Legend adamant Blues role doesn’t interest him

Guy Whittingham and Stuart Gray on the touchline at Fratton Park against Barnsley
Guy Whittingham and Stuart Gray on the touchline at Fratton Park against Barnsley

Guy Whittingham has already made up his mind, his resolve unmoved by a glorious beginning.

Pompey chief executive David Lampitt has claimed he’s already received 40 applications for the vacant manager’s job following Steve Cotterill’s switch to Nottingham Forest last week.

Whittingham is definitely not among them, though.

The first-team coach has absolutely no intention of throwing his hat into the ring for the Fratton Park hot seat.

He and joint-caretaker manager Stuart Gray may have overseen a 2-0 triumph over Barnsley after barely 24 hours in office.

But both are adamant they don’t want the responsibility on a permanent basis.

The duo will once again take charge for tonight’s trip to Ipswich.

And the likelihood is they will continue beyond Saturday’s visit of Doncaster during a busy week – after which time Whittingham would return to his day job of coaching the first team and kids alike.

Well, it’s what he yearns for, anyway.

Of course, the Blues legend has no qualms about stepping in during the club’s time of need.

Yet he sees his long-term impact coming from the training pitch rather than the manager’s office.

He said: ‘I’ve got a nice family life and would quite like to keep it that way, thank you very much.

‘I am grey enough.

‘I don’t think I can go any more grey but I am quite happy just to coach players, work with players and let somebody else make all the decisions.

‘My passion is coaching. I’ve got the freedom to go and work with Andy Awford and the kids and go and watch the Academy. All that sort of stuff.

‘Watching Steve Cotterill work, I never realised how tough it is, simply because you don’t experience it yourself.

‘The work he did through the summer was incredible, absolutely incredible.

‘I think you have to have the mindset to do that – and I haven’t got that.

‘I don’t think it is a lack of ambition. Throughout my career I have always been ambitious.

‘I was in the army, I came out of the army and played for Portsmouth.

‘I had the chance to go to the Premier League and was ambitious enough to go into the Premier League.

‘I’m learning my trade. I have been development coach here for just over 12 months and then first-team coach for just over 12 months.

‘You need experience at this, especially if you are going to go for a club like this.

‘I know this club and I like this club, and I think you have got to be somebody who is prepared, mentally as well as physically, who knows the rigours and what this club really needs.

‘Steve Cotterill started all that and everything in the background is really good.

‘The training ground is fantastic, the office stuff is all coming together.

‘You need somebody who has the experience to take that on even further at this moment in time.

‘I’m afraid that is not me.’

Of course, any prospective managerial arrival is likely to cast doubt over the positions of both Whittingham and Gray.

Often, a new manager brings with him a fresh crop of backroom staff.

That’s football and a fact Whittingham is only too aware of.

Corporal Punishment returned to Fratton Park in January 2009 as development coach, having worked for the PFA and Radio Solent.

And he concedes he doesn’t know what the future holds overs his Blues role.

He added: ‘The new guy might bring his own staff.

‘We all know football, we all know that is going to happen – but I’m still not interested in becoming manager.

‘Hopefully, we are doing a good enough job and the new manager comes in and will work with us.

‘The backroom staff are fantastic. I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to go into work every day.’