David Lampitt has denied that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rejected the chance to become Pompey manager.
The former Manchester United striker was heavily linked with the job after guiding Molde to the Norwegian title and is believed to have been interviewed for the post.
Solskjaer was a popular choice among fans once his name surfaced as a potential new boss and he seemed set to be appointed at one stage.
But Sean O’Driscoll, Eddie Howe and Steve Coppell also seemed in pole position at various times during the past few weeks.
Of course, candidates could have ruled themselves out of consideration at various stages throughout the process, without actually being offered the job.
But while the Pompey chief executive was not prepared to discuss the finer points of the decision-making process, he maintains that the job was only officially offered to one successful candidate – Michael Appleton.
Lampitt said: ‘He (Appleton) was definitely the only man we offered the job to. There were an awful lot of reports about an awful lot of names.
‘We appreciate that there was a lot of speculation.
‘Some names were right and some names were wrong but I don’t think it’s the right thing to talk about who was involved.’
Lampitt explained that there were a select number of names on the club’s short-list, even though they were inundated with more than 50 applications.
And while Lampitt refused to reveal whether Appleton had applied or had been specifically targeted, the chief executive was pleased with the abundance of quality applicants.
He said: ‘We’ve gone about it in a very deliberate fashion. Michael was on our short-list from the start and was on it at the end and I’m delighted he’s here.
‘I won’t give you the exact number but it was less than 10 that we put on our initial short-list.
‘We saw a good number and we saw a wider field for the people who expressed an interest.
‘We felt we had an extremely strong field of candidates to choose from – we were lucky in that respect.
‘Perhaps 18 months ago when I was in this position, we didn’t have quite those choices because of the position the club was in.
‘So we’re very pleased to have attracted so much interest for the job and very pleased to have got our man.’
It’s been almost a month since Steve Cotterill departed, but Lampitt shrugged off suggestions that he should now be relieved at the end of a long search for his successor.
He said: ‘I’m not sure it is a relief. I’m very pleased for the club and delighted for Michael for the opportunity that he’s earnt – and he absolutely has earnt it through the selection process.
‘It’s taken us a few weeks to get this point so thanks must go to our supporters for their patience in this whole process.’