1. ITV Report

Whittingham looks to Pompey future

Guy Whittingham Photo: PA

Portsmouth's new owners have begun the task of rebuilding the club following its spectacular fall from grace.

The Pompey Supporters' Trust (PST), who rescued Portsmouth from the brink of going bust last week, started by naming Guy Whittingham as their permanent manager on a one-year rolling contract.

New chairman Iain McInnes said the 48-year-old was "the unanimous choice of the board and the fans".

Whittingham, a south-coast legend from his time as a striker at Fratton Park, was appointed caretaker boss in November after Michael Appleton quit for Blackpool.

He took over a club in administration for the second time in three years with estimated debts of £60million and, courtesy of another 10-point deduction, on their way to a third relegation in four seasons.

Whittingham has only been able to field youngsters, loanees and free agents on month-long contracts - Pompey have used more than 50 players this season - but, having found a settled side in recent weeks he guided them to a run of just two defeats in 10.

Pompey, who lifted the FA Cup in 2008 and were still in the Barclays Premier League just three years ago, will kick off next term in the bottom division.

They may still be sifting through the wreckage left behind by various previous owners but, at what is now the country's biggest fan-owned club, hopes are high of quickly moving back in the right direction.

"You've got to aim for promotion, of course you have," said Whittingham.

"But first and foremost the aim is not to go back to where we have been. We wouldn't wish what happened to us on any football club.

"The expectations are that teams who go down bounce back up. They can but you have to do it the right way and make sure there is an infrastructure to support this club for a long time to come.

"I'm pretty confident of keeping the players, I think all of them want to stay.

"We also have the advantage of starting the season on a level playing field - we were worried about the 10 points coming off next season - so that helps recruit players as well.

"We don't want to be down here too long. We want to rebuild this club. A lot of clubs now are winning promotion then going on and doing it the following year. We have to make sure we don't overdo ourselves, but it's an aim we have to have."

Electronics businessman McInnes, a Pompey supporter for over 50 years, vowed the club would not find itself in financial meltdown again.

"We are here because the club got in a mess, because it overspent and was mismanaged and we will make sure none of those things happen again," he said.

"We have seen what people who are not Portsmouth fans have done to the club, and we want to turn that on its head."

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