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Ashton: There Was a Concern From the Board on Performances and Results
Monday, 6th Dec 2021 14:16

Town CEO Mark Ashton spoke to TWTD’s Phil Ham this lunchtime and told him Paul Cook's position had been something the board had been discussing in the week prior to his sacking on Saturday.

Cook, 54, was relieved of his duties on Saturday evening following the 0-0 FA Cup draw with League Two Barrow at Portman Road after nine months at the club.

Ashton says it was something the board - the CEO and chairman Mike O’Leary in the UK and US investors Brett Johnson, Mark Detmer and Berke Bakay, known as the Three Lions, and Ed Schwartz from investment firm ORG - had been discussing in the week leading up to the Barrow tie.

“We’ve been talking to the board over the last week,” Ashton said, explaining the decision and why it came when it did. “There was a concern from the board on performances and results, particularly over the last month.

“I think the one thing the board were clear on is that the season’s not dead. We’re seven points outside the play-offs, we’ve got a January transfer window coming upon us very, very quickly.

“These are difficult decisions to make and not one that I’ve enjoyed at all. But under those circumstances, with the season much alive, a window ahead of us, the board felt that they wanted to act now and make the decision now, and hence why the timing was when it was.”

Cook was appointed by former owner Marcus Evans, might he been given more time had he been named by the current ownership?

“No, it’s a fair question to ask, but that’s never been discussed,” Ashton continued. “I think Mike O’Leary said when we first came in, they were asked at that point whether they were happy to accept Paul Cook as manager and 100 per cent they were.

“You’ve been around this a while, it’s a results-orientated business. We’ve recruited some of, if not the most, talented squad in League One, but at the moment they’re not performing as the best team in League One.

“Pure and simple on results and performance, particularly over the last months, the board, and I have to say unanimously, made the decision to act on Saturday night.”

Ashton has previously talked about patience and the project being a long-term thing but he says a point comes when a change should be made, particularly if the board are losing confidence in the manager.

“There does, and again it’s a hard decision to make and the timing aspect, it’s a fair question, but all I can say to you is that the board, as ever, will act in what they believe is the best interest of the football club to give the football club the best opportunity in every area moving forward.

“Whilst really, really disappointed, they’ve acted decisively and that concluded on Saturday evening.”

Asked how Cook took the news, Ashton said: “Two things on this. The first thing is I just want to thank Paul, he’s been fantastic to work with, he’s been honest, high integrity, hard-working.

“Let’s be fair to him, he really has identified the problems that this football club still faces and is still going to face for a while as we transition and as we turn this big club round.

“And he was as professional as I would have expected him to be. Ultimately disappointed, but very, very, very, very professional.”

Photo: Matchday Images

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Help added 14:29 - Dec 6
Any truth in the rumour that cookie and a player had a disagreement at Saturday match

Barty added 14:31 - Dec 6
The right decision imo. 13 wins from 44 games is poor and unfortunately things were starting to get worse not better. Lets hope the new manager can get the best out of our very good squad.

dirtydingusmagee added 14:31 - Dec 6
there you have it the people on here who were happy with Cook and keep having a go at people on here who were not happy, saying they are not fans and should get behind Cook and team . The board / owners were of same mind, and THEY DECIDED enough was enough, and have not been happy for past month . So now you can wind your necks in , . But then again i suppose you know better .[ no names mentioned ]

ArnieM added 14:34 - Dec 6
Did anyone else pick up on the comment from Ashton ( near the end of the interview), where he said ….”the board agreed with me ….”

So is Ashton running this Club and calling the shots ?

Bazza8564 added 14:36 - Dec 6
Always said the Board knows best and whilst I was a Cook fan, Saturday just felt that it was going to happen. I wish Cook well, i liked him, but the board run the club and we must back their judgement.

Europablue added 14:42 - Dec 6
To be fair there are some people that love the club so much that they want to believe that the incumbent will be successful if only they get enough support.

warwickblue added 14:43 - Dec 6
It's refreshing to be able to read sensible, measured and rational statements from Ashton after the endless psycho-babble from Cook before and after each match. I have to say, personally, that I'm pleased that he's gone. He succeeded neither with the squad he inherited nor the one he hand-picked.

BossMan added 14:52 - Dec 6
Yep some of the hostile rubbish thrown at those of us that could see really quickly that Cook wasn't going to work out was out of order. I'm not gonna name names as that just keeps the squabbling going but was never any need for all the get out of my club stuff etc etc

grow_our_own added 14:59 - Dec 6
I think there's a good, Championship quality team in this squad. The same could also have been said of last season's squad. Cook just couldn't find it in either. I think Cook was guilty of throwing babies out with the bathwater in the summer. Players like Dozzell & Downes would have stayed if they were sold a vision, but Cook wasn't interested. These players are Championship regulars, Dozzell's team is in the playoff positions, could be a Prem player next season. They were sold for political, not football reasons: scapegoat sacrifices to give Cook extra excuses for his own underperformance last season.

