'It was unanimous... this season's not dead' - Ashton on why Town sacked Cook
- Credit: PA
CEO Mark Ashton has insisted the decision to sack manager Paul Cook was a unanimous one from the Ipswich Town board, as they bid to ensure life remains in the club’s season.
The Blues parted company with their boss of eight months following the weekend draw in the FA Cup, at a time when the club sit 11th in League One during a season which began with serious title hopes.
Ashton, who delivered the news to Cook after the game, said ongoing discussions ‘regarding results and performances’ led the club’s directors, including the American ownership group, to come to a joint decision.
“I spoke to the board after the game on Saturday and, as you would expect, myself and the board are in constant communication all of the time,” Ashton said.
“The board felt that recent results and performances had been very frustrating and not where we would have expected. I put it to the board, we discussed it in detail and they unanimously said it was time to change.
“From there we had a real clear voice from the board so we made the decision to change. There were discussions, ongoing discussions, but we formally made that decision on Saturday evening. It was a 100% unified decision.”
Ashton continued: “It’s really important that we publicly thank Paul because he’s been great to work with since I arrived.
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“He used the language at some point ‘I want to put a bomb under the place’ and I didn’t quite understand that until I got here. In many aspects he’s absolutely right in what he’s said.
“It’s unfortunate that results and performances haven’t been where we expected but his work ethic and professionalism and his ethos have been first class. I’d like to personally thank him and his staff for everything he’s done.
“But a decision has been taken by the board and we have to move forward.”
Asked how Cook took the decision, Ashton said: “Myself and Mike O’Leary (chairman) told him.
“Paul’s a professional and was no problem at all. He conducted himself as I would have expected and hoped.”
Ashton has held a number of meetings with the Ipswich players over the course of the weekend, with the overwhelming theme an insistence that there is still plenty of life in a season which has never truly gotten going.
“I spoke to several senior players after we made the decision on Saturday night and met with them again on Sunday,” Ashton said. “Then I met with a larger group first thing this morning (Monday) and then all of the players after that.
“That was to have some honest and frank discussions about where we are and how we move forward.
“This morning, when I spoke to several of the senior players, we all have to look at ourselves in the mirror. We all have to ask what we could have done differently and how we could have been more effective, but ultimately it’s the manager who pays the price.
“We are in this together. Some of the players have said that this should sit with them and that ‘we’re better than what our league position is’ but also that the players have been very, very clear in telling me - ‘this season is not dead, it’s not over and we need to sort it out’.
“Whoever comes in, be it in the interim or more long-term, we need to get behind them and move up the league.
“We’re seven points outside the play-offs and have more than enough games to go to make sure we are in that shake-up at the end of the season. We have a January transfer window coming up as well.
“You put all of that into the debate and take it into account.”