Whittingham: I fancied playing in that one

Guy Whittingham admitted he wished he’d still been out there playing as Pompey signed off their Fratton Park campaign with a memorable victory.

The caretaker Blues boss cast his mind back to his illustrious playing days at the club as his side kicked off the new era under the ownership of the Pompey Supporters’ Trust with a clinical 3-0 destruction of Sheffield United.

Guy Whittingham. Picture: Sarah Standing (131084-4410)

Guy Whittingham. Picture: Sarah Standing (131084-4410)

But while Whittingham revealed it was his best day as a manager and the perfect way to seal the long-awaited takeover, he couldn’t help but reminisce about his days as Corporal Punishment when he led the Pompey attack in the 1990s.

Whittingham said: ‘It was my best day as a manager because of the result and everything else alongside it. Absolutely.

‘We played well, we defended well and it was the perfect way to end the season at home.

‘I think it’s about getting the right players in, having players playing with confidence and it looked like a team who had that out there.

‘But I would still prefer to be out there playing in a victory like that.

‘You are out there enjoying the whole thing when you are playing and you know the team is playing well and the crowd is behind you as they were.

‘That atmosphere had the hairs on the back of my neck standing up at times.

‘On the sideline, it’s hard to enjoy it until you get the win at the final whistle.

‘But it’s a different kind of satisfaction.

‘You feel pleased for the fans and for your players – it’s not about me or the staff so much, although we all feel delighted as well.

‘If they are happy, they play well, they make the fans happy and we’re happy as well.

‘It was just pleasing to win the game. As a professional, first and foremost, you’ve got to make sure you win games.

‘But to do it with a bit of style was just great.’

Whittingham has definitely grown into the role as manager since he took over in a caretaker capacity from Michael Appleton in November.

And alongside Andy Awford, the duo have impressed in the way they have built a squad.

Talks have taken place and his grin suggested things have been agreed with the new board on him taking permanent charge of the club.

But with a press conference called for Wednesday, he was in no position to give away any details.

He said: ‘I can’t speak about anything at the moment. I’ve given the chairman a few lifts to make sure I am in position but we will see what happens at the press conference.’

On a day when Pompey fans embraced the new era and the chance to start afresh next season in League Two, Whittingham questioned what might have been if he had been able to assemble his side earlier.

And while he knows he cannot change the circumstances, he believes Pompey would have stayed in League One.

He said: ‘I have no doubt whatsoever this team would have stayed up – even with a 10-point deduction.

‘Who knows where we would have finished?

‘But we’ve played against a lot of the better teams in the division and not done badly against them.

‘So you would think we would be looking at the other end of the table, rather than at the bottom.

‘But we are where we are and we have to look forward.

‘The Football League have stuck to their agreement on deducting the 10 points this season, which we have got to thank them for.

‘But this club needs that fresh start.’