They were Pompey’s temporary coaching triumvirate which inspired Football League survival.
Now Andy Awford, Alan McLoughlin and Paul Hardyman have formed a permanent first-team partnership.
And Hardyman is convinced the winning combination can continue to flourish on the training ground.
The 50-year-old was yesterday appointed joint first-team coach by boss Awford, putting him on a level with McLoughlin.
With Awfs eager to keep the trio together following his managerial appointment, Hardyman vacated his Academy role to take step up.
It ensures a true Blues feel to the backroom staff, with all three having made at least 100 appearances for the club during their long playing careers.
And it’s the resumption of a relationship Hardyman felt worked well at the end of last season.
‘Awfs feels at the end of last season we worked great together, the three of us, and when discussing the job said “let’s give it a crack”,’ said Hardyman.
‘He’s right, all three of us coach and we’re really pleased with how the partnership has worked.
‘On a Monday and Tuesday me and Macca usually do the training, Awfs stands back and let’s us get on.
‘On the Thursday and Friday we all have a role. If it’s defensive work me and Awfs will get together and work with it, while Macca will go off with the attackers.
‘If it’s attacking work Andy and Macca will work with it and I will work with the defence.
‘As coaches, we have massive input and will watch the DVDs of the games and one of us will spot something and another will say “What about we do this?” We are a team ourselves.
‘Awfs let’s us get on with a lot of it – we are the first-team coaches after all – and we will confirm it with him.
‘If he has seen something we will talk about it. There are times he will let us get on with it and will stand back out of the way and just watch the players’ attitudes and the players’ mentality, especially players out of the team.
‘If you are involved in it you don’t always see that.’
The trio helped Pompey pick up five wins and two draws during their seven matches together at the end of last term.
But Hardyman has revealed their coaching approach also factors in the input of players and other staff members
He added: ‘I spoke to my old mate Kevin Ball at Sunderland and he mentioned how he involved the players, getting feedback from them.
‘When you think about it, you are one brain and you have got your coaching staff, your players, your physio, your sports scientist, everybody. Why not use a bit of their brain, too?
‘So we talk massively about all those things. With Awfs, me and Macca, we have all played for more than 20 managers so every one of those managers will have had an input into us.
‘We have all played at some international level, we have all played throughout the leagues, so I think we have some good knowledge inside the coaching team.
‘But also the players have managers they played under and worked with so why not open it out a little bit and get feedback.
‘The vocal ones are the ones who have some good ideas as well.’