Cook in a Pompey hurry to succeed

Paul Cook walked into Fratton Park for the first time yesterday
Paul Cook walked into Fratton Park for the first time yesterday
Paul Cook celebrates winning the League Two title with Pompey. Picture: Joe Pepler

Emotions still raw as Pompey prepare for reunion

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The farewells with Chesterfield friends and colleagues were poignant and heartfelt, but time was marching on.

There was a new job to undertake and a three hour and 48 minute drive to negotiate for Pompey’s freshly-crowned manager.

The pursuit of Paul Cook may have ground down frustratingly to pedestrian pace in the face of play-off obstructions.

Nonetheless, since his arrival was sealed late morning on Monday, the 48-year-old has been travelling at breakneck speed.

Over the last 48 hours, Cook has thrown himself straight into his Pompey mission, displaying an encouraging desire to rebuild a club in desperate need of an injection of inspiration.

He started Monday at his footballing home of two years and seven months – and ended it in Portsmouth’s Holiday Inn.

The new boss is clearly in a hurry, wasting no time in setting about his task.

An initial indication of Cook’s approach, a mindset which will undoubtedly be applauded by a Fratton faithful themselves impatient with continuing to occupy their League Two surrounds.

It was with a certain inevitability then that he would arrive at Fratton Park yesterday morning, up early and ready for work.

Breezing through the offices of his new workplace, Cook’s enthusiasm caught the eye of those office staff presently not on their end-of-season holidays.

Club and Pompey Supporters’ Trust board member Ashley Brown was there to greet the new boy and point him around the ground where he once lined-up for Stockport County.

That fateful day in February 1998 is still talked about by Pompey fans, a Wall of Noise occasion when Steve Claridge’s goal presented the hosts with a 1-0 victory.

More recently, Cook oversaw Chesterfield’s 2-0 success at Fratton in August 2013 when Guy Whittingham was six games into his tenure as permanent Blues boss.

Still, yesterday he was a Pompey employee and duly carried out his duties with the club’s media channel, Pompey Player.

Quizzed by Johnny Moore on behalf of the paid-for broadcast, the manager even dared to utter the ‘promotion’ word during a moment of glorious ambition.

Cook will tomorrow hold his first press conference at 1pm in the Montgomery Lounge at Fratton Park.

Of course, yesterday’s commitments didn’t merely consist of exploring Fratton Park.

Cook also ventured to the club’s Copnor Road training ground for a first glimpse of effectively where he will be based during his managerial duration.

While at the Roko venue he encountered several injured Pompey players, for them a prized early introduction with the new man at the helm.

Then it was onto resolving playing issues, agonising over his out-of-contract players and chasing targets earmarked to strengthen his squad.

A whirlwind which has swept into Fratton Park – and fans will hope Cook will be just as swift in getting them out of the bottom division.