Comment: Cook’s job to pick Pompey team – not fans

Pompey boss Paul Cook   Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler
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In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death, taxes and Paul Cook’s preferred formation.

But his decision to ditch his best-loved 4-2-3-1 system in a bid to appease a baying Fratton faithful is concerning.

Although well meaning, the idea that fan pressure prompted Cook’s switch to 4-4-2 goes against the very essence of what it is to be a football manager.

Unless I’m missing something here, the prime job of a boss is to pick the team – your team, and live and die by it.

And to hear the manager insinuating – in his post-match interview on Pompey’s Youtube channel – that the supporters played a part in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Exeter was frankly baffling.

‘I’m not going to debate formations and tactics because fans at Portsmouth have a way of dictating what goes on,’ he said.

‘And when you have a fanbase like ours, you will dictate what goes on.

‘No manager, not me Paul Cook, will dictate the opposite.

‘I keep saying to people about this change in formation - just be careful what you wish for.

‘When you keep changing, it will lead to your downfall.

‘We are always trying to force issues at Fratton Park because we want to keep fans happy.

‘I’m not a stupid person, when fans aren’t happy I know what will happen.’

If Cook has abandoned his own footballing principles for an ulterior motive, albeit well placed, then that call is on him.

He picks the team, he chooses the formation and ultimately he will be responsible for Pompey’s success or failure this season – not the fans.

But he’s not a stupid person, he already knows that.