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Cook: Very, Very Exciting Times Ahead Under Fantastic New Owners
Monday, 12th Apr 2021 10:28

Boss Paul Cook admits that the Blues’ takeover came as a surprise to him last week but believes there are “very, very exciting times” ahead for Town under “fantastic new owners”.

Asked about the takeover which saw Marcus Evans, who appointed Cook only just over a month ago, step aside and the US pension fund-backed Gamechanger 20 group take charge, Cook said: “Listen, first of all, I’d like to wish Marcus every success in his future, whatever he decides to go into.

“I only spent a short time knowing Marcus and I believe he did a great job. I think he had so much commitment to Ipswich Town Football Club, something that I know a lot of our fans probably didn’t agree with, but I’ve seen sides of him and also the money that he’d invested in the club previously.

“I’ve seen what poor owners do to football clubs, so Marcus leaves with my best wishes and I wish him every success for the future, if he does go into football again or whatever he does.

“I think the new owners have come in, certainly Michael O’Leary, who I’ve spoken to on numerous occasions now, he’s a really good guy, he’s a good football person who is leading a lot of the stuff with the new ownership.

“I think it’s very, very exciting times for Ipswich. But as a person and a manager, I’m very much into the present and now. I’ve taken 10 points out of the fixtures that we’ve played, 10 points from nine games. We’ve only won two out of nine. We don’t score enough goals.

“I’ve got lists as long as the height of my door on my desk of problems on the pitch at the minute and we want to be promoted this year.

“I think the new owners are bringing so much optimism to the club and freshness. We want to compete at high levels in this football pyramid.

“Over a period of time I think we’ll get to see the new owners a lot more, we’ll get to hear from them a lot more and there are exciting times around the corner, which is great.

“But we’ve got some here-and-now issues that we want to address and as a football staff and a football group of people, we’re in a push for a promotion and we’ve got to stay with it.”

Quizzed on whether he knew the takeover was happening, whether it had come up in his discussions with Evans, he added: “I think guys I’ve got to be careful because you want to take me in to waters I just don’t want to go into.

“I can only be truthful, I was aware that Marcus was looking for investment into the football club and like everybody else, I think a deal was struck in the end where Marcus couldn’t have majority control of the club. I think the new American investors wanted that.

“A deal was struck and I was informed, like you lot, very late on in the proceedings. But I wish Marcus well, there’s absolutely no issue between Paul Cook, Marcus Evans, the new owners, anything going forward, other than total commitment to drive Ipswich Town Football Club back to where we belong.”

Cook not appearing at either his pre-match or post-game press conferences around the MK Dons game led to some fans fearing that the new boss wasn’t entirely enamoured with the new owners or perhaps some aspects of their plans. Asked whether is happy, he said: “I’m not happy because I watch a team team, who can’t score and doesn’t win enough. I’m very, very much far from happy, but apart from being unhappy with that, I’m quite happy.”

His reluctance to speak to the media following the game, was perhaps explained by Cook not wanting to speak negatively after disappointing performances during the run-in.

“The reality is that the games have taken on the same sort of pattern that I can only say negative things towards the players, and that’s something that I just don’t want to do,” he added.

New chairman O’Leary said at his press conference on Wednesday that as well as being top of Marcus’s list when it came to appointing a boss, he also headed the incoming group’s, although contrary to some reports they weren’t involved in his selection.

“When you’re a manager today, you know criticism comes very, very quickly,” Cook said. “As a manager, like I tell the players, the team reflects the manager.

“At the minute, our team doesn’t reflect me and it doesn’t reflect our football club. Going forward, that will change.”

The new owners have made it clear that they plan to back Cook in the summer financially with fans excited as a result.

“You can ask me another 46 questions about the new owners, you’re not going to take me anywhere else!” Cook laughed.

“We’ve got a great game tomorrow night at Wimbledon. If that was with terraces open, how many fans would be travelling from Ipswich to support their team?

“There’s enough negativity in the world to last everybody two lifetimes. But us we’ve got a job to do tomorrow night to try to win a game that can drive us forward and we’ve got to stay with that.”

Questioned about his first thoughts on hearing the news of the takeover news and how it must have been reassuring to have O’Leary tell him he was the man for them at their first meeting, he said: “First thing I thought was ‘thank God for that!’ because I’m in trouble if I wasn’t, wasn’t I? Like everyone else, the takeover took me by total surprise.

“I was turning up at Portman Road like everyone else, Lee O’Neill, for a meeting with Marcus. What we’d spoken about was that we’d had big plans for the off-season, implementing the changes that Marcus was about to take on at Ipswich Town Football Club.

