Cook: We’d fallen 3-0 behind. It felt like I was a goner!

Paul Cook was all smiles at the final whistle against Morecambe in August 2015, after Pompey came back from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 Picture: Joe Pepler
Paul Cook was all smiles at the final whistle against Morecambe in August 2015, after Pompey came back from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 Picture: Joe Pepler
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Pompey boss: I thought I was a goner against Morecambe

‘We’ll be gone by Christmas,’ he joked.

I am genuinely happy to be here, I enjoy a massive percentage of it, the pain always drives you on

Paul Cook

With the 2015-16 season in its 11th day, the Blues had slipped 3-0 behind to Morecambe.

The clock read 42 minutes, while Aaron Wildig had also struck the crossbar for the rampant visitors.

Cook was facing a miserable Fratton Park defeat during a fledgling managerial career with the club he joined from Chesterfield in May 2015.

Tomorrow will be his 100th match as Blues boss, a landmark last reached by Harry Redknapp during his second spell.

Newport County are the opponents for what could potentially yield a 46th victory during a tenure which has seen play-off qualification and now an automatic promotion challenge.

And Cook smiles when he casts his mind back to that August 2015 visit of the Shrimps – which ended in a 3-3 draw.

He said: ‘They had just hit the bar after Wildig had broken clear – then we conceded a third.

‘There was this new manager stood on the touchline using this 4-2-3-1 system, trying to get his team to pass, and we were losing 3-0 at home. Get him gone!

‘I joked with Leam that we’d be sacked by Christmas.

‘When we arrived the club wasn’t in a good position. People can talk about this and that, but no-one is to blame here.

‘With all due respect to Guy Whittingham, he never had a chance at this club, absolutely none, none, no chance whatsoever.

‘Unfortunately, he got sacked and that’s sad. That is this club and where it’s at.

‘I took over with the club in a position where people knew it wasn’t a short-term fix any more, managers don’t go in and sprinkle magic dust.

‘A few seasons earlier we actually flirted with the Conference.

‘From our time here it has been the play-offs and now we are in the automatics, so I’d like to think the club’s going forwards.

‘Sometimes it is never quick enough, but I am genuinely happy to be here, I enjoy a massive percentage of it, the pain always drives you on.

‘Fingers crossed, we are now in a position where we could achieve something – so let’s try to do it.’

Cook currently boasts a 45.45 per cent win ratio during his Pompey reign.

His team have scored 156 goals, conceded 103 and lost on 28 occasions.

And, as at previous clubs, he is hoping for a period of success.

He added: ‘I was at Sligo for four-and-a-half years and the club was at a point where they wanted to go forward every year – which we did.

‘The disappointing thing for me at Chesterfield was it was quickly obvious the club had gone as far as it wanted to go as we had started selling all our best players.

‘There was no more journey to go on and, as manager, it’s sad when that day comes because you know you will go backwards. It will only lead to one thing – you will get sacked.

‘In this industry, the day you are not taking the club forwards you will get sacked.’