Pompey boss admits fans were right to have a go at players

Ashley Harris made a difference when he came on. Picture: Barry Zee
Ashley Harris made a difference when he came on. Picture: Barry Zee
Curtis Main in action for Pompey against Reading under-23s in last season's Checkatrade Trophy. Picture: Joe Pepler  PompReading PPP-160510-131550001

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Pompey fans had every right to vent their frustration at the players, according to caretaker boss Guy Whittingham.

The loyal Fratton faithful sent out a loud message as the end of a dismal first period approached with the Blues 2-0 down.

A chorus of ‘you’re not fit to wear the shirt’ was followed by boos at the half-time whistle and other, more colourful, chants.

Yet Whittingham backed the supporters and felt his players got what they deserved – both in the first half and when they were applauded off at full-time.

Whittingham said: ‘They had every right to shout that.

‘They want people to fight for the cause and we didn’t do that in the first half.

‘Our fans are probably the most loyal of all the fans I have come across and the clubs I have played at.

‘But they booed us off at half-time and they had every right to boo us off.

‘I told the players at half-time you cannot come off a football pitch not giving everything you have got.

‘So we told them they had to be more positive in the second half and if they were, the crowd would get behind them, then applaud them off at the end and they did.

‘I think they were totally fair in what they did and the reactions they gave to every player.’

Whittingham knows the Pompey supporters simply ask for effort and commitment.

He also knows they will back their players to the hilt if they are giving their all.

The caretaker boss said: ‘They know their football here, they know what they like to see and if they don’t get it, they tell you.

‘If they do get what they want, they let you know that as well.

‘You certainly can’t complain about that as a player.

‘They don’t care if people are having a bad game on the ball.

‘They just want people to get stuck in and run around for them.

‘Why can’t you do that as a player?

‘There was one point where Ashley Harris chased a ball down the left touchline and kept it in.

‘It epitomised what we want people to do here.

‘But we were much better in the second half and they applauded the team off at the end of the game, so it goes to show they appreciated their efforts.’

– STEVE WILSON