Appleton appointed Pompey boss

The 35-year-old has left his role as assistant to Roy Hodgson at

Albion to sign a three-and-a-half-year contract at Fratton Park.

Appleton played for Manchester United as a young midfielder and

also had spells with Lincoln, Grimsby, Preston and the Baggies

before his career was cut short by a knee injury in 2003 and he

moved into coaching. He is the 21st man to have played under Sir

Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford and gone on to become a manager,

following the likes of Steve Bruce, Roy Keane, Mark Hughes and

Bryan Robson. And Appleton has set his sights joining his old boss

in the Premier League with Pompey. He told the club’s official

website, www.portsmouthfc.co.uk: “I’m delighted and excited to be

taking the job and hopefully I can share that enthusiasm and

excitement out around the club. “It’s going to be a progressive

challenge. You get judged on results and the first team is the most

important thing, but we want to build the infrastructure of the

club, developing the academy and hopefully along the line getting

our own training ground. Things like recruitment will be key.

“Hopefully, with a sensible approach, we can take the club forward.

“It was very difficult to leave West Brom because I had spent

nearly a third of my life there and had made a lot of good friends

and worked with good people. “But it was time for me to take on a

different challenge, and this is one I’m really excited about.

“Portsmouth have fantastic traditions and the supporters are

renowned throughout the football world for being very loud and

getting behind the team. We want to give them something to shout

about. “A few years ago Portsmouth were a successful Premier League

club. I would like to think I can help the people at the football

club achieve that again.” Appleton replaces Steve Cotterill, who

left to join Nottingham Forest last month, and takes over with

Pompey 16th in the npower Championship. He is the club’s fifth

manager in little more than three years, but Albion boss Hodgson

has backed his former number two to be a success on the south

coast. He said: “I, and the rest of the coaching staff, would like

to wish Michael all the very best in his new job and thank him very

much for the work he has put in during my brief time at the club.

“I realise what an excellent club servant he has been over the

years and he fully deserves this opportunity to manage a team of

his own. “We will miss him and, in an ideal world, we would have

liked him to still be here with us. “However, I was fully behind

the club’s decision not to stand in his way when this excellent

opportunity presented itself and our loss is going to be

Portsmouth’s gain.”