Barnsley's Conor Chaplin: I'm still petrified of Paul Cook - most scared I've ever been was after that Portsmouth Tweet at Morecambe

Conor Chaplin has revealed he is still scared of Paul Cook – after being handed the biggest dressing down of his career while at Pompey.

Thursday, 17th December 2020, 12:24 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th December 2020, 12:26 pm
Conor Chaplin admits he is still scared of Paul Cook following their Pompey days together. Picture: Joe Pepler.

Back in August 2016, Chaplin and Kal Naismith had been left out of the Blues’ squad for a trip to Morecambe, yet travelled.

During the match, a supporter Tweeted Chaplin to ask whether he was fit to be selected, which prompted a response.

Cook was furious at Chaplin’s actions, taking the young striker to task at the training ground days later.

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It was a dressing down Chaplin has never forgotten.

The 23-year-old is full of admiration for his former League Two title-winning boss, maintaining a warm relationship whenever their paths cross.

Speaking in the latest edition of Pompey Talk: The Podcast, he said: ‘I’m still scared of Paul Cook!

‘I absolutely love him, I think he is unbelievable. When we played at Wigan last season it finished goalless and he invited me into his room afterwards. I was in there for 15-20 minutes and he was just talking football, asking how my family was.

‘I don't text him or talk on the phone, but whenever we see each other I do really enjoy talking to him. When I see him it feels a bit like I’m a kid still, it takes me back to being 18-19.

‘There was the incident at Morecambe when I replied to a fan’s Tweet during the game, making known that I wasn’t sitting out through injury.

‘When Cook found out, that’s the most scared I have ever been. That was the full wrath of Paul Cook!

‘A 20-man squad had travelled to that match and all 20 of us were out on the pitch warming up, which isn’t really normal.

‘Those not in the squad wouldn't necessarily warm up. They’d instead do some running before the game, get showered and watch the match.

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‘We didn’t even know the bench. Me and Kal Naismith found out we weren’t in the squad when the Tannoy announced the team, which made it a lot worse.

‘We obviously weren't happy that it happened like that – and I responded to that Tweet.

‘I went into the office the next time we were training at Roko and Cook was screaming at me. It was probably only 40 seconds, but felt like seven minutes straight.

‘The club’s media manager, Neil Weld, came up to me later and said: “You ought to have seen what he did when you left”.

‘Apparently, after he had screamed at me, he turned to Neil and winked saying “That will scare him” and started laughing!”

Chaplin scored eight goals in 42 appearances during the successful 2016-17 season.

That included starting the final-day 6-1 triumph over Cheltenham to take the League One title.

Now with Barnsley, Chaplin believes that August 2016 moment with Cook was an important life lesson.

He added: ‘Cook did it on purpose to make sure I never did anything like that again.

‘I learnt from that lesson, 100 per cent. After that day, never would I have gone on social media during a game. No way.

‘I see some of the things that the younger lads do in dressing rooms. It’s so stupid.

‘You need that one time to do something – and then the realisation that you can’t do those things, it’s not how it works.

‘Then never do it again!’

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