Alan McLoughlin paid tribute to the Fratton faithful after his Pompey exit was last night sealed.
The 47-year-old lost his job as Blues first-team coach on Thursday morning after 17 months in the role.
Following discussions with the League Managers’ Association, the club officially confirmed his departure yesterday.
It ended the latest Fratton Park stay for McLoughlin, who returned in the summer of 2011 to coach in the Academy.
With the club keen to recruit a coach with more experience at lower-league level, Awford sacked him on Thursday morning before informing the backroom staff and players.
Now McLoughlin has departed Pompey – but delivered a touching farewell to those he leaves.
He told The News: ‘I would like to thank the fans for all their support on and off the pitch, you have been fantastic and will all remain dear to me.
‘I have spent seven-and-a-half years at this club as a player and then three-and-a-half years as a coach – and it has been a fantastic adventure.
‘I’ve loved every minute of it, from pulling on the shirt for the first time away at Wolves to my last match at home to Bolton.
‘I jumped at coming back as a coach and met some wonderful Academy people such as John Slater, Ian Buckman and others.
‘There are so many people I have not had the chance to say goodbye to, such as John Jenkins, Bud the maintenance man, Neil Weld, Johnny Moore, so many of them.
‘What has given me most pride as a coach is seeing the young lads come through like Jack Whatmough, Ben Close, Dan Butler, Nick Awford, Bradley Tarbuck and soon-to-be Conor Chaplin and Brandon Haunstrup.
‘To see Close come on at Yeovil for his debut this season gave me more satisfaction than anything else.
‘Coming from them down the road it was always a rocky ride but I believe I won the fans over and leave with a heavy heart.’
It is understood a Fratton Park meeting had originally been scheduled for today – with chairman Iain McInnes and chief executive Mark Catlin to sit down with Awford, McLoughlin and Paul Hardyman to discuss a shake-up.
With the need to make room for a new coach, McLoughlin and Hardyman were under scrutiny, while the offer of an alternative role was to be discussed.
However, such plans were scuppered when Awford instead delivered the bombshell to McLoughlin on Thursday – and the Pompey hierarchy never got the chance to meet him.
McLoughlin added: ‘My future now is trying to sort this mess out.
‘You can’t negotiate if there isn’t a role to take. I decided in the end I was not prepared to hang around for months waiting for somebody to lose their job for me to take their role.
‘But I wish this great club every success.’