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Cook: All the Decisions Have Been Made
Thursday, 29th Apr 2021 11:31

Blues manager Paul Cook says he’s made his decisions on the players currently at the club and that nothing that happens in the final three games of the season will change his mind, adding that he could have released some of the squad with no regrets in his frustration following last Saturday’s dismal 0-0 home draw with AFC Wimbledon.

Quizzed on whether anything which happens in the matches at Swindon on Saturday, Shrewsbury next Tuesday and then at home to Fleetwood on the final day could change his thoughts on any individual, Cook said: “No, I’ve made my mind up 100 per cent. All the decisions have been made.

“I’m tired of listening to feeble excuses about why we don’t play well, it’s always somebody’s fault. It’s like pass the blame, pass the parcel for blame. Eventually the parcel has to stop with someone and they have to stand up and be counted.

“As a manager of a football team last Saturday at half-time, that was a performance that gets every manager in the country sacked.

“I won’t be a part of that. There’s not a chance I’ll be a part of that. I’ve watched Plymouth, Bristol Rovers, Lincoln for a period of the game, MK Dons and latterly Wimbledon all come to Portman Road and dominate the game. Come to Portman Road and dominating football games? Are you messing? Come on. It’s not going to carry on.”

Is he keen to do his summer business early? “I 100 per cent get where our supporters are at. We don’t even score a goal at the minute. I’ve never been around a football team like this, and it’s not me going back looking at what Paul Cook’s done, everything in the past is totally irrelevant.

“This is about the future. I’ve never seen a team not win second balls and show a character to win a game like we offered at Portman Road last Saturday.

“So whilst it’s great to speak about the future and what will happen tomorrow, I think we’ve got to stay in the painful today at the minute. And it is very painful.”

When will news of players being released or options taken be announced? “If I could have done it last Saturday at a quarter to five I would have done it, and I’d have done it with no regrets.

“There are processes that you have to go through now and then processes will be taken with everything in mind, players’ well-being, conducting ourselves properly as a club and not on an emotional one.

“The emotional one is your pride, it’s hurt and anger and as a manager I want to show everyone how much I’m hurt.

“That’s gone now. We’re in the realms of 10 days left of the season. The release list will come out, the people who can leave the club will come out and we’ll start signing players and, as they say, it will be a case of out with the old and in with the new. That’s 100 per cent what will happen at this club.”

So, as it stands, no one’s been spoken to about their future? Not current players or any incoming signings? “You lads will always poke and prod me in relation to what you would like me to say, what you want me to say.

“I like to think a lot of the time I represent our supporters. When I represent our supporters I can only tell them that I am up there with their unhappiness, I’m totally with you. Unfortunately, whatever I say or do at the minute will just fall on deaf ears.”

Cook will have had opinions on at least some of the current squad when he came in. Have those thoughts changed? Have some drifted in and out of his thoughts?

“That’s a very, very good question,” he reflected. “One of the answers I would give you, I’m actually trying to throw everyone under the bus at the minute in relation to how I feel because that’s how I feel.

“But within that, I’ve managed long enough to know that we do have some good players in the building, of course we do.

“But at the minute I think we’d all suggest we’re all struggling to find them, aren’t we? Let’s hope that the winds of change will blow through the building and the reality is that next year we’ll have a team on the pitch that we can be very, very proud of.”

While it’s expected there will be a player exodus unlike any previous summer, it’s likely a handful of the existing squad will still be at Portman Road. Is Cook confident that those players will be refreshed and their hearts and minds will be with him next season?

“Watch this space! Watch this space,” Cook said. “At the end of the day, I’ve never feared anything I’ve done as a football manager. I don’t fear getting beat. I fear not having a team on the pitch that reflects me.

“At all my previous clubs, I’ve always had teams on the pitch that reflect me. Going forward, hopefully as soon as I can, I’ll put on the pitch that reflects me, that I know our club and our owners and our fans and everybody in Ipswich will be proud of.

“Today, I’m an Ipswich town manager that’s hurting, I’m not doing well enough in my own job and I always look at myself first - what can I do better? One hundred per cent ‘what can I do better?’

