Should come with a health warning - Ipswich boss Paul Cook on the trouble with managing Portsmouth

Paul Cook has lifted the lid on the difficulties he faced as Pompey manager.

Friday, 5th March 2021, 12:00 pm
Updated Friday, 5th March 2021, 12:51 pm
Paul Cook. Picture: Ian Walton/Getty Images

And the Blues boss hinted playing in front of the Fratton faithful was like being a man down at times in his tenure at PO4.

The Scouser has explained how turning around the club’s fortunes after his arrival in 2015 proved a challenge, after the club’s fall from grace.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Speaking at his first press conference since being unveiled Ipswich manager, Cook said: ‘Manager of Portsmouth comes with a health warning - that’s for certain!

‘When I went to manage Portsmouth, the reality of their situation dropping through the leagues was so tough on the supporters.

‘Portsmouth went from “when Sol went up to lift the FA Cup” to playing League Two football. There’s a natural reaction to that.’

Cook faced some toxic atmospheres as manager, before delivering the League Two in dramatic fashion on the final day of the 2016-17 season.

And when asked about the comparison between turning around Pompey and the club he joined this week, he intimated tackling the negativity brought on by the club’s decline was a tough task.

He added: ‘Football fans at 99 per cent of clubs believe that they’re the 12th man.

‘But sometimes at some of the football clubs they’re not the 12th man, they’re actually the 10th man.

‘It’s like losing a man because they are that critical of the team on the pitch and their performance.

‘Sometimes a football fan’s anger can come out in the wrong way.

‘I’ve been brought up as a football fan to support your team, get behind your team and have no negativity.

‘The negativity used to come when we went for a pint after the game game and we could slag everyone off then.

‘For 90 minutes during a football game, a football fan’s job is to support and get behind their team.

‘I think that’s difficult sometimes when your club has dropped levels. It’s a logical thing.’

A message from the editor

Thank you for reading this story. The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on our advertisers and thus our revenues.

The News is more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism. You can subscribe here for unlimited access to Portsmouth news and information online.

Every subscription helps us continue providing trusted, local journalism and campaign on your behalf for our city.