Wilson’s Wisdom: Paul Cook’s Pompey philsophy won’t rely on route one

Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler
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What is more important? Substance or style?

Would you rather watch your team grind out wins playing a basic brand of route-one football?

Could you still get excited at another long diagonal aimed at the big striker in the hope it might lead to a knock-down and a goalscoring opportunity?

If so, would seeing the team win more often make up for the lack of pretty football?

Perhaps so-called pretty football – that patient passing and possession in trying to carve out an opening – just isn’t your thing.

It’s been called football snobbery in the past.

And if there were two managers to epitomise it in a fight, Sam Allardyce would be in one corner and Arsene Wenger would be in the other.

Allardyce has had his fair share of success in stopping the team most believe are the most attractive to watch when they are in full flow.

And Allardyce prides himself on the fact he’s never been relegated.

Wenger gets stick for being unable to get his team to win trophies consistently and apparently is perfectly happy with fourth place in the Premier League every season.

There’s nothing wrong with the way Allardyce – or any other manager for that matter – plays the game.

But there are shades of this debate creeping in at Fratton Park.

Some will argue style and technique should not come into the equation if the sole objective of promotion from League Two is achieved at the end of the season.

But for anyone out there willing Pompey boss Paul Cook to abandon his philosophy in the search for immediate results, I’ve got bad news.

It won’t happen.

During his time as a player at Wolves, Cook played under Graham Taylor – a manager renowned for a direct style of football.

It’s fair to say that the two didn’t see eye-to-eye and Cook was soon on his way to Coventry.

So in a footballing sense, I’m pretty sure Cook would be in Wenger’s corner rather than Allardyce’s.

Critics will suggest there is not enough end product and the aim of the game is to win by scoring goals, no matter how they come about.

Personally, I would rather accept that a passing, patient style will occasionally hit a brick wall.

In an ideal world, Pompey would have both traits in abundance.

In reality, they are playing in League Two.

And players who can do the power side of the game just as well as they play the footballing side aren’t in the bottom division for very long.

Usually, it’s one or the other and managers have to make their choice.

Pompey fans have had their issues with style in the past as well.

Tony Pulis – a man who has since proved himself to be a successful manager – was effectively chased out of the city when supporters and players got fed up with his approach.

So if Cook needs a bit of advice, it’s this: Make sure Pompey win every game they play – oh, and by the way, do it with a bit of style at the same time.

That’s not too much to ask, is it?

Hard to believe, I know, but there are people who think some Pompey fans are too demanding.