Club ‘saddened’ as ex-boss speaks of surprise

TOUGH TO TAKE Guy Whittingham
TOUGH TO TAKE Guy Whittingham
Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey’s stance at odds with the game – now it’s over to you, Mr Jackett

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A LOT has changed at Pompey since February.

There are new owners at the helm, while a new manager is due to be officially announced today.

As a club struggling to free itself from the associations of its debt-ridden past, Sam Sodje’s revelation has come as a surprise to those now in charge.

Club spokesman Colin Farmery said: ‘If these serious allegations are true, then we are extremely shocked and saddened by them, as match-fixing of any type goes to the heart of the integrity of the game.’

He added: ‘The player in question no longer plays for the club and we have not been contacted by the authorities, but of course we would co-operate fully with any inquiry.’

At the time of the match, Guy Whittingham was caretaker manager of the then-League One side.

He has since been dismissed from his duties at Fratton Park, but his ties to the club will forever be linked after a successful playing career at Fratton Park. After Sodje’s dismissal at Oldham on February 23, Whittingham was so angry about the incident he struggled to talk about it.

Yesterday he told The News Sodje’s sending off cost Pompey the chance to claw their way back into the game.

He said: ‘I am absolutely shocked and surprised by this.

‘At the time Sam apologised for his sending off and admittedly it was a strange incident, none of us could quite believe what had happened or why he had done it.

‘I didn’t actually see the incident myself. There was an argument which initially involved Yassin Moutaouakil and when things got a bit heated and a lot more players got involved, Sam was given a red card.

‘It was only when I saw the replays later on that I saw the punch to their player and the referee had been right to send him off.

‘But of course we never suspected anything like this being possibly behind any it, who would?

‘We were 1-0 down at the time but when the game is tight like that you still think you have a chance to get back into it. The sending off wrecked that.’

Whittingham, who described himself as ‘sickened’ by the allegations, said his shock was deepened when the allegations were coupled with a background of redundancies at Pompey during the club’s second period in financial administration.