Wilson’s Wisdom: Time is of the essence for managers

Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler
Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Paul Cook has already shown he is a passionate character on the touchline when he is cajoling his Pompey side.

In the closing stages of the recent win at Bristol Rovers, he darted along the sideline to get a message across to Kal Naismith as he went down after a heavy tackle.

At the time, it looked like concern for his player after what appeared to be a painful whack to the inside of the knee.

But the Blues boss admitted a few days later: ‘I was telling him to get up and get on with the game.

‘I didn’t want a load of injury-time being added on. It was only a whack.’

He’s not one to mince his words when the time is right to do so.

And there are definitely some old-school tendencies in his management style.

Cook is not scared to offer his opinion on football matters and he made himself perfectly clear recently when discussing the way managers are no longer afforded time to succeed.

‘The game has reached a ludicrous level in terms of sacking managers,’ he said.

It was a heartfelt opinion but it wasn’t a thinly-veiled message to the Pompey board, who – let’s face it – have not been slow in wielding the axe during their tenure.

Guy Whittingham, Richie Barker and Andy Awford will probably all believe they should have been given more time at the helm than they were afforded.

But I also accept that all of those decisions were also made in the best interests of the club, even if I questioned some of them at the time.

Time is a commodity a football manager is rarely afforded these days and Cook believes the week-to-week mentality of the game is in danger of destroying the attempts to lay foundations for clubs to progress and grow.

Cook has been in charge at Fratton Park for 152 days but is now the 69th longest-serving manager in the country.

That means 23 clubs have changed their manager since Cook’s appointment in May – a quarter of the teams in the top four divisions.

Terry Butcher, at Newport County, lasted just 10 games this season.

To me, it seems impossible that a manager’s ability can be judged over such a short period of time.

But wait a minute.

Here comes the glaring contradiction because I’d made my mind up that Barker was out of his depth long before he got to the 20-game mark of his disastrous reign.

So just how long is a fair period of time to make a judgement?

Is even one season enough?

I’m in agreement with the vast majority of supporters who believe Cook is the right man.

But just suppose fate conspires against the club and Pompey end up missing out on promotion this season.

Would those opinions change? Would he get a second season?

I’d like to think he would.

But I certainly wouldn’t be confident about it.

Is it just modern football and something we all have to accept?

Or do we all continue to change our views on a weekly basis, depending on one result on a Saturday afternoon?

That doesn’t seem logical to me.