Cook on his Ipswich Town sacking, deserving more time and why he should have left in the summer

Town manager Paul Cook looks on as the game heads towards full-time.

Paul Cook has spoken for the first time following his Ipswich Town sacking - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Former Ipswich Town boss Paul Cook has broken his silence after leaving Portman Road last month. 

Cook was sacked on December 4, in the minutes after the Blues had drawn 0-0 at home with Barrow in the FA Cup, with his side sitting 11th in League One. 

The former boss, speaking on Sky Sports News today, has;

  • Defended his record as boss
  • Insisted he and his staff deserved longer in charge
  • Said he should have left Ipswich in the summer, following Marcus Evans' sale to the Blues' new American owners
  • Admitted club's player turnover made it hard to build a team
  • And that a poor start to the season brought pressure
  • Revealed the challenges working with Town's new performance team, led by Andy Rolls
  • Stressed how highly he regards the club and its supporters
Town manager Paul Cook has words with a disgruntled supporter as he heads back to the changing room

Paul Cook was sacked in December - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller

“If the new ownership had sat down and said to me at the start that if we didn’t have instant success then we’d be gone, then I wouldn’t have stayed,” he said. “That’s my only regret. 

“I brought new staff in – Franny Jeffers, Gary Roberts, Ian Craney and John Keeley – who were very committed to a project we thought was (for a good period). Maybe not long-term, because we know the rules of football and it’s not long-term. 

“I managed Portsmouth for two years and it wasn’t all plain sailing. We just got in the play-offs in the first year and in the second we won the year, which I thought was good progress. 

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“But for myself and the lads who went in there, 20 games working with a new performance department brought in by Mark Ashton (CEO), not by me (was not enough). The challenges we have within that, daily, over training and fitness (were significant). 

“My only regret is that, as a senior manager, is that I stayed after the summer. I should have been a lot stronger and forceful with my decisions. 

“But the club itself is a massive club.” 

Paul Cook with Chief Exec Mark Ashton before the game at Boundary Park.

Cook pictured with Town CEO Mark Ashton - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Cook admitted the heavy turnover of players at Town in the summer made it difficult to bring a team together, while accepting the Blues’ poor start to the season brought pressure as they failed to win any of their first six league matches. 

“100% we should have been given longer, 100%,” Cook continued. 

“I get stats in the modern game but I think it’s grossly unfair that you can put the manager’s stats on the table when, in the summer, we released 27-30 players and brought in 19 new ones. We’re probably talking about two different teams there. 

“We initially at Ipswich went six games without winning, so that would have brought a pressure. 

Town manager Paul Cook with his head down as he walks from the pitch.

Cook won only 13 of his 44 matches in charge of Town - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

“We brought a lot of new lads in and a lot of good players, some really good players and a very strong squad, but we didn’t put a pre-season into them. 

“We signed players very late and then, more importantly, it took time to integrate them into a system and shape. After the initial period of not winning in six, we were sacked after 20 league games. 

“For anyone to tell a manager that 20 league games is enough, in my world, is wrong. 

“The next 14 league games yielded seven wins, three draws and four defeats. The last six league games at home saw us win four, draw one and lose to Rotherham.  

“So you can always look back. I’m so disappointed because it’s a fantastic club. The fanbase, the club, the training ground, the town itself. Magnificent. They deserve success because the supporters are fantastic.  

Town manager Paul Cook looks round at fans as he walks from the pitch.

Cook was sacked after the 0-0 FA Cup draw with Barrow - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

“Were me and my staff given enough time? Not in my opinion but that was Mark Ashton and the owners’ decision. 

“They have brought in Kieran McKenna now and he has a fantastic job there.” 

Cook left Town having won just 13 of his 44 matches in charge, with the Blues falling away from the play-offs at the end of last season before never getting fully in-touch with the promotion race this season, as they struggled to recover from a poor start. 

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