Wilson’s Wisdom: Experience must count in manager search

The departure of Andy Awford was conducted with a heavy heart by all connected to the decision.
Former Cardiff boss Dave JonesFormer Cardiff boss Dave Jones
Former Cardiff boss Dave Jones

On a personal note, I felt there was still scope for him to be given more time to allow some continuity at the club where change has become the by-word.

But I also accept I was probably in the minority on this one.

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The 2014-15 campaign is a failure and if a season is long enough to make a judgement on any manager – and I’m still not convinced it is – then there was only one conclusion.

If you look at Wycombe, they might have done the same thing with Gareth Ainsworth last season when they survived relegation by the skin of their teeth.

They didn’t. Now look at them.

The Pompey board have come under fire at times during their two years at the helm and much of it has been unfounded.

And I understand why this latest decision was made.

The board are not the ruthless hatchet men who swing the axe with these knee-jerk decisions based on emotion.

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They are also not the clueless, bumbling fools that some would have you believe.

Targets were set and they were not reached in the specified time frame.

But in just two years, we’ve seen three managers come and go.

Guy Whittingham probably deserved his opportunity, if only for steering the ship as the club teetered on the brink of oblivion.

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Booting him out in November seemed hasty after he had built a squad from scratch that summer.

The Richie Barker appointment was a mistake – and my colleagues might vouch for the fact that I had major reservations from day one.

I had nothing against him, but he just didn’t seem the right fit for Pompey or the right profile for what was needed.

The Steve Coppell factor seemed to be given too much weight – after all, this is man who no longer wanted the hassle of day-to-day involvement at a football club.

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And I don’t care how good a job interview Barker may have given either.

Stephen Fry would probably give an engaging and intelligent interview but that doesn’t make him a Pompey manager.

As for Awford, his efforts at the end of last season meant there were few dissenting voices when his appointment was approved.

If the board were to ask me – which they won’t – I would advocate an appointment based on age and experience.

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The club needs someone who knows the ins and outs of football management, has a bit of charisma, some standing within the game and still has that drive within him to succeed.

So on this occasion, I think it calls for an experienced hand.

Too often, those elder statesmen managers in their 50s and 60s are cast aside as ‘yesterday’s men’.

But they have a wealth of knowledge about the game which is often ignored and wasted as clubs continue to search for the next ‘bright, young thing’.

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Yes, the game evolves but you’ll notice that those principles tend to remain the same on how to win a football match.

So if you’re pushing me for one name, I think someone like Dave Jones fits the bill.

Then again, what do I know?