Cook stands strong among Pompey's finest bosses

Paul Cook's Pompey tenure will solely be judged on winning promotion from League Two.

Tuesday, 13th December 2016, 4:09 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 2:29 pm
Pompey boss Paul Cook enjoyed the Blues 1-0 victory against Grimsby on Saturday

Yet the push to escape the Football League’s bottom division is being driven by a manager possessing the second-best win return of the Blues’ past 25 bosses.

Since Frank Burrows took over in March 1979, only Harry Redknapp can beat Cook’s victory statistics.

During his first Fratton Park spell, Redknapp claimed the Division One title before keeping his team in the Premier League.

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Harry Redknapp, left, with Milan Mandaric after Pompey won the 2002-03 Division One title

It was a memorable period which yielded 54 wins from 116 matches in all competitions.

Effectively, Redknapp won 46.55 per cent of his fixtures during a tenure which lasted two years, seven months and 26 days.

No Pompey manager of the past 38 years can beat those impressive figures, putting him comfortably ahead of Bobby Campbell, the first stints of Burrows and Alan Ball, and Jim Smith.

However, the man charged with obtaining the Blues’ first promotion since 2002-03 is not far behind.

Harry Redknapp, left, with Milan Mandaric after Pompey won the 2002-03 Division One title

Cook took Pompey to the League Two play-offs last term and presently they reside in fourth spot – five points outside the top three.

That progress has been built on foundations provided by winning 44.44 per cent of his matches in all competitions.

Under the former Chesterfield boss, there have so far been 36 wins in 81 fixtures.

That includes five successes in 13 cup matches, with notable wins over Derby and Ipswich last term in the Capital One Cup and FA Cup respectively.

What’s more, 130 goals have arrived in those 81 games in charge, to reflect a desire to attack the opposition.

Promotion, unquestionably remains Pompey’s priority. Regardless, Cook’s win record still stands up impressively against the vast majority of his predecessors.

Bobby Campbell led the Blues to the Division Three title in 1982-83, with the Alan Biley/Billy Rafferty strike partnership amassing 45 goals.

Along the way to a then-record division points tally was a run of seven consecutive league victories and nine successive Fratton Park wins.

He was dismissed in May 1984 following 47 triumphs in 109 matches – a win return of 43.11 per cent to put him third on the list.

Redknapp then next appears following a second spell which yielded the Great Escape, the FA Cup and the club’s first foray into Europe.

However, with 54 wins in 127 matches at a return of 42.51 per cent, not even that could surpass his first period in charge.

Another promotion-winning boss, Burrows, comes in at five, having won 42.40 per cent of fixtures in charge during his first spell.

He was also the last man to drag Pompey out of the bottom division – in 1979-80.

Ball, the architect of steering the Blues into the top flight in 1986-87, completes the top-six with a win return of 42.34 per cent.

Cook possesses the figures – but the crucial statistic has to be promotion.