Monday December 9, 2013 2:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Fratton Park, Portsmouth, England
New Pompey boss Richie Barker targeted an immediate improvement in Pompey’s League Two standing after he was unveiled as manager today.
The former Crawley manager was formally introduced as Guy Whittingham’s successor at Fratton Park this afternoon, with Steve Coppell becoming director of football.
And topping their list of priorities is to see the Blues climb up the league table, with them currently sitting 17th.
‘This is a fantastic football club and I am very grateful for the opportunity,’ said Barker.
‘We do have a short-term goal which is to, as quickly as possible, go up the league.
‘In the long-term, who knows?
‘If this play can get rolling it can keep on going. There is no end goal.
‘I have been in this division as both a manager and player and hope I can use my experience.’
Club chairman Iain McInnes had mixed emotions as he introduced Barker as the latest incumbent of the Fratton Park hot seat.
‘It’s sad in some ways but very exciting in others,’ said McInnes.
‘The last time I sat here we were talking about Guy Whittingham, who did a remarkable job here in a short period of time.
‘But after an exhaustive interview process and really strong candidates we have found the right two men.’
Richie Barker has praised Steve Coppell’s Pompey presence but insisted: The buck stops with me.
The duo have resumed their Crawley double act at Fratton Park, following Barker’s dismissal by the Reds two weeks ago.
While the 38-year-old is the Blues manager, Coppell has been recruited as director of football – a role which comes with no contract or pay for the ex-Reading boss.
Barker clearly enjoyed working with Coppell during their Crawley time together.
They led the club to the highest-ever position in its history.
Yet there can be no questioning who is in charge.
Barker said: ‘If Steve was sat here now he would say “He’s the manager”.
‘I think his quote was he has about two per cent effect – the other 98 per cent is down to me.
‘They are his words, not mine, so I think he will be well aware the buck stops with me – either positive or negative.
‘I will be on the training ground every day.
‘Steve will come to the training ground but he doesn’t play any part in any of the training sessions.
‘He likes being about footballers. He likes being around football, so he will be there. He enjoys observing and giving feedback.
‘On match days he sits in the stand, and if he sees something for me at half-time, he will tell me what it is. If he doesn’t, he leaves me to it.
‘Steve likes sitting in the stand. He always used to do it in the first half as a manager. He thinks he gets a better view, and quite rightly so, but my job is the touchline.
‘I have my routine that Steve has fitted into pretty well, to be fair to him.
‘I have certain things I do at half-time and he comes down with any advice he has got.
‘He’s there to help me or be an assistant to me, but he is here to help everybody and the one thing Steve will talk about – with anybody – is football.
‘Anybody who needs to ask him the question, he will give them the answer.’
Coppell’s last job as manager was at Bristol City, where he left in August 2010.
At the time he cited he had lost his passion for management – then 18 months later was employed as a director of football at Crawley.
There he helped recruit Barker from Bury, striking up an instantly successful partnership.
Barker added: ‘Initially, his job was to find the next manager – that’s what they (Crawley) asked him to do.
‘After a while he was going to move on but enjoyed his time so much and the relationship we had that he decided he wanted to stay for longer.
‘Thankfully, he has taken this offer after I asked him to come here and decided he wants to give it a go as well.
‘He did say to me a while ago that he felt, as a pair, we maybe had a journey we could go on and he wouldn’t mind seeing where that journey took us.’
Friday December 6, 2013 All Day
Fratton Park, Portsmouth, England (map)
by Neil Allen December 6, 2013
December 7, 2013
by Jordan Cross
Chief executive Mark Catlin believes the Blues have found the right man to take the club forward.
Barker is set to be named as Guy Whittingham’s successor on Monday on a 12-month rolling contract.
That’s after he emerged as the outstanding candidate following three frenetic days of interviews.
The 38-year-old got the vote of the board of directors from the seven candidates they spoke to over the position.
Barker, with Steve Coppell to be handed an advisory role, is set to arrive and work with the existing coaching set-up, with caretaker boss Andy Awford returning to the Academy.
Catlin was remaining tight-lipped over the manager’s identity, but The News understands it is Barker who will get the position. And Catlin believes Pompey have the person to overhaul their on-pitch affairs.
He said: ‘We feel we’ve got the right man from the process, without a shadow of a doubt.
‘It’s been a really intense period of interviewing and talks. There’s still bits and pieces to do because contracts have to be right for both parties, but we’re pleased.
‘We got a good mix across the three days of interviewing.
‘The board had in mind the candidate they wanted. It had to be someone who was prepared to restructure the football side of the business from top to bottom.
‘You can either have a football manager who manages the football side of the business from top to bottom, or you can employ a coach.
‘What was high in the board’s mind was they wanted someone who could completely restructure the football side of things.
‘It’s been four years of a slide here. We’ve made great strides off the field but the core product is the football.
‘There is a board who haven’t evolved here.
‘Normally there is a mix of experience, but you haven’t got that with our board.
‘You have people who are successful in their own right, but have no real football experience. So the board made that clear that’s what they wanted.
‘It’s a massive rebuilding job and it’s not for the faint hearted, but we’re happy.’
Barker beats the likes of Paul Tisdale, Chris Wilder and Steve Claridge to the manager’s job, after they were all interviewed.
They have all now been told they will not get the position.
Catlin added: ‘We’ve had to tell people they’ve not got it, and that’s not easy.
‘The common thread, especially at the interview stage, was how desperately people wanted this job. You’d expect that for such a great club.
‘There were really good candidates who, almost to a man, gave really good interviews. There wasn’t a lot between them.
‘So, when you have that, it makes you more comfortable and enthused as a board because of their calibre.’