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O'Neill: Is Paul Cook the Next Town Manager? I Don't Have the Answer to That Question
Monday, 1st Mar 2021 15:01

Lee O’Neill said he “didn’t have the answer to that question” when asked whether Paul Cook would be the next manager of Town at a lunchtime press conference.

O’Neill, the Blues’ general manager of football operations was asked where the search for a new boss is, Paul Lambert having departed yesterday evening.

“That’s with Marcus, he’ll be doing his due diligence around looking at what is available and the people out there for the next manager of Ipswich Town Football Club,” he said.

Quizzed on whether Evans wants someone in quickly, perhaps in time for Saturday’s trip to Gillingham, he added: “I think he’ll go through his thoughts on that and speak to various different people.

“He’ll take the time that is necessary to look at who he wants to be the next manager of the football club and we’ll obviously work within that structure and until the person is appointed, Matt [Gill] and Bryan [Klug] will continue to run the day-to-day aspects. For example the game on Tuesday [at Accrington] and the following game on Saturday, if required.”

Has he has spoken to anyone about the vacancy? “I think he’s speaking to a number of people so, yes. That’s with Marcus at the moment and we hope that process is quick so we can obviously get the person in place and move forward, but he’ll take as much time as he needs to in that process.”

Has there already been interest? “I can only speak from my perspective, my phone has gone off quite a lot. As you can imagine, there are a lot of people that are interested in managing Ipswich Town Football Club. It’s a great club and it’s a big club, so there is generally a lot of interest in the role.”

O’Neill realises the significance of picking the right man given the Blues’ current situation: “I think it’s very important. The situation that we’ve been in over the last couple of years and the current situation we’re in in League One, we need to get ourselves out of it and back to the Championship as quickly as possible. The longer in here, the harder it is for everybody.”

But whoever comes in could have a chance of winning a quick promotion with the Blues eighth, two points off the play-offs 17 games to go.

“I think that feeling from everyone within the football club, it’s an opportunity for them to show what they can do under new management,” he said.

“We’ve got a lot of players out of contract at the end of this season. There are several things there that are catalysts along with the last two or three weeks in performances and some clean sheets.

“So hopefully that’s enough to get us going in the right direction to be in and around the top six. And look, you can’t rule out anything in this league, everybody’s beating everybody and there’s still over 50 points to play for.”

Asked directly whether the new manager is going to be Paul Cook, as is understood to be the case, O’Neill said: “I don’t have the answer to that question, that’s with Marcus Evans. We’ll have to wait and see.”

A Sky Sports journalist at the press conference said his organisation has been told Cook’s appointment is very close and asked O’Neill what he would comment on that.

“Just that you probably know more than me on that situation," he said.

“I know that Marcus Evans is driving the recruitment on that. As I said, Paul Cook’s name has been mentioned as with a number of other people.

“There are a lot of managers that are currently out of work at the moment, and there are a lot of managers that are in work doing very, very well. So that’s with Marcus Evans, and I’m sure he’ll speak to the relevant people he needs to in relation to that particular person.”

It’s been suggested that Cook will be in the stands at Accrington tomorrow but O’Neill says that’s news to him: “Obviously, people know more than me.”

TWTD revealed in January that Evans had spoken to Cook, who on Friday was said to be the US-backed consortium's target to take over at Town should they be successful.

Compensation would be due to Wigan's administrators should Cook end up at Town with his contract still having time to run when he resigned last summer

As previously reported, it's believed former Blues winger Gary Roberts, 36, could be part of his coaching staff, along with ex-Town forward Noel Hunt with regular members of his backroom team currently in jobs.

Leam Richardson, his assistant with Portsmouth and Wigan, is the interim manager of the Latics, while his first team coach while with the Lancastrians, Anthony Barry, is now assistant head coach at Chelsea.

Would he see Cook as a good fit for Town? “I personally don’t know Paul Cook but if you look at his record, he’s done very well, as have a number of people I think that are available.

“As I said, that situation’s with Marcus Evans. I’m sure he’ll counsel the people he needs to speak to in relation to who the manager is going to be at Ipswich Town Football Club. That’s where it is at the moment.”

