'It's never personal, it’s just professional': Portsmouth boss Danny Cowley lifts lid on relationship with Ipswich's Paul Cook

Danny Cowley declared his admiration for Paul Cook and insisted: It’s never personal.

Monday, 18th October 2021, 6:03 pm
Updated Monday, 18th October 2021, 6:39 pm
Danny Cowley, Paul Cook and former first-team coach Joe Gallen speak after Pompey's 2-1 victory over Ipswich in March. Picture: Joe Pepler

The two locked horns several times in August during Ipswich’s pursuit of Joe Morrell and Michael Jacobs.

In the case of Jacobs, Pompey’s boss was unhappy over the Tractor Boys’ treatment of the winger during a transfer which was scrapped at the last minute.

Meanwhile, Ipswich’s late intervention in an agreed deal to take Morrell to Fratton Park almost cost the Blues the Wales midfielder.

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Still, Cowley possesses no animosity towards his opposite number, who is scheduled to visit Fratton Park tomorrow night (7.45pm) with Ipswich.

Rather Pompey’s head coach has respect for somebody he credits with having the ‘best intentions’ and ‘good values’.

Cowley told The News: ‘I know Paul pretty well, I’ve got to know him over the years and managed against him many times.

‘He’s a great guy, a good character, larger than life. He lives in the fast lane, loves his football and enjoys his life. Good on him.

‘We will be doing everything we can to win the game for our respective clubs, but afterwards no doubt he will come to the manager’s office and have a beer from our fridge.

‘I don’t drink, it will be more for them! They’ve got a long trip back so we’ll make sure we look after them.

‘We obviously came across each other a few times during the last transfer window.

‘With Joe Morrell, as managers you are kind of after similar players. We couldn't compete with Ipswich financially, but Joe is probably a different one because of our relationship.

‘Paul had every right, he knows a good player, that’s why he wanted Joe.

‘In the case of Michael Jacobs, unfortunately that didn’t happen and that can occur in football sometimes.

‘Paul and I spoke about it, he’s a good guy and worked with Michael before. It wasn’t ideal with the way it unfolded.

‘It’s a great game, but, as managers, we don’t have all the control in these situations, sometimes other things happen.

‘We can always have the best of intentions and somebody like Paul certainly does – and has good values. For whatever reason, that transfer didn't happen.

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‘It's never personal, it’s just professional. In football, you have to respect what is professional and what is personal, and make sure they don’t overlap.

‘When the final whistle goes, whatever happens, you leave it behind, thank your opponent and move forward.’

Promotion favourites Ipswich are presently 15th in League One, one point and three places below Pompey.

It took the Tractor Boys until the seventh league fixture to collect their first win of the campaign.

They now have four from their last seven in all competitions to kickstart a steady climb up the table.

Cowley added: ‘Paul has a clear way of playing and been a very good manager everywhere he’s gone.

‘He has recruited really, really well this summer, putting together a very strong team.

‘I would imagine it’s probably the strongest squad of players he’s ever had for the relative level. They haven't just quite managed to get the consistency of results.

‘I am sure when he does, he’ll have similar successes at Ipswich.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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