Ex-Portsmouth and Wigan Athletic boss makes forceful claim as he ends silence over controversial Ipswich Town sacking

Former Pompey boss Paul Cook admitted he should have walked out of Ipswich in the summer after having staff forced upon him.

By Jordan Cross
Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 11:38 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th January 2022, 12:34 pm
Paul Cook
Paul Cook

And the former Pompey boss is adamant he should have been given longer at Portman Road after being sacked after just 20 league games.

Cook has told of his disappointment and frustration at his staff - including former Blues midfielder Gary Roberts and goalkeeping coach John Keeley - being sacked as part his exit.

The Scouser, who was in charge at Fratton Park for two years delivering League Two title success in 2017, hinted at friction at performance staff being appointed by chief executive Mark Ashdown without his influence.

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And he stated he would never have taken the Ipswich job if he’d known the pressure was on for results at such an early stage.

Cook told Sky Sports: ‘If the new ownership had told me if it’s not instant success you’d be gone, I wouldn’t have stayed.

‘That’s my only regret, I brought new staff in - Franny Jeffers, Gary Roberts, Ian Craney and John Keeley - who were very committed to a project.

‘I managed Portsmouth for two years and it wasn’t all swimming and sailing.

‘The first year we just managed to get to the play-offs, the second year we won the league. I thought that was good progress.

‘Certainly for myself and the lads who went in, working with a new performance department brought in by Mark Ashton and not by me, the challenges we had within that daily over training and fitness etc.

‘My only regret as a senior manager I stayed after the summer. I should’ve been stronger and forceful with my decisions around it.’

Cook was clear he should have been given longer after the axe fell on him at a league club for the first time in his managerial career last month

The 54-year-old felt the signs of progress where there after a massive summer overhaul.

He added: ‘100 per cent we should have been given longer time - 100 per cent.

‘I get stats, I get all the stats in the modern-day game.

‘But I think it’s grossly unfair that you can put a manager’s stats on the table when in the summer we released 27 to 30 players and brought in 19 new ones.

‘So we’re actually talking about two teams there.

‘The stats can stand up. We initially went six games without winning, that would’ve brought a pressure.

‘We brought in a lot of new lads and a lot of good players, some really, really good player and strong squad.

‘There was no pre-season into them and we were signing players very late.

‘Then more importantly taking time to integrate them into a system and shape.

‘We were sacked after 20 league games.

‘For anyone to tell a manager 20 league games is enough, in my world you’re wrong.

‘The next 14 league games yielded seven wins, three draws and four defeats.

‘The last six home league games with me and my staff was won four, drew one and lost to Rotherham.

‘Were me and my staff given enough time? No, not in my opinion.

‘But that is Mark Ashton and the owner’s decision - and you have to respect that.

‘The disappointment for me and the staff who left with me is strong.’

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