Exclusive: Guy Whittingham on being Pompey manager ‘I enjoyed every minute of it until I was sacked’

By Freddie Webb

Pompey legend Guy Whittingham believes he enjoyed almost all of his managerial tenure at the club in 2013.

Whittingham, who made 195 appearances and scored 99 goals for Portsmouth across three different spells, was in charge for seven months after the club was saved from bankruptcy by the Portsmouth Supporters Trust.

The retired striker said even though he was hurt after being sacked, he enjoyed his managerial stint.

“I loved managing Pompey and enjoyed every minute of it, apart from the last hour when sacked!” Whittingham told PompeyNewsNow.

“Working with the players was the best thing ever; so many different personalities and egos but it was simple really, they all just wanted to play well and there were no other agendas.”

Whittingham oversaw a complete overhaul of the club on and off the pitch, almost rebuilding an entire squad from scratch.

The pressure to succeed was immediate and Portsmouth suffered a reality check when an 18,181-crowd watched the side collapse to a 4-1 home defeat to Oxford United on opening day.

Former Pompey midfielder Simon Ferry said he was surprised the manager didn’t react aggressively after the loss – instead electing to shake every players hand after the game – but Whittingham stands by his decision.

He said: “We were definitely the better team until Ertl got sent off.

“It was my decision to go 4-3-2, keeping two strikers on the pitch and there was no lack of effort from the players.

“It was the first game of the season with a brand-new squad, I only had three young players left from beginning of the season, so I didn’t think harsh talk would have done any good.”

Whittingham remembers the pressure to succeed being on him from board level immediately.

He said the board would always have an opinion and wanted to know every minor detail of every decision he made, and concluded that ultimately, the expectations at the time were too high to succeed.

He said: “Expectations of course were high for the club and it was always going to be a lot of pressure, but they were too high for where we were at the time.

“I think it showed with how long and how many managers it took for Pompey to get promotion, it is not as easy as people think.”

Photo: Portsmouth FC

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