Michael Appleton - a West Brom view
With Pompey recently bringing in Michael Appleton from West Brom as our new manager we at Vital Pompey Towers thought it would be good to have a 'fans-eye-view' from a Baggie!
The ed on Vital West Brom, Baggy Boy, has kindly answered a few questions for us in an attempt to give us a better insight into Appy.
Without further ado this is what was asked and what was said...
Were you disappointed that Appy left West Brom for the manager's job at Pompey?
Disappointed in the sense that it disrupts what was a good working backroom team, and given our start to the season and the need for far more points on the board, any off field disruption shouldn't be welcomed. But he's given good service to us for over a decade, and he deserves his shot at stepping up - so most wish him well. It's just one of those where the timing could have been easier, but Appy had no control over that so you can't blame him.
Obviously Roy Hodgson got it, but why was he not given the West Brom job back along when in the running, given his highly rated nature?
I think it was purely his experience more than anything. With our leaky defence and need for survival, an experienced manager who could take the best of how we were set up under Robbie, but in effect overhaul our defence and fix what was wrong about how we were set up, was the safest way forward. It was also said that one of Roy's 'jobs' so to speak when coming into the job was to groom Appleton so he could take over when he decides he's had enough, with some saying that Hodgson would only see his initial contract out leaving the door open for Appy in the summer.
Just a touch too early, and a slightly precarious league positioning I think back then, and now possibly (the club have recently said they'll be sitting down with Hodgson in the New Year about a new deal) Hodgson isn't quite ready to step aside yet, so instead of waiting, Appy wants to get out there and get some experience which is fully understandable.
What are the strongest areas and qualities that he has?
He's liked, he's a good motivator and does have that air of respectability around him. As one of his roles for Roy he took on the DVD investigations after games, so he's clearly got an eye for spotting what's not being done well on the pitch and working to affect an improvement on the training ground. Tactically he's pretty sound aswell, I am going to be interested to see how he sets Pompey up now he's got his hands on you.
And the things that he is not so good at, or what let him down?
Difficult to say really as when the Baggies hiccup it's hard to say whether it would be Appy's fault, as opposed to Roy, or the players themselves. His weaknesses should become apparent pretty quickly, and I'd expect him to spot them and work to get it right. Now he's his own man, we'll get a far better picture of him overall.
Are there any players that you think - or hope perhaps - West Brom will loan us to help you, them and us?
We've got some good youngsters coming through who aren't ready yet for regular first team action, but they will be getting games as the season goes on. Of England U21 fame you may have heard of Craig Dawson, we've also got a very talented midfielder George Thorne. It's possible there are benefits there if loans were arranged to get greater first team experience, but they are in Roy's plans so I'm not sure if he'd let them out for the rest of the season, but maybe short term 1 month loans could be an option.
So, all in all have we got a good manager here with Appy?
I think so. I think he'll do well for you, but you'll have to forgive him the learning curve as he finds his feet and finds his own way. If you stick with him, overall I think he'll do a very good job for you. You should be happy with Appy :-)
If I had to pick a comparison from the league, look at the difference in Freedman at Palace this season. Young, driven, head screwed on right but last season from the little I saw Palace parked the bus and it was ugly stuff but it worked. This season Palace are probably the surprise team in the Championship for casual viewers.
Appy has that about him I think and is a similar character, but he needs to be given the freedom to get his baseline sorted before trying to push on.
Whilst we are talking, lets go a step further and talk our clubs - what do you think would be the right hopes, or expectations, for both West Brom and Pompey this season?
For us, most fans will again be happy with a steady mid-table finish and maybe a good cup run for some enjoyment and entertainment. I certainly will be. We finished last season on a high so it was easy to get carried away and think we could push on, but Hodgson played down expectations well at the beginning of the season and reminded everyone our task is still to stay in the league so we have the foundations right. Establish ourselves first for a few seasons, and then push on with the groundwork done.
For Pompey, looking at where you are at the moment, I'd imagine you'd also be happy with a steady mid-table finish. Seems whenever I hear about Pompey these days it's just disruption of one sort or another, so with Appy in now, a steady campaign for the rest of the season should be more than doable, and then next season hopefully he can look to push on a touch and maybe look towards the play offs for you.
Seems for both of us really, it's further stability and putting the foundations in place that are required.
Thanks to Baggy Boy.
I would doubt that our paths will cross during the course of this season, a season that I wish them well in, although I would expect that they will at some point down the line...
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