Hurting Cook invites Pompey fans to training ground

Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler
Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler
Guy Whittingham celebrates his goal against Bristol Rovers during the 1992-93 season

Quarter of century on from one of the great Pompey sides

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Hurting Pompey boss Paul Cook has invited the Blues boo-boys calling for his head to meet with him at the club’s training ground.

Sections of the Fratton faithful chanted ‘time to go’ at Cook following Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat to Exeter City.

David Wheeler’s fortuitous second-half strike settled matters on the south coast as lacklustre Pompey missed the chance to put pressure on the top three – falling to fifth in the League Two table.

It was a disappointing display from the home side, who had won their previous two Fratton Park outings.

And the flack headed Cook’s way only added to the pain felt by the 49-year-old, who has issued an open invitation for supporters to meet him at the Blues’ training base on Copnor Road.

He said: ‘The fans were singing it is time to go.

‘I don’t think they were singing it to Paul Tisdale – I might be wrong.

‘But that’s football today.

‘People pay a lot of money nowadays and if you’re working all week and coming here and want to vent frustration towards me, that’s fine.

‘I wouldn’t agree with it.

‘But like I say to every Pompey fan – you know where the training ground is.

‘You don’t have to scream and shout at me at the end of 90 minutes when we have just lost a game and I am hurting as much as you.

‘But if people want to do that, then that’s their call.’

Cook admitted he was at a loss as to how the same team, playing in the same 4-4-2 formation as the 2-1 win over Leyton Orient could put in such a below-par performance

The Blues boss, though, accepted full responsibility for the result and insisted he could live with the sometimes ‘unforgiving’ nature of the Fratton faithful.

Cook said: ‘We have such a big fanbase.

‘They can be absolute quality at times but they can also be very unforgiving.

‘And certainly towards myself on Saturday they were very unforgiving.

‘As a manager you have to live with that – I will live and die by this group of players.

‘I will always take the blame for my team, my players and our performances.

‘The first half an hour against Leyton Orient I thought we were excellent, playing the same formation with the same players.

‘So somewhere along the line the message is obviously getting mixed up.

‘But come the end of the season we won’t look back on games lost or points dropped – we will look only at the league table and the position we have finished.’

Cook is now keen to draw a line under a ‘really bad day’ for his side, with Pompey’s attention turning to next weekend’s trip to fellow promotion-chasers Wycombe.

He added: ‘Saturday was a really bad day – you could write a book on what we didn’t do well.

‘But we have to put it away as quickly as we can and get ready to go to Wycombe.’