Who is Paul Cook?
Monday, 1st Mar 2021 20:00
With Paul Cook looking set to be named Town manager later this week, TWTD looked at the 54-year-old’s background.
Cook has been the favourite for the boss’s job at Portman Road since the end of last week with his appointment linked to the US-backed takeover.
However, TWTD reported in January that Cook had been spoken to by current owner Marcus Evans as he looked at his options with Paul Lambert’s position looking increasingly precarious.
And at this lunchtime’s press conference, general manager Lee O’Neill insisted the new boss’s appointment is unrelated to the takeover, which we understand has made significant progress and has gone as far as being with the EFL for their ratification.
Talks with Cook are well progressed and we understand the new man could be confirmed the new Town manager as soon as Wednesday or Thursday.
As previously revealed, former Blues winger Gary Roberts, coincidentally a player with tomorrow’s opponents Accrington, and ex-Town forward Noel Hunt are under consideration for positions on Cook’s staff with previous members of his backroom team currently in jobs.
Leam Richardson, his assistant with Portsmouth and Wigan, is the caretaker-manager of the Latics, while his first team coach while with the Lancastrians, Anthony Barry, is now assistant head coach at Chelsea. Keeper-coach Nick Colgan is working at Nottingham Forest.
Given his experience as assistant manager at Swindon, a role he left in December, Hunt, 38, would appear to be the more likely appointment assuming Cook’s scope for bringing in staff is limited with current caretaker-manager Matt Gill and keeper-coach Jimmy Walker set to stay at Town.
Kirkby-born Cook was a central midfielder in his playing days, starting his career with non-league Marine before moving on to Wigan, Norwich for a short spell in the 1998/89 season, Wolves, Coventry, Tranmere, Stockport, Burnley (initially on loan), another stint with Wigan on loan and finally Accrington Stanley.
Cook moved into management with Southport in June 2006 but departed Haig Avenue the following January.
In April 2007 Cook took charge of League of Ireland side Sligo Rovers. Having guided Rovers to fourth and a European place, he left by mutual consent in January 2009 only to return 13 days later.
Despite tight finances, Cook saw Sligo to the 2009 FAI Cup final but they were beaten 2-1 by Sporting Fingal.
However, in 2010 they did carry off some silverware, the League Cup, then they followed that up by an on-penalties victory over Shamrock Rovers in the FAI Cup the same season and retained the trophy the following season via another win on spot-kicks against Shelbourne.
In February 2012 Cook took charge of Accrington but having finished 14th in League Two in 2011/12 he departed in the October when he took charge at Chesterfield.
Cook took the Spireites to the League Two title in 2013/14 and then the following year to sixth and a play-off place in League One.
That success led to his move to Pompey in May 2015 and two years later he guided the Hampshire side to the League Two title.
In May 2017, Cook was named manager of Wigan following their drop into League One and led them to the title in 2017/18 as well as FA Cup shocks against Premier League West Ham, Bournemouth and Manchester City as they reached the quarter-finals.
He resigned in July last year following the Latics’ administration, resultant 12-point deduction and relegation to League One. Without the points deduction they would have finished 13th.
Overall at his six clubs as a manager Cook’s win percentage stands at 43.1.
Since leaving Wigan, he has been linked with a number of jobs in the Championship, among them the positions at Cardiff City, which he is understood to have turned down, and Sheffield Wednesday.
Cook is set to become the 18th Blues manager of the professional era and the fourth named Paul during the Evans era. Fans will hope Cook can bring the success which eluded Messrs Jewell, Hurst and Lambert.
Photo: Action Images
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