“And then when I look out at the training ground areas, when we travel on the team bus, how much do I trust the people behind me. At the minute I don’t trust many people behind me.”

Town had 27 professional players out of contract this summer, including a number of senior members of the squad. Several youngsters have already departed along with Alan Judge, who would have triggered another year on his deal automatically had he started another league game.

Asked whether he is confident the club can avoid getting into a position with so many players coming out of contract again, he said: “Going forward, it’s a situation, especially with the new ownership coming in, and Mark Ashton coming in, our new CEO, that time of change is coming, and it really is coming.

“We’ve got to get everybody get in place and we’ve got to let people settle into their jobs. The functioning of the club going forward has got to happen.

“But in my world, we can’t be in any worse place than we’re in today. And I’m very much part of that. Make no mistake about it. I am devastated about what I’ve seen over the last 13 games.

“As a manager it falls at my door as well. But eventually as a manager the team replicate you. That team at the minute, our team at the minute does not replicate me in any shape or form.

“So going forward, we’ve got to finish the season properly, we’ve got to conduct ourselves properly, we’ve got to do everything correctly. But as you can work out, it will not be allowed to carry on.”

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StringerBell added 11:33 - Apr 29
God, I hope he releases them all - what a message that would send to all the overpaid underachievers

BcarefulwhatUWish4 added 11:51 - Apr 29
Hope we do play some of the youngsters now, many of the first team will have zero motivation in the final 3 games.

Like many others, looking forward to this seasons end and a new beginning.

Suffolkboy added 11:55 - Apr 29
Even if the players are not either up to standard , below technical abilities expected, affected by low esteem or influenced by low morale , it’s extremely questionable to say or believe as Manager that you can’t or don’t trust them !
That speaks volumes ,either about the integrity of our men , OR about your own inability to actually earn their trust : is football management so very very different to running a business team ?
There are too many questions PC is actually conveniently dodging right now .and it’s very difficult to currently discern the REAL PC under the cloak of easy criticism and humorous affability ; he’s reluctant to put the meat on the bone ,but the end of the season must, we hope, reveal well founded and acceptably solid decisions and explanations .
No punches pulled , no excuses hidden all explanations articulated : we want the fullest confidence restored in the ITFC we all support and love .

Rimsy added 11:56 - Apr 29
Oh to be a fly on the wall when he starts wielding the axe. They should film it and put on YouTube.

Michael101 added 12:00 - Apr 29
Well if you made up your mind why bother playing them we will still have to pay them so might as well leave now

Len_Brennan added 12:15 - Apr 29
I am somewhat uncomfortable about PC coming out so forcefully on this.
Yes the players have massively underperformed and a big clear out is required, but sometimes that is due to factors like management, coaching, training, tactics, culture as opposed to ability & drive.
Maybe he is speaking to some of the players in a more considered, behind the scenes manner, because coming out so vocally in a broad fashion like this cannot be positive for anyone there.
As for players who might be in line to come in, reading this is not exactly the big motivator that they like to get before committing themselves to a 3 year contract.
Also, PC is very lucky that he has such financial backing behind him as he embarks on this transformation. Paul Hurst went about making mass player changes of this nature, but needed to sell off our best players, that we wanted to keep, in order to fund it. PC has just told any club that might be considering our players, that they are rubbish & he is getting rid of them anyway. Bad & all as many of them have been, they are (were) significant financial assets to the club; we'll be lucky to get half of what we might have gotten prior to these outbursts.
Marcus Evans let the cash flow early on too, as it was wasted on a number of Roy Keane's flops; but even our new owners will reign in the spending after a while if we are not getting results. The business model has to include sensible, targeted purchases & and value/profitable sales.
Finally, I hope PC gets the players he wants during the summer. If we are letting so many go, we will need to bring in quite a few also, even with an overall reduced squad. We don't want to be losing the likes of Wilson & Bishop, only to find that our targeted replacements are not coming, or are far too expensive, and therefore end up having to get last minute journeymen in the door to make up the numbers.

coolcat added 12:55 - Apr 29
Totally agree Len Brennan. Echoes my thoughts as well.