“I got told like everyone else and I can only reiterate that my initial meetings with Michael O’Leary have been 100 per cent positive. Michael is a gentleman. Once you meet Michael yourselves, you’ll work that out quite quickly, he’s a good guy.

“Going forward, I’ve been in and around football long enough to know the rules, lads, I’m not a stupid person, I know exactly what goes on in football. If the new ownership are happy with me and that’s the way we’re going to go forward, I only want to be here, guys, I’ve got to tell everyone that.

“I joined a plan that I knew would be difficult, I knew there would be a lot of change within the club, I knew going forward the ambitions we all had.

“I feel the new owners have come in and they’ve probably added to those ambitions. If I can be part of that, if I can help with that success, then I’ll be one of the happiest people around here. But that is all for tomorrow, we must leave that for tomorrow.”

He says he’s yet to speak to any of the Three Lions part of Gamechanger, Phoenix Rising owners Brett Johnson, Berke Bakay and Mark Detmer.

“No, very much Mike,” he said. “As you can imagine, a lot happened quickly last week. Over a period of time I’m sure we’ll get to hear and see a lot from the new owners who have got a real strong pedigree in football and sport.

“I think when you look to that, with the greatest respect to ownerships today, when you look at the pedigree they have in this industry, it makes me quite excited, I’ve got to tell you that.

“But I’m also knowing that my job can be a perilous position, in any other club, in Ipswich Town. But my big concern, and I’ve got to highlight this, is that the future of this club looks to be in very, very good hands, and that’s a great day for everyone connected with it.”

The situation appears a stark contrast to his time at Wigan where he has admitted not seeing danger signs having not met the Latics’ new owners.

“I’m a football person, you know my background, you know what my CV is, what I do,” Cook continued. “The reality is that my big decision when I’d left Wigan was to work with owners that I trusted, that was a huge thing for me.

“In Marcus and Lee O’Neill it was quickly evident that I did trust those people. Going forward now, having met Michael, having heard about the plans, my trust with them will only grow over time. I’m not going to be sitting here saying I trust these lads because they’ve got to work with me, I’ve got to work with them, but I’ve been led to believe the relationship will be a good one, a strong one.

“My job then will hopefully be to deliver the success that the owners crave, that the supporters crave, and everyone craves, including myself. That will be a great day for me, if that’s the case.”

At the present time, Cook seems to effectively have two jobs on his hands, the next seven games in which the target is winning a place in the play-offs, and then the Blues new era in the summer, whichever division they might find themselves in.

“What we’ve offered up for a period of time, including the performances under me, they’re not good enough for Ipswich Town, it’s just not,” he admitted.

“We can’t keep saying it every week, can we? There’s no point. We’ll all just get ourselves into a pickle. The reality is that we’ve got seven games and if we can get positive energy from the press and the social media guys, the reality is that we’ve got fantastic new owners coming in.

“The future for our club looks bright. But the future for this team is the next seven games and I’d love you to be able to help us with that.”

Photo: Matchday Images

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Gilesy added 10:32 - Apr 12
Excellent - everyone calm down.

sospier added 10:36 - Apr 12
There.. straight from the horses mouth so don’t worry anymore.

ArnieM added 10:38 - Apr 12
So what do people feel, is he staying or going ?

Radlett_blue added 10:38 - Apr 12
Not exactly a ringing endorsement, is it? I hope the new owners can find common ground with Cook over a new structure. Evans's "let the manager manage" policy has been disastrous, with the exception of McCarthy, who seemed generally to bring in decent players who fitted into the system, presumably aided by Connor & Bowman. This needs to be resolved quickly as the last thing Town can afford is a poor summer of transfers & players rushed in at the last moment, or Cook throwing a hissy fit and resigning.

OwainG1992 added 10:39 - Apr 12
Think this is just the sort of interview we needed to see.
Gives us all including myself a bit of a sigh of relief.
Never thought he was leaving but when loads of people speculate it doesn't help anyone.

ImAbeliever added 10:46 - Apr 12

Timefliesbyintheblue added 10:49 - Apr 12
Please though let us all remember Cook asking for positive energy from all of us - he even mentioned social media. We can play a part, so let's just do it. To ask us to keep positive for the last few games is not a great deal to request.
We have new owners, a new manager and a new optimism. We have though the same squad of players, who as we all know are not as good as we would like them to be; however let's leave the sniping for a few weeks and try and divert as much positive energy as possible to the team. So wish I could be at Wimbledon (another new ground) tomorrow evening.

