Grieving Cook determined to fill Town fans with joy
- Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller
Grieving Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook is determined to fill the club's supporters with joy.
The Blues boss' father, Chris, died last Thursday. Since then, he has overseen home defeats to Bolton (5-2) and West Ham U21s (2-1), results which stretched a winless start to eight games across all competitions.
“I’ve had a tough week," said the 54-year-old, his voice breaking with emotion. "I think as everyone knows, my father passed away last week. So that was really tough. It has been tough, yeah. Really tough."
Composing himself, and indicating he did not want to talk further about the personal matter, Cook returned to talking about football ahead of tomorrow's trip to Lincoln City.
“One of the things I do want to comment on is how strong our fan base has been - they’ve been an absolute credit," he said.
“People will go on about there having been a bit of disharmony at the end of games, but there’s not been a lot of disharmony.
“As I walk off the pitch there is one or two shouts, but there is a lot of encouragement too.
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“Our fans are desperate for success for their football team and I’m desperate to deliver it for them.
“Any frustration has been fair - a hundred per cent. I’ve got no issue around it. Absolutely none.
“We didn’t expect to go through this much pain, let’s have it right. We thought we’d be one of the forces in the league, right away, by the calibre of player that we’ve signed.
“Unfortunately, at times we’ve looked like individuals rather than a team. Good teams are not made up by good individual players. They have a collective bond. That collective bond is something we’re lacking at the minute, but it’s something that will be instilled in the team shortly.
“The reality is we need to get our best team on the pitch as quickly as we can and give those lads the continuity of playing together week-in, week-out.
“Partnerships will then grow and that we see us go to a place that I believe we will go."
Cook, who guided previous clubs Chesterfield, Portsmouth and Wigan to league titles added: "Football is a tough, tough industry. It’s a results driven business. I’ve been around the game long enough to know that.
“I’ve had low moments at all my clubs. People don’t speak about the low moments, they only look back on your success.
“At Portsmouth we won the league by beating Cheltenham 7-1. But about four or five weeks before that we lost 1-0 at home to Crewe and everyone thought the world had ended.
“Don’t forget guys, we’re six league games in. We’ve lost two cup games where we’ve made 10/11 changes. It just shows you how mad the football world has become. That’s the world we live in.
“We brought 19/20 players into a football club. We still have lads yet to make their debuts in the team who are good players.
“I live with all what goes on. That’s the world I’ve always known.
“There were times when Pompey fans probably wanted me sacked. There were times, I’m sure, where Wigan fans wanted me sacked. But I pride myself in the job I’ve done at all my clubs.
“I’m sure there are an element of Ipswich fans who want to see me doing better. Some supporters today will be full of optimism about what they believe can happen next and some supporters will feel a little bit down - I get it.
“My big message to them is they have a manager who will work very hard to deliver them success, do not worry about that."
Cook added: “If you work on a day-to-day, game-to-game basis you’ve got absolutely no chance. I believe there is a long-term project at our football club that I was very much brought in to help and develop.
“I’m not going to go into my records of what I’ve done in the game because the past has got nothing to do with the future.
“We are a brand new team that must work hard together to get better. I do believe that is coming.
“If you look at Lincoln, Bolton, MK Dons, Cheltenham... All they’ve got on us is experience of being a team.
“Our newness at the minute is really hurting us. Our newness will go away soon. Time and games will bring our lads together and see us put a run of results together that our supporters will be proud of.
"Our true colours will be revealed eventually. Tomorrow we will be taking a big step closer to where we want to be."