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Cook: Strongest League One Ever
Friday, 19th Nov 2021 11:08

Town boss Paul Cook believes this season’s League One is the strongest there's ever been with no club likely to run away with it.

Cook, who won the division in 2017/18 with Wigan, was asked whether this is the strongest League One season with clubs such as the Blues, Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday traditionally from higher divisions and the likes of Rotherham and Wycombe, who were relegated from the Championship last year having been promoted the season before.

“Of course it is,” he reflected. “Last time luckily I was promoted with Wigan, Wigan and Blackburn were the two strongest clubs by far. There was no real other competition in the league. I can’t remember the points tally, I think we probably got to 98 and Blackburn on 96. I think Shrewsbury pushed on 86 and then there was probably a gap of eight points.

“This year, you don’t see any team running away with the league, you just don’t. But that’s only as we sit today.

“There’s so much football to be played, there are so many big clubs, good clubs, there’s a window coming up in January and like good clubs always do, they’re always looking to make themselves better and stronger.

“We just want to look after our own business. At our club, I think we have a class about us that’s good. I think that was seen in a really good light against Oxford last week when it was fantastic game, in my opinion, played in front a really good crowd, a partisan crowd and the game was a draw and you move on to the next one.

“[Oldham manager] Keith Curle commented on the club on Tuesday night and I think that’s good. I think it’s healthy that people speak about our club well, but we’ve also got to be fiercely competitive and that’s what we're trying to do.”

Like Town fans, Sunderland supporters probably felt they would have only a short stint in League One, however, this is their fourth campaign in the third tier.

“I’d always have a more disciplined approach than most,” Cook continued. “I see a lot of clubs continually just sack managers and think that sorts the problem. I don’t see many clubs giving managers time.

“The bigger clubs that have fallen into League One, if you look at Leeds United today, if you look at Leicester City today, look at Southampton, Wolves, over a period of time with good decisions, they’ve all got back where they wanted to be.

“In my world, I think everyone has an instant [desire to] want to win today and go up today, but if you build properly - look at Brentford today where they are in the Premier League - success will come.

“Supporting your team is so tough sometimes because the bad days are bad, they really are bad and there’s no getting away from that, especially when you’re a big club and you’ve fallen to lowly heights. But the reality is that if the future’s solid, the future will be good.”

Photo: TWTD

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TimmyH added 11:34 - Nov 19
Strongest? that an excuse?, I still think it's a relatively tin-pot league with not that much quality. One thing I'll say is that the Championship is starting to become more predictable (the teams that go down from the Prem then go up which wasn't always the case and starting to see that a bit with league one). Personally feel Rotherham will fill one of the automatic places. I don't think Plymouth, MK Dons, Oxford, Wycombe or even Portsmouth are 'strong' sides.

DaGremloid added 11:58 - Nov 19
Methinks PC is setting up an excuse for when/if he fails to get us promoted...

Alternatively if we DO get promotion he'll claim how fantastic he was to get us out of a very strong league.

He's cleverer than I thought.

pennblue added 12:06 - Nov 19
TimmyH and DaGremloid, we don't need constant negativity at this football club, we don't need so called 'supporters' (clue in the name) sniping at every word that comes out of the managers mouth. What you are doing is detrimental and quite frankly, we don't need supporters like you.

Reuserscurtains added 12:27 - Nov 19
Well said pennblue. It isn’t an excuse, anyone who knows the slightest bit about football can clearly see the standard has been far better than previous seasons.
TWTD has some shocking posters, it has to be said!
Right, back on a TWTD ban again.

Jugsy added 12:56 - Nov 19
Each to their own, forums are about opinions. I think Cook's assessment is spot on and as an endeavour to manage fans expectations, he's wise to point the strength of the league out. Sheffield Wednesday, Rotherham, Sunderland, Wycombe and Wigan all have recent Championship (and Prem) histories - that's without the overperformers like Plymouth, Oxford and MK Dons trying to break in, and then the underachievers who might go on runs like Charlton, Lincoln and Bolton. It's going to be a tightly packed league for a while - exciting and heart-wrenching in one foul swoop!

Lathers added 13:10 - Nov 19
I agree with PC. Even the supposed weaker teams are decent. Fleetwood looked a tidy, well organised outfit and we couldn’t get the ball off Oxford for the first 20 minutes on Saturday. If he can get us up this season, probably via the POs, it will be a job well done. Weirdly the Championship is probably the weakest it’s ever been.

Scuzzer added 15:05 - Nov 19
I actually agree with him.

TimmyH added 15:22 - Nov 19
pennblue - once again another pillock who turns up on this board (never seen you post before) and says 'we don't need supporters like you' or 'go and support them up the A140' or equally stupid post! - okay maybe saying using it as an 'excuse' might be a bit strong but I don't think I'm seeing high quality football when I'm at PR and from a number of other clubs near the top...what will win this league will be consistency with a well organised outfit. How by the way does a negative post (my opinion which I'm entitled to) become detrimental to what happens on the pitch!?! utterly nonsense.

