Full transcript as former Portsmouth, Ipswich and Wigan manager Paul Cook angrily pulls plug on BBC interview he deems too 'negative' ahead of important Chesterfield game

It’s fair to say former Pompey boss Paul Cook has had his fair share of scrapes with reporters down through the years.

By Mark McMahon
Friday, 13th May 2022, 2:39 pm

Indeed, on his last trip back to Fratton Park in October, as Ipswich boss, he had a quick set-to with our very own Neil Allen as he made his way to the changing room, accusing our chief reporter of ‘stoking the fire’ ahead of the game.

It was an exchange that was picked up on camera, with the subsequent video shared to the Twittersphere.

The now Chesterfield boss, nevertheless, remains a popular figure among the Blues press corps, following his time spent on the south coast.

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But, never one to shy away from speaking his mind or confronting a situation, the 55-year-old has once again clashed heads with a member of the media – and again it’s been caught on camera!

On this occasion, it’s BBC Sheffield’s Rob Staton who is in the firing line, as he attempts to quiz Cook on the Spireites’ recent run of form going into their final day of the season game with Woking.

Chesterfield have lost six of their past nine games and go into the fixture in the last remaining play-off spot, but with eighth-placed Dagenham & Redbridge breathing down their necks just three points behind.

When Cook took over in February, his new side sat second in the table, a point behind leaders Stockport with a game in hand.

Former Pompey boss Paul Cook

The former Pompey, Ipswich and Wigan manager was being questioned about his side’s credentials on the back of such form as the team prepare’s for Sunday’s all important game.

Yet the ‘negative’ line of questions put to him, didn't sit easy.

And as he continually got frustrated with Staton’s understandable approach, he eventually pulled the plug on the interview.

Footage of the incident supplied by the BBC man has already been viewed more than 150,000 times.

But if you’re unable to access it, let us provide you with a transcript so that you can see for yourself how events unfolded...

Reporter (4-5 questions in): Have you got a blood and guts-type performance in this team and if you have, will we see it this weekend?

Cook: With the greatest respect, I can’t keep answering your negative questions. I physically can’t.

I’ll tell you what we’ll do, we won’t turn up Sunday, giving Woking the points and we might still be in the play-offs.

C’mon, can you put it away? I understand our supporters’ anger. I understand the frustrations and we’re obviously training them (the players) this week to put in another performance.

So either move on to the questions about Woking and the game or end the conversation.

Reporter: Fans expect some questions to be asked, don’t they Paul?

Cook: You’ve just asked five negative ones. How many more do you want to ask? You can’t physically keep asking negative questions.

So if you want to speak about Woking on Sunday, which is what we haven’t spoke about yet, then great. If not... I’ve tried to answer some questions for you, I’m not going to answer any more.

Reporter: This is about your team, surely I’m well within my rights to ask these questions because these are some of the questions fans want asking.

Cook: Yip, and you’ve asked four, and I told you I’m not answering any more.

So either ask about Woking or end the conversation – it’s up to you.

Reporter: If you don’t want to answer the questions, that’s your choice, but I have to ask them.

Cook: I’ve just told you, you might as well end the conversation. I’d rather speak about Woking on Sunday and some optimism, and some positivity rather than the negativity that you continue to ask of me.

Reporter: But it’s not your choice what questions I ask, is it?

Cook: It’s my choice to either sit and listen or carry on speaking.

Reporter: That’s correct. Have you got 100-per-cent buy-in from these players you inherited, Paul, and if you’re honest, have you been convinced by them either?

Cook: No, that’s nothing to do with the Woking game on Sunday, so either ask about Woking or I will be ending the interview, it’s up to yourself.

Reporter: Are the players not capable of playing the way you want them to play?

Cook: (Speaking to the Chesterfield press officer): Nick, can you just end the interview for us, please?

I’ve had enough. He’s not changing his direction of questions, he’s happy going in his direction, so unfortunately, you don’t want to speak about Woking, do ya?

Reporter: I’m going to ask the questions that I feel need to be asked.

Cook: There’s no need for me to carry on with the interview, thank you for your time.

Press Officer: Rob, do you want to ask about Woking?

Reporter: I want to ask the questions that I want to ask, Nick. It’s a press conference.

Cook: Rob, we’ve got no problem with the questions, the direction. You obviously don't want to speak.

We respect your angle on it but we’ll be ending this interview now and moving on to the next one.

Thank you very much for your help.