But his 363 days in charge have been dominated by the club's desperate financial plight.
He was unable to save Pompey from relegation to League One earlier this year and, with administrators warning that the club's future was in doubt, Appleton lost his entire first-team squad during the summer.
Rebuilding his team with youngsters and players on short-term contracts, he has guided Portsmouth to a position of relative safety in the third tier this season.
Caretaker manager Thompson had said he
wanted the job permanently,
but chairman Karl Oyston has chosen Appleton as the man to take over from Holloway, the Seasiders' most successful manager of recent times.
The Bristolian led Blackpool to the Premier League in 2010 and almost secured a return to the top flight in May, losing to West Ham in the play-off final at Wembley.
With no major departures from the playing squad since then, Appleton will be expected to at least challenge for a spot in the top six.
His playing career was cruelly cut short, a serious knee injury
forcing him to retire at the age of 27,
but spells as a coach under Roberto Di Matteo and latterly an assistant manager to Roy Hodgson at West Bromwich Albion provided a sound base for him to begin his managerial career.
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