JewellintheTown added 12:59 - Apr 29
I think Cook is making it very clear we have funds to buy new players but drawing a line in the sand of what kind of players he wants in the club. Any players considering playing for us need to tow that line. I think his openness & honesty is marmite & will put off the players who have poor attitude & excite those with the right kind. Good on him. No Nonsense. Players will be paid properly for the right attitude. I like it & so will new players who know they have team mates with the same attitude to win.

Sixto6 added 13:16 - Apr 29
I know some will think PC comments are a bit harsh but come on ! Theses guys have been stealing a living for a number of years now and thankfully Cook has realised this.

Yes results and performances have been dreadful but we were never going to get promoted on the evidence we could only beat one of the top 6 !

Our season was over months ago and a lot of the players have been going though the motions knowing they just are not up to it.

Paul Cooks comments can’t devalue the players because they are all out of contract or not worth anything anyway (apart from maybe Downes & KVY).

Get this season finished - clear out - recruit well on and off the field to rejuvenate our club !

Oh…… and score at least one goal agghis season !

Drifter3012 added 13:19 - Apr 29
Wow! No holding back there from Cook. It has been clear for weeks that the players are not prepared to play for Cook and the dam has thoroughly burst. He has obviously had enough of the squad he inherited. Well I for one hope the vast majority go. However I also feel that bringing in 8-10 new players into the 1st team might lead to a slow start next season. Keeping KVY, Wilson & Kenlock in defence may help & possibly Downes & Bishop in midfield with Dobra as one of Cook's wide men will make the transition easier I think.
Whatever happens at least we can look forward to the summer and wait expectedly for news of the arrivals.

If Sheff Wed are relegated & Sunderland remain in League 1 after the playoffs we will need a good squad to compete with those 2.

hyperbrit added 13:37 - Apr 29
Cook has been looking for players with enough pride to stand up and be counted when challenged. That is his brief and in the idiotic world of appropriate behaviour ,some on this site find that bad form. The majority of these shameless players have been counting on that to save their miserable backsides but it wont work this time.

London_Blue added 13:40 - Apr 29
Firstly, can I say how lucky the players have been that there were no fans in the stadium this season.

On performances, I just think that the quality isn’t there, literally, not enough of the first team squad are good enough. That’s not blaming them for underperforming or lack of effort, just that they’re not of the standard required to compete on this league. The only way to deal with that is to move them on and replace them with players proven at this level and above, on the basis that the budget is there.

I personally have no doubts about PC’s managerial ability.

WorcesterBlue added 13:56 - Apr 29
I think we have a generally poor squad which is also very demotivated and lacking in confidence. But there are decent players in there plus whatever you think about the players it is the managers job to motivate and get the best out of them. From the start Cook has failed to do this and has increasingly blamed them not himself for poor results. If Lambert could get them to 6th what is his excuse? We do have some good players (Judge was one of them) but now seemingly even the young lads don’t want to play for him and I don,t blame them. Ridiculous old school bullyboy tactics. If you can’t give respect don’t expect any back. I wanted the change because Lambert’s time was up and I wanted Cook but I am really concerned now. It’s like that idiot McCarthy all over again. Dyer said something interesting recently about not trusting coaches who can only play one way and I now wonder whether he’s seeing the coaching flaws behind the scenes.

KernewekBlue added 14:01 - Apr 29
Counter to what a few of you seem to be saying about Cook and his comments, I feel reassured that he's got his estimations of the current squad spot on. If it is it deemed detrimental to the performances or offensive to the sensibilities of the players at hand, then so be it, they've been mollycoddled for far too long and look where it's got us! Honesty has to be the only policy.

Furthermore, does anyone who is a fan of Ipswich Town trust this group of players to go out and perform for the shirt on a weekly basis?

I don't!

They've had long enough to show what they're capable of and have failed miserably to live up to expectations. As a group, they've failed to achieve anything resembling an acceptable standard. Hopefully, the many underperformers will be weeded out of the squad, those already here who will work within a new team and structure, going forward, will have already been identified and possible new recruits will have been discussed and earmarked for consideration.

For a while now, there has been a universal call for the managers of this club to pull no punches in their assessments of our underachieving team and players, yet when a manager actually comes out and tells it like it is, he faces condemnation from some quarters for his brutal honesty in case he hurts someone's feelings.

