Scunthorpe United manager Alan Knill: It's difficult to stay focused when times are tough off pitch
From living the dream to waking up with the reality, Portsmouth's fall from grace has been unerringly quick.
Only four years ago Pompey were conducting an open-top bus tour through the city after lifting the FA Cup.
Since then, overspending on players forced the club to enter administration twice, with their troubles still far from over.
They do battle with Scunthorpe United on Saturday; though, as Iron boss Alan Knill explains, the south coast side's real fight is taking place off the pitch.
Knill knows only too well, he's been there.
Not to the same extent as Portsmouth, but he was at the helm of Rotherham during some of the Millers' darkest days.
Fending off questions on finances became the staple of his interviews, motivating players who had not been paid his chief daily task.
Such conditions have the potential to make or break a person.
"It can go either way. When I was at Rotherham we went that way," said Knill, knitting his hands together.
"It pulled all the players together.
"Still, they're working hard and not getting paid.
"You're asking the players, 'you've got to be doing this, you've got to be doing that, you've got to be motivated' – and they're not getting paid, it is really difficult.
"When there's no guarantee that at the end of the month you're going to get your money, then it becomes difficult. That's the biggest thing.
"Sometimes you can go, 'I don't blame the players', but the manager has to be seen to be trying his best and keeping everybody together and keep moving them forward.
"Even the manager might think, 'what the hell am I doing here? It's a waste of time'.
"But you just keep going and keep going and hopefully someone comes in and takes over the football club."
Knill's experience from his time at Millmoor means he can empathise with Pompey boss Michael Appleton.
Shortly after he stepped up from youth coach to take over from Mick Harford came the news Rotherham faced an uncertain future unless a large gap in funding could be plugged.
They were saved at the eleventh hour but the fallout of going into administration took its toll nonetheless.
"When I was at Rotherham, I was answering more questions about money and finances and this and that than I was about the team on the pitch," Knill explained.
"It takes you away from it. Really you just want to focus on what you do and what actually you're employed to do, which is look after the team.
"I don't know too much about Portsmouth's situation because we kind of live in a bubble of our own, but you do look at it.
"Some of the stuff and the wages that has been paid out there... at the time they're probably competing at the top level but eventually it's just going to go pear-shaped.
"You can't pay that sort of money out unless you're one of those clubs guaranteed to be in the Premier League all that time.
"It's an example of actually chasing the dream.
"You chase the dream and chase it and chase it, and eventually you fall out of that, you wake up and it becomes a nightmare. That's what's happened to Portsmouth.
"It is ridiculous because with the size and the support it should be right up there.
"It's just another example that if you don't run the club within its means then trouble's round the corner.
"The Football League is strewn with clubs like that.
"That's why you have to have sensible people who want to run a football club right and they don't ever put it in a position where it can go bang, because the fallout from that is ridiculous – I've been there.
"It makes it difficult for Appy (Appleton).
"That's an example of fire-fighting.
"He had no players until more or less the first or second week in the season.
"As much as you try to focus on the pitch, you can't help it, with what's going on off the pitch. It takes your focus off.
"I don't really know him well but I've come across him a few times and he seems really level headed.
"He's just getting on with his job to the best he possibly can and the best he's allowed.
"I think everybody in football realises that, especially if you've been at a club that's been in that situation, then you have an apathy for him.
"You know that it's not about football, a lot of it isn't about football, it's about other stuff."
Leeds, Rangers, football is littered with tales of those paying the price for financial mismanagement.
Knill says it is time tighter restrictions were put in place.
"I think there are quite a few Portsmouths out there," he continued.
"We keep saying the same things about this fit and proper person test to own a football club.
"Usually they come in, take ownership and then it (the test) is done after, then someone decides, 'I'm not quite sure', but it's too late, they've already done whatever they're going to do.
"Probably everyone looks at Portsmouth and goes, 'how can that have possibly happened to a club of that size'. But then you look at Rangers, one of the biggest clubs. It does.
"I'm sure eventually something will happen, there will be somebody come along and you're hopeful a club like Portsmouth moves back up the leagues, but right now it's quite tough for them."
The Iron are often held up as an example of a club determined to live within its means.
They are at the opposite end of the scale to Portsmouth in terms of how matters off the pitch have been run.
Balancing the books though, remains par for the course.
"We're tightening, because we exceeded what we bring in," said Knill. "That means somebody has to fund that.
"At Portsmouth, for a while, they had somebody who funded it so everything's great and you keep going and keep going.
"Then all of a sudden, that person says, 'hold it, I'm not going to fund that anymore'. That's when the trouble starts.
"We're tightening because you just can't carry on. No-one can keep losing money, keep throwing money at something and keep losing it. Eventually it doesn't matter who they are, they're going to say, 'I'm getting a bit tired of this'.
"You have to try to run the club accordingly and that's where, outside it, everybody needs to know that.
"Unfortunately, Portsmouth have spent and spent and spent and not had that funding to back it up. In the end, it's left a lot of debt and caused a lot of problems."
Still, as heartless as it may be, on Saturday, it is Scunthorpe's task to ignore those problems.
Determined to extend their unbeaten run into a fifth game, Knill has urged his players to concentrate on the job in hand.
"On the pitch Portsmouth have got some really good players," he said.
"You have to go there playing the players not playing the club situation and thinking everything's doom and gloom because there's some players on that pitch who have got some quality.
"We go there and we'll play the players and not worry about what else is happening off the pitch. Hopefully we'll come away with three points.
"If we continue to compete like we have, we give ourselves every chance."