Whittingham prepares for Keepmoat - and a Pompey record

Guy Whittingham will set a new club record for the numbers of games overseen by a caretaker manager when Pompey take on Doncaster Rovers tomorrow
Guy Whittingham will set a new club record for the numbers of games overseen by a caretaker manager when Pompey take on Doncaster Rovers tomorrow
Dion Donohue. Picture: Colin Farmery

New boy’s bitter-sweet Pompey experience

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Guy Whittingham will create his own little piece of club history as Pompey travel to take on League One leaders Doncaster Rovers tomorrow.

The Keepmoat Stadium visit will mark his 23rd match in charge as caretaker boss – a Blues record.

It beats the previous longest reign set by Frank Burrows. He oversaw the final 22 matches of the 1989-90 campaign having replaced John Gregory on January 3, 1990.

After 10 wins and six defeats – including an unbeaten nine-match end to the season – Burrows was appointed on a permanent basis that summer, although was sacked in March 1991.

Whittingham was part of that side, along with goalkeeping coach Alan Knight and youth coach Mark Kelly.

Now the man in charge of Pompey since November 7 – following Michael Appleton’s departure – will surpass the tally set by his former boss.

‘I’m glad I’m breaking all sorts of records. Some are great, some are “hmm I’m not sure about that one”,’ said Whittingham.

‘I remember Frank, that’s for sure, one of those great characters you don’t forget in a hurry.

‘There is me thinking all this time he was manager and it turns out he was caretaker manager! I thought he had just become manager that January, this is the first time I’ve known about it.

‘Frank was feisty, a nice guy, though, very honest with you and could be quite damaging to you if you didn’t do something he wanted you to.

‘John Gregory was manager when I started the previous summer, so when he went Frank was my second boss.

‘Not that I think it matters being called a caretaker or full-time manager.

‘It matters in that you might park your car in a different place. I’m not sure whether you should be parking it there or not as you are only caretaker!

‘You have got to take the job on seriously enough to think that ultimately you are the one who makes the decision that counts. You are the decision-maker.

‘But the way I operate is getting all the thoughts of the people you think need to have their pennies worth.

‘I am not afraid to do that. I suppose from that point of view, if you are the one making the decisions you are looked upon as the manager.

‘To be totally fair to the players, they have tried to do as much as we have asked them to do and been sensible about it.

‘I’ve had no real rucks with anybody and a lot of it is just common sense trying to manage the situation we are in.

‘I don’t think it would be any different as a permanent manager.’

Pompey’s first-ever caretaker boss was Bill Thompson, who took over from Freddy Cox in February 1961.

He was in charge for 10 matches before being replaced by George Smith.

In September 1974, Ron Tindall had a 10-day and two-match spell in charge until Ian St John took over the reins.

Bobby Campbell (12 matches), Alan Ball (one), Tony Adams (one) and Paul Hart (14) began as acting Fratton Park bosses before getting the job full-time.

Tony Barton (12 games), Keith Waldon (three), Bob McNab (five), Velimir Zajec (six), Joe Jordan (two) and Whittingham with Stuart Gray (six) also had spells.