Whittingham accepts punishment – but not relegation

Guy Whittingham. Picture: Steve Reid (123663-0331)
Guy Whittingham. Picture: Steve Reid (123663-0331)

Avram Grant defiantly declared the authorities would not break Pompey’s spirit.

Steve Cotterill snapped and snarled at the Football League, while Michael Appleton vowed one day to deliver retribution to right their perceived wrongs.

For Guy Whittingham, though, there is no interest in becoming embroiled in battles he cannot win.

The Football League have reiterated the Blues will be deducted 10 points should they successfully come out of administration.

It effectively plunges the club into the very eye of a relegation fight to avoid League Two football next season.

Inevitably, the handling of the situation by the Football League has drawn criticism from some of the Fratton faithful.

Yet Pompey’s caretaker boss refuses to join in with such condemnation.

Whittingham said: ‘You are not going to change the rules – there is nothing anybody can do about it.

‘Instead you have to face the music and accept whatever punishment has been given out.

‘Staying up this season was going to be hard anyway.

‘Now it has got even harder but it is what it is.

‘The most import thing is this football club survives. For all of us that is the be all and end all of everything that is going on at present.

‘Of course I am disappointed by the points deduction but I do believe there is a spirit going here. We have shown that coming back against Coventry, then we came back twice at Tranmere – the signs are definitely there.

‘You can talk about these points coming off but it’s not a case of whether it is warranted, those are the rules. You face your punishment.

‘The players and the staff are not responsible for this points deduction, yet they suffer the consequences.

‘The fans are not responsible for this points deduction, yet they suffer the consequences.

‘We are those who must deal with what has happened and that is why we must stick together during these times.’

The points deduction will not be implemented until moves are made to take the club out of administration.

Before that can happen the Pompey Supporters’ Trust must remove Portpin’s charge over Fratton Park, with the case to be heard over two days at the High Court, starting tomorrow.

If the Trust receive a satisfactory outcome, they must then go to the Football League for membership. Conditions would include accepting a 10-point deduction over CVA issues.

Such punishment at this moment in time would put them second from bottom, nine points adrift from safety.

However, the likelihood remains it could be January before the points are removed – that is if the club gets that far.

Should it occur, Whittingham is not ready to accept a third relegation in four seasons is inevitable. He added: ‘It is going to be hard to stay up – it does not take a genius to work that out – but you never say never.

‘There are more than 25 games to go and you find there might be one or two other clubs in financial trouble.

‘Whispers are going about so there may be other clubs who have 10 points taken off. There is still every chance we can stay up.’