He added: “If Paul Cook were that person, he has promotions on his CV, which are well publicised.

“Again, I don’t know Paul Cook, so I can’t comment on him individually, but he has done a good job at the clubs he’s been at.

“So I look at it from Ipswich’s point of view, whether it’s Paul Cook or any other manager, it’s a big club here, and it’s got to be someone that can come in and take the club forward from where it is now.”

Asked whether Evans might consider a foreign manager, O’Neill said: “A very good point. He’ll be looking at all different [options] and like I said speaking to a number of people as he goes through that process.

“Yes, there are options abroad, there are some very good managers that have come in from abroad and done very well in England and in the UK, so I’m sure it’s something he’s considering.”

A job for an experienced manager, not someone that’s just graduating from playing? I think there’s a lot of expectation from the football club’s point of view and the town’s point of view.

“We need somebody that knows what they’re doing, yes. But you can never rule out somebody that has fresh, new ideas.

“So again, that’s with Marcus Evans and I’m sure he will appoint the right person for the club going forward and hopefully that’s in the near future.”

Asked whether it is Evans who is appointing the new manager or a new owner, O’Neill said: “The situation around the new manager, that’s what we’re working on.”

Asked about the Rooney rule, which means EFL clubs have to interview at least one black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) candidate for a managerial vacancy, O’Neill said: “I think Marcus is aware of that situation and doing due diligence around what’s going on.

“Marcus is leading the recruitment on the new manager, and like I said before, he will be counselling on who he needs to speak to during that process.”

Photo: Action Images

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dyersdream added 15:09 - Mar 1
Don't know a lot does he

Pencilpete added 15:10 - Mar 1
BLAH BLAH BLAH ..... whats the point of sending someone into a press conference who admits himself he has no idea whats going on !!

If he genuinely doesn't know about the takeover, the new manager ETC i have to question what the point of him is and ask exactly what it is he actually does !

What is much much more likely is that he does know and has been told to admit nothing, say nothing and give nothing away

blueconscience added 15:12 - Mar 1
No manager will be the answer to our problems under Evans

BartonBluee added 15:19 - Mar 1
It is no different to any "normal" job interview. You don't confirm or say anything until paperwork has been signed. If it was to fall through at the 11th hour, everyone would be up in arms going mad. So the sensible thing is to stay quiet until it is over the line.

I'm not that excited about anyone coming in to be honest. They have no chance under the current regime, and if they fail, they will be hounded out by the keyboard warriors on this forum.

Len_Brennan added 15:46 - Mar 1
Barton Bluee
Should Lambert have stayed?
Should supporters not use their voices to convey their satisfaction/dissatisfaction?
What is the purpose of messageboards, blogs etc on football fan sites?

TimmyH added 15:51 - Mar 1
All O'Neill knows currently is that he'll keep buttering his paymaster general up...and not let on about anything else.

LegendofthePhoenix added 16:15 - Mar 1
Eddie Howe?

Suffolkboy added 16:15 - Mar 1
L O’N is a very good honest and competent articulate man ,who as all good executives should , knows when it’s best advised to play the diplomatic card ,not disclose any significant information ,but to emphasise and re-emphasise the ethos of the business alongside the disciplined procedures for decision making .
He should not be criticised for playing a straight hand, and many of the comments reflect the frustration of not being able to prise out answers ,and the passionate interest genuinely felt .
Keep up the good work LO’N .

wewerefamous added 16:17 - Mar 1
I’m with BartonBluee on this, it’s common place not to divulge details of candidates during the process in any business sector, as some candidates may still be under contract.
Either way, not everyone will agree with who they bring in, it will be up to the new manager to prove their worth to the fans. Slightly nervous about all this but glad the change has been made.



TB42 added 16:27 - Mar 1
“I think he’ll go through his thoughts on that and speak to various different people.

“He’ll take the time that is necessary to look at who he wants to be the next manager of the football club ..."

