Comment: Cook should have kept Pompey bust-up quiet

Pompey boss Paul Cook   Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler

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The fines have been issued and the apologies written – now is the time to move on.

Quite why this bust-up was ever in the public domain, though, is something I am still struggling to understand.

Paul Cook should have dealt with it a lot better.

This should have been kept in-house – it should never have left the dressing room.

I have seen this happen before and was in the game for nearly 20 years.

At all the clubs I played at there were examples of players getting overheated with the emotion of the game – you are all het up and want to get a result.

Someone then says something to you that you don’t accept and it escalates, but I was okay – I used to just laugh it off.

One time we were 3-0 up at half-time and our big centre-half was having a go at me, saying: ‘I suppose you think you are having a good game’.

I remember thinking: ‘What are you on about?’

No punches flew that time.

But I’ve seen other players hit one another and it has always been dealt with.

In my day it would have been done and dusted.

In football, the result is more important than two players having a squabble and a punch at each other.

On Saturday, the manager could have dealt with it whichever way he wanted to.

It wouldn’t have come out like it has now if he had dealt with it better.

It was handled wrongly.

He should have kept it in-house and said to everybody who was in that room: ‘If this gets out I will know where it has come from.

‘It has come from you lot and you will all be fined – this is a personal matter for the club to sort out’.

Why should you take two of your best players off?

One is the captain and the other is possibly the best centre-half in the league.

You can’t say we are not going to play them for a couple of games – we need them.

And against Stevenage, we needed those players on the park – they are two of the best we have got.

Cook sacrificed three points for the sake of two lads who have shown some passion.

I just can’t understand why he has done that.

Were both of the players injured at half-time – why were they taken off?

Obviously, they are both upset and emotions are high – they probably thought they should have been winning at half-time.

I am not defending them here, they let themselves, their team-mates and fans down.

But what Cook should have done was say to them: ‘Monday morning, 10 o’clock – two pairs of boxing gloves – get in the ring and sort it out if you still want too’.

We need to see that aggression on the park.

But it’s now time to move on and focus on Grimsby.

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