You can't have it both ways folks!

I, for one, really appreciate Cook's honesty. He's only stating what we all already know... this current crop of players is a trillion miles off where we all want our team to be.

Contrary to the argument that his words may be off-putting to potential new recruits, I say this, I feel it would garner more positive reactions from those players who want to come and give their all for the team, who aren't afraid to put a shift in on the field and who have an inbuilt will to win and want to show their pride in wearing the shirt, representing Ipswich Town Football Club. That has to be the way forward.

Those also-rans, who may be put off signing, are the ones we wouldn't want, the one's who would find it difficult to hide their inept or lazy performances under a manager who is honest with the fans and the media. That can only be a good thing, surely?

We only need players of the right mindset and calibre, who want to represent this club and show their winning mentality every time they take to the pitch, don't we?

The message is clear... mediocre talent need not apply!


Marinersnose added 14:18 - Apr 29
Some very good posts in relation to this topic. Whilst we all know how poor this squad have been for Hurst Lambert Cook and in some cases MM I’m not sure a manager should be saying this publicly. Anyone who has worked or is working in a management role will say that one of the fundamental tasks is managing people. All managers inherit people or players who perhaps they themselves wouldn’t choose but like it or not you have to get the best out of them. Ostracising staff or players because they’re not performing is damaging in a business world as someone somewhere is losing money. In this case the owners and the fans are suffering together with the reputation of the manager. I fully support Cook who has a very good CV but heavy handed tactics won’t work in business or in football. Good luck in the clearance and recruitment of players. Looking forward to seeing the new team next season in a full stadium

istanblue added 14:20 - Apr 29

meekreech added 14:43 - Apr 29
Going back a few weeks there was an announcement that the club would be using the player analysis system for recriminations. It could well have been started behind the scenes and possible signings already being identified. No club in our position will let our opponents learn too much about our possible targets when we have such a large rebuild in the summer months!

multiplescoregasms added 14:47 - Apr 29
I am looking forward to seeing what we look like as a squad come the opening game of the season. Can't see all the players I want gone being gone, but still, can't see many of them being around. The First team may be a total disaster this, and to be fair last season, but we still have the younger teams doing a great job in showing us they want it more. Looking forward to the play offs and watching some decent football.

karl1426 added 14:59 - Apr 29
Play only those who will be here next season please?

Linkboy13 added 15:13 - Apr 29
I see the Farmers are complaining that there's a shortage of fruit and veg pickers to work in the fields. Might be an idea that our released players can take up as i can't see anyone buying them. Of course they will have to work longer than ten minutes.

Karlosfandangal added 15:33 - Apr 29
Some are still saying Cook is the problem.

Lambert was saying how good they were and how pleased he was with them and as soon as someone tell the players the truth that they are no good they stop playing.

Most people in their jobs have a one to one with the boss and look to improve.

Sometimes the truth herts these players have got us relegated and two mid table finishes in League 1 and the club has paid them over that 3 year at lesast half a million pounds.

Earn your money you are in a very privileged position

BlueandTruesince82 added 15:35 - Apr 29
Players when criticised should saying to themselves I'm I'm going to ram it back down your throat, I'm going to go out there and show you exactly what I'm all about.

That's what most people look to do with criticism.

Not one player in this squad seems to have done that. That tells me all.I need to know about their character, not abilty, not skill but character and commitment. The former only gets you so far without the latter.

See Ravel Morrison and Nile Ranger as two such examples.


ArnieM added 15:55 - Apr 29
These players are truly unprofessional . If I was a prospective club for them I’d think long and hard about signing any of them up.

Bunch of Tossas every last one of them .

I hope they rot

PortmanTerrorist added 16:00 - Apr 29
istanblue.....PC says we will finish the season properly so you can take that to mean he will not "PLAY. THE. KIDS.". Shame

itsonlyme added 16:02 - Apr 29
Wouldn’t you love to know what Paul Cook really thinks but can’t say lol ! He still needs the players on his side for the last three games but I don’t think many will take to his latest comments. Well tough, you lot should have pulled your fingers out and played with pride for our club, not turn up and go through the motions. Shame on you and whoever would want to sign you next must be desperate absolutely desperate.

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