I’m just glad my club is still alive says Pom­pey boss Guy

SPOT­LIGHT ON A ONCE-GREAT CLUB ABOUT TO BAT­TLE IN LEAGUE TWO

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE PLAY-OFF FINAL - By Ben Baker

AS PLAY­ERS and man­agers jet off around the world for hol­i­days fol­low­ing an­other sea­son of tri­als and tribu­la­tions, spare a thought for Guy Whit­ting­ham.

The Portsmouth boss is set to be glued to his mo­bile and run­ning up a phone bill rather than a bar tab this sum­mer as he seeks to re­build his squad – and fast.

Hav­ing ended the sea­son with so many of his first team play­ers on month-to-month con­tracts Whit­ting­ham is hur­riedly at­tempt­ing to swell his ranks ahead of their as­sault on League Two next sea­son.

The 48-year-old has set the ball rolling by re-sign­ing Pa­trick Agye­mang, Phil Smith and Yassin Moutaouakil.

Three new faces have also put pen to pa­per at Frat­ton Park, with Sonny Bradley and Danny East sign­ing two-year deals af­ter leav­ing newly-pro­moted Hull, while French mid­fielder Ro­main Padovani ar­rives on the South Coast af­ter be­ing re­leased by Monaco.

But while Whit­ting­ham ad­mits bring­ing in fresh blood is some­thing Portsmouth des­per­ately need, he is not about to leave the club tee­ter­ing on more fi­na­cial trou­ble.

Over­spend­ing got Portsmouth into the mess ended only by Pom­pey Sup­port­ers’ Trust’s takeover in April, and Whit­ting­ham in­sists the club have learnt their les­son.

Ex­cit­ing

“I am very busy at the mo­ment on the phone and I doubt I will have much time to put my feet up this sum­mer with a lot of work need­ing to be done to bring in play­ers,” he said.

“I am con­stantly on the phone to play­ers and agents and ex­pect to be for some time but it is an ex­cit­ing time to be hon­est even though I am very new to it all.

“It is some­thing I have never done be­fore and I am cer­tainly chuck­ing my­self into the deep end, but so far I think I have got on well with it and hope­fully it stays that way.

“Portsmouth re­main an at­trac­tive propo­si­tion for play­ers and we are find­ing that a lot want to come and play for the club.

“But what peo­ple need to re­alise is where we have come from and gone through. We will not al­low our­selves to get caught up in that again. So while we are look­ing to bring play­ers in we will stick to a strict trans­fer pol­icy.

“We are go­ing to be a big club in League Two but we need to re­mem­ber where we are and how we got here and we need to be re­al­is­tic.

“There is some re­build­ing to be done but we need to keep the ship steady and ev­ery­thing we do will have the fu­ture of this great club in mind – the days of over­spend­ing are over.

Qual­ity

“Ev­ery­one is singing from the same hymn sheet and the play­ers that we will bring in will be aware of it, too, but I don’t see it ham­per­ing us at all and I am con­fi­dent we can push on and bring in some real qual­ity even with this in mind.”

With the fans now es­sen­tially in con­trol, and the days of be­ing passed through the hands of for­eign own­ers now be­hind them, the Frat­ton Park faith­ful will be look­ing for the club to be­gin their as­cent up the Football League lad­der once more.

And while Whit­ting­ham holds out hope of at­tract­ing the right type of play­ers to help kick-start this new era, he re­mains cau­tious at set­ting the bar too high af­ter ev­ery­thing that has gone be­fore.

It is hard to make pre­dic­tions with so few play­ers on the books and Whit­ting­ham is not about to give the fans false hope, even if he ad­mits that they share the same am­bi­tions.

“I have a good re­la­tion­ship with the fans and I know they will have their own ex­pec­ta­tions and that I am re­spon­si­ble for get­ting the club back up again,” he added.

“That is some­thing I hope for but un­til the sum­mer is done and a few more play­ers have been signed then tar­gets sim­ply can’t be set.

“We have to be re­al­is­tic. Yes, pro­mo­tion is some­thing we would like to think we can have, but if this club is still in the Football League af­ter next sea­son and the ship has been stead­ied then that will have been a suc­cess­ful sea­son too.

“Peo­ple will no doubt ex­pect us to climb straight back up but to be hon­est, just hav­ing the club run­ning prop­erly again is suc­cess in it­self and some­thing for ev­ery­one in­volved to be proud of.”

STAY­ING: Pa­trick Agye­mang

NEW AR­RIVAL: Sonny Bradley

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

MY CHIME: For­mer striker Guy Whit­ting­ham is the man tasked with re­build­ing Pom­pey

PLAY­ING ON FOR POM­PEY: Yassin Moutaouakil

SIGNED ON: Phil Smith

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.