The last man standing has left the building - farewell to Portsmouth's final link with those special League Two title winners

The memories remain, yet the last link with the League Two title winners has now been severed.

Saturday, 5th June 2021, 5:30 pm
Jack Whatmough displays his League Two title-winning medal at the Southsea Common celebrations in May 2017. Now all that squad have left Pompey. Picture: Joe Pepler

In 2016-17, Paul Cook’s troops embarked on a phenomenal run of 10 wins from 12 matches to claim the crown on an emotional final day.

Ben Close, who is set to sign for Doncaster, didn’t make a league appearance that season, while Alex Bass wasn’t included in a single squad.

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Indeed, Whatmough was the final reminder – both player and staff – of that remarkable achievement achieved by a special group.

The home-grown talent had to play second fiddle to Cook’s preferred centre-half pairing of Matt Clarke and Christian Burgess that term.

Nonetheless, he started for the Blues in their promotion-clinch win at Notts County, while totalled 12 appearances and one goal.

That goal, if anyone needs reminding, arrived at Carlisle in a 3-0 success in February 2017 which lifted Pompey into fourth.

League Two title-winners Kyle Bennett, Carl Baker, Noel Hunt, Jack Whatmough and Danny Rose celebrate on Southsea Common in May 2017. Picture: Joe Pepler

Appearing as a substitute, his maiden strike for the club was accompanied by a botched slide celebration long mocked by those present.

Whatmough actually started the opening two league matches of that campaign, with Clarke still on his way back following injury.

The Gosport lad was then himself laid low by injury issues, yet was still named in 26 first-team squads across the season.

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For the April 2017 trip to Notts County, with Clarke struggling with a knock, Whatmough was handed his first League Two start in eight months.

Pompey won 3-1 that day – clinching promotion to League One.

Whatmough would actually retain his place the following match against Cambridge United, partnering Clarke, while appeared as a substitute at Mansfield.

He was unused off the bench for the final game as a 6-1 triumph over Cheltenham sealed the title to accompany promotion.

One of Cook’s last acts as Pompey boss was to drive a new two-year deal for Whatmough later that month.

Fast forward to 2021 and last month we bid farewell to goalkeeping coach John Keeley, the last member of staff from that season.

Barry Harris and Kev McCormack are part of the Fratton Park furniture, of course, and their ongoing presence is taken for granted.

That left Whatmough as the last-man standing. But no more, Wigan offers new challenges and a fresh start.

That Pompey group were crowned League Two champions little over four years ago. Now only memories remain at Fratton Park.

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