Town Confirm Cook Appointment
Tuesday, 2nd Mar 2021 12:06
Town have confirmed the appointment of Paul Cook as manager on a contract which runs until the summer of 2023.
“I’m delighted to announce that Paul Cook is our new manager,” Town owner Marcus Evans told the club site.
“He has a proven track record in getting clubs promoted and importantly, not only knows the challenges League One presents but also has experience of working in the Championship and getting back to that level remains our primary focus.
“He took Wigan up to the Championship in his first year, kept them up and they would have comfortably finished in mid-table last season if it wasn’t for their points deduction.
“In our conversations, he has shown a great desire to become our next manager and I have been impressed by his ideas and ambitions to help take Ipswich Town forwards and I look forward to working with him as we strive firstly to return to the Championship.
“As well as having a history - and ongoing desire - of developing a winning formula, his teams have played in a style which is totally in line with the club’s ambitions to develop an Ipswich Town playing ethos.
“I’m sure our supporters will give Paul a great welcome - albeit from afar at the moment - and get right behind him and the players as we enter what promises to be an exciting conclusion to the season.”
Cook will be in the stands at Accrington this evening to watch his new players in action against a club where he was both a player and a manager. He will take training for the first time tomorrow.
“First I want to wish Paul [Lambert] and Stuart [Taylor] all the best for the future. I know them both and it’s a hard business, football,” Cook added.
“It’s been a quick turnaround with Zoom meetings with the owner but Marcus has given me the opportunity to manage what is a great football club and that is a massive honour for me and my family.
“I’m proud to be in this position and I’ll be doing everything possible to repay the faith Marcus has shown in me.
“Winning promotion this season is the immediate target. It will be a big challenge but it’s a challenge that everyone at the club has a part to play in.”
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.
Cook had 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.
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.
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.
After leaving Wigan, Cook had 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 becomes 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.
As previously reported, former Blues winger Gary Roberts, coincidentally a player with tonight’s opponents Accrington, is set for a role on the staff, while ex-Town forward Noel Hunt has also been under consideration for a position with previous members of Cook's 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.
General manager of football operations Lee O’Neill yesterday confirmed that current caretaker-manager Matt Gill and keeper-coach Jimmy Walker are set to stay at Town.
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