KiwiBlue2 added 10:49 - Apr 12
I do not envy him, particularly with the players that we currently have, and hope that he will be here for next season regardless of where we finish at the end of this season. Obviously if the new owners give him a decent sum to rebuild the team then they will be expecting much better than has been so far achieved since we we fell into League 1. The summer promises to be a very interesting time. We are well overdue for some success so lets hope that PC and the owners invest wisely.... coyb

martin587 added 10:50 - Apr 12
Extremely honest comments from Paul.He explained he was aware of talks in the air so that clears that up.Also he is delighted with the new owners and the promises they have made to him and the club in general.We are in safe hands now so let’s leave it to the professionals. I’m very happy now.All we want now is for the season issue to be resolved ASAP. Very happy times ahead for all.

ImAbeliever added 10:50 - Apr 12
ArnieM. It’s probably perform or perish for everyone, like it is for employees everywhere.


90z added 10:53 - Apr 12
Some of our fans are so negative whatever the club does! ITFC post up with cooks comments and everyone says he's leaving cause he wished the new owners success for the future. To me that is a positive! We all want success!!

tetchris added 10:57 - Apr 12
Sounds like before the takeover, ME was trying to broker a deal that meant there would be more investment coming into the club but with him retaining the majority share but clearly game changer 20 wanted to buy the club outright and he maybe reluctantly decided to sell.

EricGatesShinpad added 11:02 - Apr 12
Phew!!! thank **** for that..... I had feared the worst but it sounds like everything is set up for Town to go upwards and onwards....

but not this season !

bluejacko added 11:05 - Apr 12
Never mind Radlett Blue you can always look on the bright side!

johnwarksshorts added 11:15 - Apr 12
Keep believing, I'm sure better times are ahead with the current manager and owners. COYB!

BAKERSE added 11:24 - Apr 12
As pointed out by Timefliesbyintheblue - there is a reason why Paul Cook references social media. This site needs to act with a bit more responsibility. Over the past couple of years it has done more harm than good to ITFC. Bobby Robson was scrapping with the players in the dressing room when he first turned up. What would this site's response to that have been, and would we subsequently have been fortunate enough to witness what followed.....

dirtydingusmagee added 11:28 - Apr 12
at last a statement from PC. Make of it what you will. Seems like all is ok. I know he has to believe promotion is still possible until it isnt, but seriously, have we the remotest chance, i dont think so .We havnt the players capable of achieving it .Realistically we have to be looking at next season. We really cant afford to carry the players that have failed into another season, BIG CLEAR OUT, Nothing less.

arc added 11:31 - Apr 12
Surprised by the takeover? Gracious, Paul, you should sign up for news updates from TWTD—we've known it was coming for months.

BlueInBerks added 11:43 - Apr 12
“I’m not happy because I watch a team, who can’t score and doesn’t win enough. I’m very, very much far from happy, but apart from being unhappy with that, I’m quite happy.” Classic line!

terryf added 11:43 - Apr 12
Arnie, I think all he needed was an arm around the shoulder to tell him he was important to the future of Ipswich Town and O'Leary looks like a decent Chairman and a footballing person.

As for the fans I really don't thing Pep could do much with the present squad as sadly they are just not good enough.

Cook created very good Teams both at Wigan and Portsmouth and I can still remember the latter playing Championship Ipswich Town off the Park in an F.A. Cup match several years back when they were a 2nd Division Side.

I think it will be a busy summer with at least seven or eight of the present squad departing, not including any of the non existant loanees!!

Suffolkboy added 11:45 - Apr 12
Patience , humour , optimism , belief and ( for a time ,please ) unqualified support for what is to come .It seems pretty obvious that there already positive plans in place to revamp,and restructure the professional approach to everything ITFC ,from top to bottom ,and the new owners appear openly to be committed to a radical and eminently sensible strategy ; as supporters it’s really high time we gave credence to rather more of what we read ,and understand effective change is an evolution - not a revolution. - and ALL that’s been put out by the new Crew , Chairman down , is businesslike and awfully positive !

bluesteal74 added 12:12 - Apr 12
Happy days. Hopefully we can still get the job done COYB

Bert added 12:13 - Apr 12
New manager, new owner and now a chairman of the club who acts and sounds like a leader.All the things that most supporters wanted to happen. Forget this season, what will be will be and look forward to a new promising era with a squad that will be refreshed no matter what happens in the next 7 games.

minesapint added 12:43 - Apr 12
Lambert was really really emphatic and Cook is very very similar in that respect. Let's hope the similarity ends there.

TimmyH added 14:14 - Apr 12
He's staying!...I have in faith in Paul Cook that he will turn things around here but as I said with Paul Hurst when he first came here and that ridiculous idea of getting in numerous league one and two players 'he's got a lot of managing to do'.

First things first and that's syphoning out the rubbish at this club and that's a fair few players, I think this season looks a lost cause.

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