Barker: We’ll be entertainers

New Pompey boss Richie Barker
New Pompey boss Richie Barker

Richie Barker touched down at Pompey and told the Fratton faithful: Let me entertain you.

Barker was yesterday officially unveiled as the new Blues manager on a one-year rolling contract.

And the 38-year-old has laid down his footballing vision, telling fans he plans to serve up a exciting brand of football at Fratton Park, after arriving as Guy Whittingham’s successor.

Barker will link up with Steve Coppell, who joins as director of football, after the pair worked together at Crawley.

And the Sheffield-born former striker has made it clear he intends to deliver a manner of playing the game Pompey fans will appreciate.

Barker said: ‘I want the game to be entertaining. I want it to be entertaining for the fans.

‘I want people to turn up and watch us win football matches.

‘But I also want people to entertain people.

‘I want the players to work hard and play their football with a smile on their faces.

‘When people go home from a game, I want them to say “that was worth my money today”, no matter what the result is.

‘Styles and philosophies can be over-exaggerated at times.

‘I want the game to be played similarly to a lot of what I’ve seen, to be fair.

‘Portsmouth have passed the ball quite well, from what I’ve seen.

‘Perhaps the two 18-yard boxes have been two issues recently, so we’ll start with them and work our way forward.

‘But there are some good technical players here to achieve that.’

Barker has had Pompey’s recent games closely watched, after he was sacked as Crawley boss at the end of last month.

He explained he is planning to tinker with rather than rip up the work already done at the club.

‘I’m flexible. You to have to play with what you have available to you,’ said Barker.

‘And you have to play in a way which is going to win you the game, without shifting it about too much and confusing people.

‘At times, people go through different stages.

‘Sometimes everything you hit goes in, and others you don’t look like keeping a clean sheet.

‘You have to adapt, but if there’s an element of consistency and players know their roles, it’s only a case of varying a little depending on what will win that particular game. But there will be a few different things.’

Barker’s first day at Pompey clearly has whetted his appetite for the job ahead.

He added: ‘The history and the recent history of the club are attractions. But so is the potential.

‘There are promotions in this club, so it’s looking back and looking forward. There are some passionate people here who want to move the club forward.’