'My talks with Marcus were totally about football' - New boss Cook on Ipswich takeover reports
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New Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook has joked that he started rumours of a club takeover, adding that his discussions with owner Marcus Evans have been 'totally about football'.
The Athletic reported last Friday that the club was 'on the verge' of being taken over by a US consortium and that they would quickly replace under-pressure manager Paul Lambert with ex Wigan boss Cook.
The following day, Lambert said, following a 2-1 home win against Doncaster, that he was '99% certain' that he would depart the club if a takeover did happen.
The following evening, it was announced that Lambert and assistant Stuart Taylor had left the club by 'mutual consent'. And within 48 hours, Cook's appointment on a contract until 2023 was confirmed.
“Listen, my talks with Marcus were totally about football, about the future of Ipswich Town Football Club and what plans we had going forward," said Cook, who took his first training session this morning in preparation for Saturday's League One game at Gillingham.
“I’ve got total confidence in Marcus, after speaking to him, that whatever decisions he makes about other stuff will be for the benefit of the football club.
“I trust Marcus totally with those decisions and I think Marcus is now trusting me totally to manage stuff on the football pitch.
“I think we will both stick to what we’re supposed to be doing."
He continued: "The conversations with Marcus have been great, they were excellent, they were positive.
“When you don’t know people you don’t know them. Obviously I’d heard a lot about Marcus Evans. But his passion for Ipswich Town just shone through. It was really, really refreshing to hear it.
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“I’m very, very fortunate to come into a very, very good functioning football club."
Asked if the widespread takeover reports, which had him as the next Ipswich manager, were just coincidence then, Cook joked: “No, I started them! I thought ‘I’m not getting a job, I’d better start something!’
“No, listen, it’s you guys, it’s social media. One of my sons had read it (The Athletic report) and told me and you think ‘wow, I don’t know where that’s come from’.
“Certainly, for managers, sometimes publicity like that is quite flattering and good though if the truth be known."
On his first discussions with Evans, he said: “Speaking to the owner, this was something I absolutely craved to do.
“Do you know what, while I was Wigan manager I didn’t even know who the owners were. I never, ever spoke to them. I never saw any danger signs coming (of the club going into administration).
“On speaking to Marcus Evans it was quite clear that his passion for Ipswich Town was very, very, very strong and he’s desperate to take it back to where we all want it to go."
Lambert's departure came days after he had claimed publicly that 'everything' about the club's structure was wrong. Evans has since revealed that 'differences of opinion' and 'disagreements' were behind Lambert's exit.
Asked whether he felt he was joining a club with the correct infrastructure in place, Cook said: “Speaking about Paul and what was discussed with Paul is nothing to do with me and totally irrelevant. That circumstance is gone.
“I think all clubs should be forward thinking and should be looking to be better tomorrow than they are today.
“I’ve been in here for two days. I’m absolutely delighted with the facilities and everything that’s going on at the club."