Guy Whittingham has revealed Pompey staff were never warned by Michael Appleton of his impending exit to Blackpool.
The former Blues manager’s move to Blackpool had been widely anticipated through the media.
Appleton himself spoke after the dismal defeat to Brentford on Tuesday night, playing down suggestions a deal was imminent.
Yet he left Fratton Park less than 24 hours later to join the Tangerines.
Whittingham was among the staff who were never told by Appleton of his intentions to quit the club.
The players were also kept in the dark and The News understands not even skipper Brian Howard was taken into his confidence.
Inevitably, first-team coach Ashley Westwood was aware, accompanying the 36-year-old Appleton to Bloomfield Road.
Now Whittingham is the one stepping into the breach to take charge.
He said: ‘Obviously you hear stories about what’s going on with Michael. The staff were all phoning each other asking if we knew anything.
‘The rumours had been going since the Burnley job became available. Then another manager leaves a club and they start again.
‘At 5.30pm (on the Wednesday night) I got the call from Trevor (Birch) to meet him at the training ground and that’s obviously when you think things have started to move.
‘It wasn’t certain then that Michael was leaving, but we had to get together and have a think about the way ahead.
‘I texted Michael that night and he texted me back.
‘I can respect why Michael didn’t tell us, I can understand why he didn’t do it.
‘I think as people you cannot say that you are leaving in case it then doesn’t happen. At the time he probably felt it wasn’t 100 per cent going to happen.
‘But I suppose we were half-expecting it.’
Meanwhile, Whittingham paid tribute to the manager he served under for the past year.
He added: ‘He has given his all as far as I can see.
‘He has done everything possible, more than everything possible if you think about what he’s had to deal with off the field.’