons at the Victory Stadium, will work closely with new boss Tom Grice as they prepare for life in the Wessex League Premier Division.

The pair could not have a tougher act to follow with former manager Glenn Turnbull guiding the club to an FA Vase semi-final and a Wessex League Cup final, while USP were also granted 'upward movement' as part of the FA's non-league restructure.

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However, Jeffes, 34, feels those achievements were not the closing of a glorious chapter for the club; instead, he reckons it may well prove to be just the starting point.

And sticking around to take on a new role and build on the success story, as the club prepare for life after Turnbull, is something Jeffes is relishing.

He said: 'The overriding feeling for me was that we’ve started something and it’s not been finished.

‘Glenn had an offer he couldn’t refuse and he’s got a lot of links with Moneyfields, but I just felt there was something at United Services - apart from the affection I’ve got for the club and people like Bob (Brady,secretary) behind the scenes - I just felt it was a project that wasn’t complete.

‘I just felt it was the right decision for the structure that we’ve got. We know we need to bring in more people behind the scenes and bolster that, but it’s a really, really exciting challenge.

'The whole unfinished business thing sits there for me, I still feel there’s more to give - particularly going up a league, it’s going to be a tough season but we’ve got a real chance to show that last year wasn’t just a flash in the pan.'

Jeffes admitted had Grice not been part of the club's new management set up he 'probably wouldn't have' stepped into his player/assistant manager role.

But with the pair both on board and beginning to build for next term, Jeffes feels it will help provide some 'stability' following the departures of Turnbull and his coaches Fraser Quirke and Paul Barton.

He added: 'The work Glenn, Barto and Fraser have done for the club over the past few years has been phenomenal.

‘It made the decision hard because they wanted to create as much as what we’ve got at Moneyfields - they’d be stupid if they didn’t try to do that .

‘Me and Gricey came together early doors.

'We just came together and had a bit of an honest chat. If I’m being brutally honest, if I hadn’t taken a big part in the management role or he hadn’t, I think both of us probably wouldn’t have done it.

‘It’s a big commitment and I felt it needed both of us. I know Bob was keen to keep us because it gave the club the stability it needed at this time.

‘I’m relishing it, I’m really looking forward to it, it’s a great opportunity to help the club push on into a new era following on from what Glenn and the guys have done.'