But that's not why Cook was sacked. History has repeated, the squad is good enough but the team the manager is selecting is not. I expected the millions that'd been invested meant he'd be given until the end of the season. Surprised, but not really disappointed

Suffolkboy added 15:02 - Dec 6
PC was entirely the architect of his own misfortune ; indulged to a great degree he was totally unable to bring the best out of HIS squad ,but the cards were definitely on the table when he vigorously set about failing last year’s group and at times behaved abominably ,finding even then, I suggest, that he was ,when alone, short of the necessary qualities and ability to structure ,guide and motivate or formulate a winning mentality .
Now we move on, hopefully forward ,and hope the team members will feel able and be willing to turn hands to the wheel together and come up with better co-ordination and results !
Seems very certain they couldn’t have a better or more supportive band of followers ,so COYB

rgp1 added 15:11 - Dec 6
Well said DDmagee be careful though otherwise you will get the likes of Blues1 on here telling us what fools we all are and that we know nothing about football.

Linkboy13 added 15:16 - Dec 6
I could accept from the start that the club needed time to gel. But what i couldn't understand was the lack of commitment from day one. The Wycombe game away was one exception and proved what can be achieved through hard work. The squad at the moment is over loaded with very good individual players who are not prepared to do the dirty side of the game for example win the ball back it's just not in their nature.

itsonlyme added 15:30 - Dec 6
Phil - any truth in the rumours that Ashton told PC not to play Norwood? I heard it through the grapevine!

miltonsnephew added 15:36 - Dec 6
Mick McCarthy??? 😶😶

bedsitfc added 15:41 - Dec 6
ArnieM - Absolutely he is!
He is the board installed him as CEO to make the difficult decisions and to help guide them.

ArnieM added 15:48 - Dec 6
So have the Bristol fans gripe got a bit of a ring to it then? I bloody hope not !

ImAbeliever added 15:55 - Dec 6
One thing is crystal clear, the new owners aspirations for this club to be successful (football/financial) are paramount. Perform or perish. The bar is set very high.

Old_Blu added 15:57 - Dec 6
I think this is a sensible and considered decision by the board. Cook for some reason, seemed to have a problem in inspiring and enthusing the players. There was no noticeable improvement on his appointment last season, so it was assumed that the players we had were not good enough. The new players brought in are quite clearly good players, but I wonder if we discarded some equally good players at the same time. Wilson and Downes spring to mind. I am convinced that Ashton knows what he is doing and will find the best solution for our new manager and be able to convince them to come here. Along with a decent CV, they will be expected to be able to explain why things are not currently working and what they can do to improve the situation. I would hope that we would avoid any big names looking to use us as a stepping stone and instead find someone who wants to be part of the overall project of establishing Ipswich as a Premier League team.

blu_dru added 16:14 - Dec 6
Only 4 very's? Id expect at least 5 from Cook

DaGremloid added 16:22 - Dec 6
miltonsnephew - will you shut up about McCarthy - I've seen the same comment on 3 threads today! It wasn't funny the first time.

DaGremloid added 16:24 - Dec 6
DirtyDM and BossMan - totally agree. Just because some of us realised Cook was a fraud from day one we've been accused of all sorts! We've been stalked ever since!

ChrisR added 16:45 - Dec 6
Must be more to it than just recent performance and results .
Ashton could have demanded PC stayed on but obviously did not his tactics , his coaches ( cronies) or leadership skills . Something was very poor behind the scenes--- just hope the players show proper commitment to the new Management Team. Jan transfer window will be too late for any rescue package otherwise.

happybeingblue added 17:24 - Dec 6
Just because the board decided Cook should be sacked does not necessary make it the right decision? it was their choice they run the club but only time will tell as we have found in the past when large sections of our fanbase wanted Burley, then Magilton out and complaining when mowbray was in temporary charge etc a lot of us did not agree with the decisions taken at the time by that particular board so lets just wait and be hopeful that results improve this season but it can go two ways up or down. cook has proof on his cv that he gets all his teams promoted and some of us were willing to suffer a bit for the greater longterm good but obviously the new owners will not be patient so the next manager will have to produce or else he could be out after 6 months as well.

DaGremloid added 17:50 - Dec 6
happybeingblue - when are you people going to realise that when Cook got teams promoted he also had a reliable no. 2, who was frankly a better coach than him. He didn't have that with us and boy did it show.

Saxonblue74 added 17:56 - Dec 6
In my opinion the level of performance was of far more concern than the results. Dagremloid, I think "fraud" is a bit strong, he clearly had a drive and a passion for the job and was desperate to succeed. Shame he came up short but I applaud the effort he put in, particularly when building a whole new squad.

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