Worrying comment, he said that before and we ended up with Paul HURST having apparently looked at Frank LAMPARD, Graham POTTER, Jack ROSS et al, all who would have been better choices. If Paul COOK is the choice of the consortium that may or may not be looking take ITFC over, sounds like there choice is better than EVANS !!!!

therein61 added 16:29 - Mar 1
Neither have we fans any idea Lee, just like mushrooms we are fed you know what but we don't get paid to come out and tell us beggar all(i wouldn't want your job)

runningout added 16:33 - Mar 1
Hurst appointment still haunts myself. Lamberts was slightly concerning. If it’s not Cook I’ll be cheesed off

LegendofthePhoenix added 16:41 - Mar 1
It would be insanity to appoint a manager whilst talks are happening with potential new owners. Expect Gill to stay in charge until the situation with the potential new owner is resolved.

dieselmorris added 16:49 - Mar 1
if evans stays it will be case of next in two years time.where will ITFC be then new cemetery.no funding for decent players in fairness to lambert what was he allowed to bring in, load of old has beens that no one else wanted name one player that came here with any resale value.

martin587 added 17:11 - Mar 1
I think all these statements coming out are a total waste of time as there is never an answer at the end.Best they just say nothing until a conclusion has been reached.

Lathers added 17:11 - Mar 1
It’s a disgrace that Evans gave Lambert a new 5 year deal last year. It’s a disgrace that it’s taken 29 matches this season for Evans to finally sack Lambert and it’s a disgrace that he has let Lambert go with no one in place to take over. 17 games to go, still with the chance to be promoted automatically, definitely the chance to finish top 6... PLAN B SHOULD ALREADY BE IN PLACE! LON rolled out and made to look like a total clueless cock in these press conferences and yet another example of why Evans needs to sell up ASAP.

ntoms97 added 17:14 - Mar 1
From what I've known of you O'Neil you don't have answers to any questions do you!

PortmanTerrorist added 17:16 - Mar 1
Ask a better question such as would ME really sack his manager at this stage of the season without someone lined up?!

Also what difference in objectives could the 2 possibly have had. Is there conceivably another objective other than promotion?! Am sure the fans would love to hear abut that !

TractorRoyNo1 added 17:44 - Mar 1
If Cook hasn't said yes, he can certainly now raise the wage stakes as we are now managerless

NITFC added 17:47 - Mar 1
My slight concern is the phrase “That’s with Marcus, he’ll be doing his due diligence around looking at what is available and the people out there for the next manager of Ipswich Town Football Club,”

I wish we had someone who knows more about football making these decisions

dugoutdave added 18:18 - Mar 1
timmyH : what a pathetic statement. If you don't understand that anyone in his position will have been told meet the press but don't say anything which may possibly adversely affect the situation then I feel sorry for you. He's just doing his job. If he didn't meet the press or simply say 'no comment' then everyone's one your back. Its called diplomacy, i.e. tell them something but nothing at all. Happen every day in all walks of life. When they are ready we'll now simple as that.

Countryboyblue added 18:24 - Mar 1
We could have pep guardiola, but even he could do nothing with our current owner and his infrastructure. It was absolutely pointless letting Mick go and parting with Paul Lambert if Evans is control. If ever there was an example of a car crash of running a football club, he’s done it. Preying for a takeover and new owners 🙏🏼

BartonBluee added 18:51 - Mar 1
Len Brennan In my opinion he needed to go. I didn’t actually make any mention of Lambert in my comment so I’m not too sure as to why you ask? What do you think? Should he have stayed or go?

When the comments are toxic / bullying no I don’t think there is any need for people to voice their opinions. If it is constructive and well intentioned then definitely, I’m all for healthy debate.

istanblue added 19:26 - Mar 1
“Obviously, people know more than me.”

Yes, Lee. That's because you're not allowed at the big boys' table with Evans and the other important people. Instead you're just a yes-man that spouts whatever Evans tells you to whilst having his hand up your arse.

arc added 21:04 - Mar 1

I'm slightly worried that Cook's staff from his successful years have gone on to bigger and better things. His first-team coach is at Chelsea?—that's quite a step up. What is he was the brains of the operation?

Still, I want Kieron, and I am completely biased on that point :-)

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