Legend’s pain as Whittingham is sacked

Alan Knight was part of Guy Whittingham's backroom staff at Pompey before he took on the role of club ambassador last month
Alan Knight was part of Guy Whittingham's backroom staff at Pompey before he took on the role of club ambassador last month
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ALAN KNIGHT has spoken of his sympathy for Guy Whittingham after he was sacked.

The Pompey legend admitted it was difficult to see his friend leave Fratton Park after he was axed yesterday.

Whittingham was told that he was being dismissed after he gave his press briefing ahead of tonight’s clash with Southend.

Knight was brought back to the club he made 801 appearances for by Whittingham last season to act as goalkeeping coach – before being handed his current ambassadorial role last month.

He stated it was tough to see his friend depart after he was handed the managerial job on a permanent basis in April.

Knight said: ‘First and foremost, my thoughts are with Guy himself, his wife Martha and their family.

‘No-one likes to see anyone get the sack. It’s not nice to see it happen to anyone.

‘I don’t like to see anyone lose their job, and it hasn’t been through lack of effort from Guy or his team. Guy has put the hours in.

‘He brought me into the club last year.

‘Maybe we all have to look at ourselves and ask if we could’ve done anymore to help.

‘I’m just very disappointed for him.’

Four defeats on the bounce upped pressure on Whittingham, with boos ringing out in the wake of Saturday’s 2-1 League Two loss to Scunthorpe.

Fans sang ‘that was embarrassing’ with Pompey 18th in League Two.

Knight felt that reaction may well have been a factor in the decision being made for him to go.

The 52-year-old raised the issue of whether it was too early for Whittingham to depart.

He said: ‘Unfortunately things haven’t gone as well or as quickly as anybody would’ve liked or anyone would’ve liked.

‘It’s a results-driven industry but maybe people will think he deserved a little more time to get it right.

‘But there were questions on Saturday and the crowd were turning a little bit.

‘Unfortunately, that is the nature of the game.’

The Pompey board have refused to speak over their decision to sack Whittingham in the wake of making the move.

That silence has come in for criticism among some sections of fans.

Knight can understand the Fratton faithful wanting to know more about the events of the past 24 hours, and why the call was made so close to a game.

He feels that sacking Whittingham would have been a tough call for the Pompey board to make, however.

The Pompey boss had struck up a decent relationship with those now in power at Fratton Park, after they became the biggest fan-owned club in the United Kingdom.

And, from where he stands, Knight reckons it’s not a decision they would have easily made.

He said: ‘I’m sure the board would’ve found it a difficult decision to make as well.

‘Obviously, they’ve struck up a close relationship with Guy and there was the friendship side to it.

‘It would’ve made it double difficult for everyone.

‘I don’t think anyone has come to this decision to lightly.’

Knight called on Pompey to now deliver a win against Southend tonight in the name of their manager.

Andy Awford has been placed in caretaker charge, supported by Alan McLoughlin and David Connolly, for the meeting with the Shrimpers.

Knight said: ‘It’s disappointing but we need to get a reaction from the lads.

‘Awfs has taken the reins and they need to get a result for Guy.’