Catlin: We’ve got the right man

Richie Barker
Richie Barker

POMPEY are preparing to unveil Richie Barker as their new manager.

And chief executive Mark Catlin believes the Blues have found the right man to take the club forward.

Barker is set to be named as Guy Whittingham’s successor on Monday on a 12-month rolling contract.

That’s after he emerged as the outstanding candidate following three frenetic days of interviews.

The 38-year-old got the vote of the board of directors from the seven candidates they spoke to over the position.

Barker, with Steve Coppell to be handed an advisory role, is set to arrive and work with the existing coaching set-up, with caretaker boss Andy Awford returning to the Academy.

Catlin was remaining tight-lipped over the manager’s identity, but The News understands it is Barker who will get the position. And Catlin believes Pompey have the person to overhaul their on-pitch affairs.

He said: ‘We feel we’ve got the right man from the process, without a shadow of a doubt.

‘It’s been a really intense period of interviewing and talks. There’s still bits and pieces to do because contracts have to be right for both parties, but we’re pleased.

‘We got a good mix across the three days of interviewing.

‘The board had in mind the candidate they wanted. It had to be someone who was prepared to restructure the football side of the business from top to bottom.

‘You can either have a football manager who manages the football side of the business from top to bottom, or you can employ a coach.

‘What was high in the board’s mind was they wanted someone who could completely restructure the football side of things.

‘It’s been four years of a slide here. We’ve made great strides off the field but the core product is the football.

‘There is a board who haven’t evolved here.

‘Normally there is a mix of experience, but you haven’t got that with our board.

‘You have people who are successful in their own right, but have no real football experience. So the board made that clear that’s what they wanted.

‘It’s a massive rebuilding job and it’s not for the faint hearted, but we’re happy.’

Barker beats the likes of Paul Tisdale, Chris Wilder and Steve Claridge to the manager’s job, after they were all interviewed.

They have all now been told they will not get the position.

Catlin added: ‘We’ve had to tell people they’ve not got it, and that’s not easy.

‘The common thread, especially at the interview stage, was how desperately people wanted this job. You’d expect that for such a great club.

‘There were really good candidates who, almost to a man, gave really good interviews. There wasn’t a lot between them.

‘So, when you have that, it makes you more comfortable and enthused as a board because of their calibre.’