Oxford manager Michael Appleton has revealed that he had no choice but to leave Portsmouth for Blackpool in November 2012.
The 39-year-old was appointed as Portsmouth manager in November 2011, two weeks before a warrant was issued for owner Vladimir Anotov’s arrest and the club descended into what turned out to be the longest administration in football history.
“Appy” is held in high regard by Portsmouth fans during one of the toughest times in the club’s recent history. The young manager enjoyed a baptism of fire when the club was deducted ten points and relegated to League One. Appleton then went through a summer of upheaval, having to sign a squad of free agents after his wage budget was slashed by 75%.
He resigned after a 1-0 loss to Brentford but controversially announced he would not leave the day before. However, Appy doesn’t harbour any regrets over his time at the club. He told the Portsmouth News:
“Pompey have been a massive part of my coaching and managerial career and I had a fantastic relationship with the fans. There were games like at Doncaster when they would not leave the stadium until I came out and clapped them to show appreciation.”
Despite his affection for his first managerial appointment, Appleton doesn’t regret the manner of his departure:
‘Things like having the transfer embargo sprung on me when I was told there wasn’t one, although that wasn’t the only reason why I left. Just two weeks after I had found what I thought was the perfect job one of the owners is arrested for alleged money laundering – the floor broke beneath me.”
After leaving Pompey, Appy spent only twelve games at Blackpool before taking up the vacancy at Blackburn Rovers. He was sacked after only fifteen games however and was appointed as Oxford United manager in the summer, replacing current Portsmouth assistant boss Gary Waddock. The two clubs meet at Fratton Park on Saturday.