Don't get me wrong, room for improvement and the match days are more entertaining and there is a buzz of optimism around PR and great support but I'm not seeing any strong teams currently - Plymouth, Wycombe, MK Dons and Oxford (though well drilled) have all proved that! or am I not allowed to say that?


TimmyH added 15:31 - Nov 19
By the way Championship is the weakest it's ever been? based on what?...Wycombe Wanderers getting promoted 2 season ago were probably one of the worst teams I've seen promoted from this league, they looked bang average both times we played them.

I think a number of posters are getting now sucked into the mentality as we've been in this division now over 2 seasons that sides which we are getting accustomed to playing nearer the top are now good (which either have come down from the Championship i.e. Wigan) or a league 1 contender like Oxford, Sunderland. Didn't even Evans say the other day there should be no clubs to fear?

Eddie1985 added 15:58 - Nov 19
Non sense, early excuses for under achievement, we were higher last year unfer paul lambert this time last year with a squad cook claimed was unworkable, he needs to up his game and meet the requirment if being oromoted this year

pennblue added 17:17 - Nov 19
TimmyH, if you read between the lines from the comments from the players you will see, they actually like
being supported. That makes them feel good and WANT to perform for the club. You may think they are all paid very well and should want this anyway, but in real life, players (and the managers) are human beings and do get effected by comments like yours.

What people write on social media / internet platforms has a huge effect on people, a quick news search will confirm this, and the sooner we have some sort of regulation / accountability the better. Paul Cook also appears to be quite sensitive about what is written about him, and I would rather his full focus is on getting us promoted.

We have had 15 years of Toxic negativity at this football club, I just think it would be nice if we could
just try supporting the manager and the team this year (100%, regardless of your views), as I think a lot of people are fed up with negativity. It does not mean anyone is in a delusional state about where we are at, we all see the same things. If we can all pull together, we will be far more likely to see the results we all desperately want.

FYI - I have been posting on this board for 30 years.

Bert added 18:12 - Nov 19
I have the same view as Cook that social media is not for me. Anonymity simply encourages unkind behaviour. TWTD is however different in that most people give their opinion and most respect it even if they don’t agree. For my part, League One this year has seen clubs coming to Portman Road and playing better football than last year. Whether that makes this league stronger I am not sure but it is certainly harder to beat teams. The next few games will give a clue to where we may be in May 2022. What I am sure about is that I now look forward to each game and the atmosphere that is being generated when we all pull together.

TimmyH added 18:16 - Nov 19
30 years!?! has TWTD being going that long? if so 30 years of if I don't like a post/opinion I'll tell you your not needed as a supporter or support Norwich. How arrogant!

Bluechip75 added 19:44 - Nov 19
The Degremaloid's ,TimmyH'S and others on this forum would have some credibility if they mixed constructive criticism with positive comments.
Instead they dissect whatever PC says or does and then proceed to post utter negative rubbish.
To all the positive true town supporters i say, pack out Portman road,cheer the players and staff and see where we are come May.

TimmyH added 20:34 - Nov 19
Bluechip - you obviously don't read my posts after most matches then do you or maybe just the ones you choose!! I don't need to get 'credibility' from you or a few others. I try to stay with my feet firmly on the ground on how we play, don't get carried away and if we play well I'll say it and point out players who stood out if we don't play well I'll post my observations and criticisms...but with some on here it's simply not allowed.

Try reading some of my posts other than my first one to this thread, before coming to your premature conclusions!

istanblue added 22:49 - Nov 19
PC sounding like Mick - ''this league ain't full of no mugs''

BangaloreBlues added 00:26 - Nov 20
I think he's absolutely correct. I've never known a league one like it. Very strong teams. It's not the same level as the championship, but it's becoming just as difficult to get out if season by season. There's little between the teams, bar a few stragglers.

Eddie1985 added 05:06 - Nov 20
I really cant see that the atmosphere at the club has been entirely toxic for 15 years??!! When evans first came in there was a similar buzz and we were spending money and looking to compete in the championship. We got to the playoffs, i dont remember that being toxic. The new owners ate operating on a 7 to 10 year plan but if we dont get to the premier league or become a serious championship force in that time its likely they will do the same as evans ie reduce investment and look to cut there losses. This is why some supporters expect so much of paul cook as this is our chance to become a competitive force again and we cant afford to waste time in this division when we really need to aim to be in the promotion mix in the championship to satisfy our investors

pennblue added 06:01 - Nov 20
Eddie1985, you are now arguing your point of view well. There is a serious risk that if after 2/3 years we have not made the desired progress, people are going to get twitchy. You are right, it has not been 15 years of toxicity, that was an exaggeration, there were some good years in the early days of the Evans era for sure. Constructive criticism is very useful, essential even.

All I would say is try and keep in mind what we are trying to achieve now:


TimmyH added 12:01 - Nov 20
Needs to be done this season, not next. The longer we're in this division the harder it will be to get out, time really is of the essence.

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