Bright, young boss makes Pompey return

Mikey Harris during his time in charge of Salisbury City
Mikey Harris during his time in charge of Salisbury City

He made his name as the youngest full-time manager in English football.

But Mikey Harris has now walked away from that position at non-league crisis club Salisbury City for a job in Pompey’s Academy.

And it will be a Fratton Park return for the 29-year-old, as he becomes another key cog in the Blues youth set-up.

Harris previously worked as an under-12 coach when Andy Awford was in charge of the Academy.

The former midfielder went on to become Salisbury boss last summer and steer the troubled outfit to 12th in the Skrill Premier.

That was before their demotion for failure to pay debts – after they were placed under a transfer embargo.

It’s a sign of the times that Pompey will offer solace from those troubles these days, with Harris emerging as the successful candidate from an interview process which saw 37 people apply for the role of under-18 coach.

New Academy boss Mark Kelly had the final say on the appointment.

But Awford believes he has found the right man for the job.

He said: ‘Mikey will be the under-18 coach.

‘It was an Academy appointment and I was on the interview panel.

‘I explained to Mark what I was looking for.

‘We agreed but the ultimate call went to Mark.

‘We went through a thorough, comprehensive and vigorous interview process to get the right man.

‘The panel was me, Mark and the HR manager Ian Home. It was a unanimous decision.

‘We had 37 applicants after we advertised it. We interviewed three.

‘I then sat in on the interview process from there.

‘It was all done properly and professionally.

‘It’s important to have the right person to fit that role and Mikey fits that.

‘He’s young, hungry and did a great job with Salisbury last year.

‘To get them to 12th in their league was very, very good. We’re pleased to have him here.’

Harris departs the Raymond McEnhill Stadium after signing a new rolling one-year contract in May.

He does that to join a club he supported as a youngster and worked at three years ago.

Awford feels a lot has changed since then with Pompey’s fall down the divisions.

He feels the under-18 position Harris is assuming is an important one but he is confident he will be able to convey the ethos which he is keen to see impressed on emerging players.

Awford said: ‘He was under-12 coach in a part-time capacity three years ago.

‘He has worked here a bit and knows the terrain slightly.

‘But the Academy has changed a lot since then.

‘Back then he worked under me and probably had a few coaches to work with.

‘It’s changed an awful lot since then – the club and the Academy.

‘It helps he has worked here before and knows the club.

‘But he has bags of experience. To have that is vital.

‘We need to get the kids ready to step in.

‘There is that age gap between 18 and 21 which I think needs a bit of nurture but we have a particular way of doing things here.

‘Me and Paul (Hardyman) have done that over the last four years.

‘You could call it a little bit stern and the kids are taught a bit quicker here than they may be ay other clubs in terms of game management and that type of thing.

‘So Mikey’s perfect for that role.’