Ex-Sheffield United striker Danny Webber reveals heartache behind final Portsmouth appearance

An emotional Danny Webber made his final Pompey appearance nursing heartbreak – having being told hours earlier he had no future at the club.
Danny Webber says his Pompey farewell at Scunthorpe after hours earlier being told it would be his last game. Picture: Allan HutchingsDanny Webber says his Pompey farewell at Scunthorpe after hours earlier being told it would be his last game. Picture: Allan Hutchings
Danny Webber says his Pompey farewell at Scunthorpe after hours earlier being told it would be his last game. Picture: Allan Hutchings

The night before the Blues’ last fixture of the 2010-11 campaign at Scunthorpe, boss Steve Cotterill had visited the striker’s hotel room.

Webber was informed he was among 10 players being released at the end of their deals, including Richard Hughes, Michael Brown, Darryl Flahavan, Marlon Pack, Tom Kilbey and Peter Gregory.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

However, unlike all but Flahavan, the former Manchester United man was still required for playing duties the following day.

Webber subsequently featured for 11 minutes of the 1-1 draw after called upon from the bench in that May 2011 encounter.

And he afterwards remained on the pitch for a gut-wrenching farewell to the travelling Pompey faithful.

Webber, who made 32 appearances and scored three times in two injury-hit Fratton Park seasons, told The News: ‘Before the last day of the season, I’d already had a conversation with Steve Cotterill that he wasn’t going to offer me a contract.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

‘The lads were stunned, it was a case of “What’s that all about?”. But they weren’t the ones making the decision, it’s down to the manager and Steve Cotterill decided what was best.

‘He told me in my hotel room, the night before the match. I knew that I was going out to perform for the last time for Pompey. The lads were also aware, but the world didn’t realise.

‘I remember the travelling Pompey fans singing for me to come off the bench against Scunthorpe. In fact, I think it was their response which put him (Cotterill) in a position to introduce me for the last 11 minutes.

‘Then it was my disappearance from Pompey.

‘The previous night, Cotterill had told me: “We will have to offer you a lot less money and I wouldn’t want to insult you by giving you that. So It’s probably better not offering you a contract”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

‘Wait a minute, make the offer and see if I want to take it, first! However, the choice wasn’t there – so I had to ply my trade elsewhere.

‘If I had the option of an offer, I may well have taken it and got myself in a positive frame for Pompey.

‘Instead it was we will give you a pay drop, but you won’t be happy with it, so we’re better parting ways. It wasn’t the way I would have worded it to a player.

‘The other thing was telling me the evening before the game.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

‘If we were in the middle of a season, would you deliver that information the night before the game? You wouldn’t. So because we had nothing to play for, he did. That says it all.

Read More
For the latest Pompey news direct to your inbox sign up for our free newsletter

‘I would rather you play fully committed in that last match knowing you’re trying to win a contract. Then, at the end of your contract, the manager says “Right, we’re going to part company”. I’d understand that.

‘Still, I do respect Steve Cotterill for delivering the message man-to-man, face-to-face. That was a positive.

‘I didn’t have the same courtesy from Kevin Blackwell when I left Sheffield United.’

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Webber was shown the door by the Blades boss along with Ugo Ehiogu in May 2009, following a Championship play-off final defeat to Burnley.

The striker hadn’t even made the bench for the Wembley occasion, depriving him of adding to his 26 goals and 125 outings for the club.

What’s more, he learnt of his release through Sky while holidaying in America.

He added: ‘A few days after the Blades’ play-off final, I flew to Las Vegas with friends and a few other players.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

‘When I landed, my phone was blowing up. I had people saying “Cheers Webbs, all the best, sorry to see you go”. I thought “I’m going, am I?”.

‘So I went on Sky’s website – and found out I had been released.

‘And that was after the promise of “Yes, we are going to give you a new contract, we want to give you a new deal”.

‘It never materialised - and then you find out on Sky.

‘That’s football. There is no other industry where you find out off television that you are no longer working for somebody.’

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

The News has launched a subscription offer which gives you unlimited access to all of our Pompey coverage, starting at less than 14p a day.

You can subscribe here to get the latest news from Fratton Park - and to support our local team of expert Pompey writers.