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Richie Barker and Steve Coppell are named as Portsmouth's new managerial team

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 09, 2013

Richie Barker is the new Portsmouth manager less than two weeks after being sacked by Crawley  John Walton/PA

Richie Barker is the new Portsmouth manager less than two weeks after being sacked by Crawley John Walton/PA

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Portsmouth have named Richie Barker as their new manager and Steve Coppell as director of football.

Barker, 38, has agreed a rolling contract to take over as boss at Fratton Park less than two weeks after he was sacked by League One outfit Crawley Town.

Barker replaces Guy Whittingham, who was axed by Pompey two days earlier, following a winless run of seven matches which left them 18th in League Two. The Hampshire club spoke to Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale about the vacancy last week, but have chosen the former Crawley pair.

Barker said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for me. I'm very excited to be at this club with its great history.

"Everyone knows how passionate the people of Portsmouth are about their football club."

Former Crystal Palace and Brighton boss Coppell, 58, worked in a similar role with Barker at Crawley.

He said: "It's a new challenge for me and I'm very excited. Richie asked if I'd like to be involved and I jumped at the opportunity."

These are difficult times for Portsmouth, who will hold a meeting with their players on Tuesday in the wake of the match-fixing allegations surrounding Sam Sodje.

Six people have been detained in an investigation by the National Crime Agency, after it acted on information passed to it by the Sun on Sunday newspaper.

According to the paper, an undercover investigator met Sodje, a former Portsmouth player, who allegedly said he could arrange for footballers in the Championship to get themselves a yellow card in return for tens of thousands of pounds.

The 34-year-old, who played for Portsmouth in League One last season, claimed he could rig Premier League games and even said he was preparing to fix matches at next year's World Cup in Brazil, the newspaper reported.

Fratton Park chiefs will speak to their current players about the claims and will warn them to be vigilant.

Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin said on Monday: "All you can do is check the people around you, notice anything suspicious and inform the players how serious an issue this is.

"We will be doing that tomorrow as a club, speaking to the players and saying we have to be self-policing.

"If anyone sees or hears anything suspicious, it's not a case of dropping a friend in it, it's about upholding the integrity of the sport. Things like this need to be dealt with internally.

"The people who will root this out are the players, the managers and the people within football."

The claims overshadowed Pompey's appointment of Barker and Coppell. They were naturally unwilling to discuss the allegations as Barker was presented to the media.

However, Pompey chairman Iain McIness did say: "I think the gaming industry should be held to account. Somebody can sit on their laptop and check out of a bet, you don't even have to win the bet now. There is just too much of it."

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