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Cook: We Should Have Been Given More Time at Town
Wednesday, 5th Jan 2022 12:13

Former Town boss Paul Cook insists he and his staff should have been given longer at Portman Road in his first public comments since his sacking a month ago yesterday, and says working with the performance department brought in by the club over the summer led to “challenges”.

Cook, 54, was relieved of his duties following the 0-0 FA Cup second-round draw with Barrow having only been appointed at the start of March.

Overall, the former Chesterfield, Portsmouth and Wigan boss was in charge of Town for 44 matches, winning 13, drawing 17 and losing 14.

Asked whether he should have been given longer to turn the Blues around even in light of those figures Cook told Sky Sports News: “One hundred per cent we should have been given longer time. One hundred per cent. I get stats, I get all the stats in the modern-day game.

“I think it’s grossly unfair when you can put a manager’s stats on the table when in the summer we released 27 to 30 players and we brought in 19 new ones. So we’re actually probably talking about two different teams.

“The stats can stand up. We initially went six games I think it was without winning, so that would have brought a pressure.

“We brought a lot of new lads in and a lot of good players, some really good players, a very strong squad. No pre-season into them, signing players very late and then, more importantly, taking their time to integrate into a system, a shape and all the above.

“After an initial period of not winning in six, the next 14 league games yielded seven wins, three draws and four defeats.

“We were sacked after 20 league games and for anyone to tell a manager that 20 league games is enough, in my world, you’re wrong.

“The last six home league games with me and my staff in charge at the club, we won four, drew one and lost to Rotherham.

“So you can always look back. I’m so disappointed because it’s a fantastic club, the fanbase, the training ground, the town itself, absolutely magnificent, they deserve success.

“The supporters down there are fantastic. Were me and my staff given enough time? No, not in my opinion, but that’s Mark Ashton and the owners’ decision, and you have to respect that.”

He says he wouldn’t have stuck around had he known that he wasn’t going to be given the time he anticipated: “If the new ownership had told me if it’s not instant success you’d be gone, I wouldn’t have stayed.

“That’s my only regret, I brought new staff in - Franny Jeffers, Gary Roberts, Ian Craney and John Keeley - who were very committed to a project.

“I managed Portsmouth for two years and it wasn’t all swimming and sailing. The first year we just managed to get to the play-offs, the second year we won the league. I thought that was good progress.

“Certainly for myself and the lads who went in, working with a new performance department brought in by Mark Ashton and not by me, the challenges we had within that daily over training and fitness etc.

“My only regret as a senior manager I stayed after the summer. I should’ve been stronger and forceful with my decisions around it.”

In the summer, the Blues added Andy Rolls as director of performance, Jon Ashton as first-team fitness coach and Andy Costin as head of sports science.

Photo: TWTD

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tractorboy12341234 added 12:19 - Jan 5
sorry PC lovely bloke but you inherited a squad on the fringes of the playoffs, had ashton buy every player you wanted and still ended up worse off then under lambert league position wise. It's a results business and we weren't seeing results despite the Gamechanger resources.

MattinLondon added 12:25 - Jan 5
If we were in the Championship, had the same budget, the same points etc then very few, if any, people would have called for him to be sacked. But we’re in L1, he had a big budget to play with which demands instant results.

That’s my opinion at least and I know others will see it as modern football gone mad with no patience anymore. But I’m fed-up of Ipswich being seen as a nice, laid back club to manage at. Be more ruthless, get a winning culture in and hopefully see us climb up the table.

superblues9 added 12:29 - Jan 5
Needed play offs minimum and you weren’t making it work simple !

stopmoaning added 12:34 - Jan 5
He just didn't do very well.

Lord_Mac added 12:34 - Jan 5
Lacked a good assistant and experienced coaches. Does anyone know what the problems were/are with Andy Rolls as director of performance, Jon Ashton as first-team fitness coach and Andy Costin? I've heard this alluded to before. Have they been resolved?

blu_dru added 12:41 - Jan 5
Sorry PC you had mega budget for this league, signed all the players you wanted and failed. Wouldn't change tactics or formations even when obvious to all they weren't working. The one game under Mckenna, the team actually looked a team who all had roles to play and jobs to do and worked hard together which they never did under you.

ldnj added 12:41 - Jan 5
Conveniently ignored the other games (half a season ...), tacitly admitting he wasn't capable of getting the best from the existing assets. I wonder what the challenges were wrt fitness ?

Jugsy added 12:43 - Jan 5
I do think he was sacked too early but I also think there was more he could have done to help himself, ref: the lack of plan b/move away from the 1 up top formation. There were some good performances in there, but results to Barrow, Arsenal U21s and the performance against Crewe, all at home, were very, very poor. So in that sense, when you have the ability and resources to react, I don't really blame the ownership for doing so especially if it means recovering the season. I wasn't happy with the communication that they didn't have someone in mind but that was probably a contractual thing with Cook's position. Pretty certain Ashton had a backup list of manager options for some time. Anyway, McKenna's the 'now' and one game in we already look better, fingers crossed it continues.

Robert_Garrett added 12:44 - Jan 5
"The King is dead, long live the King!". I suppose the payoff reflected the success at the time and there can be no complaints about not been given "time" to etch results with the given strong team. Didnt seem fit enough to me - both sets of players as the often "caught before the line" illsutrated. Cookie didnt seem the same bloke without Liam Richardson so it was pretty clear who had the best ideas. It looks like Cookie was used as a stop gap until the real target became available? The Management knows what it is doing to breed succes as 29000 for a third grade match surely shows.

jdtractor96 added 12:47 - Jan 5
Good riddance.

blu_dru added 12:49 - Jan 5
Lord Mac - i heard that the performance dept were saying to PC you cant pick this player or that player based on their numbers for fitness etc... and he didn't like that

Europablue added 12:53 - Jan 5
For a second when I saw that photo and headline I had a horrible feeling that I had imagined PC being sacked and McKenna coming in!

BlueySwede added 13:07 - Jan 5
I think Paul Cook is right, he did deserve more time. But this is, for better or worse, football of today. Everybody wants instant success, a run of three or four games without a win will result in moans and groans, "manager out" etc.
I don´t like it, but this is the way it is nowadays.
Anyway, I do hope that the owners have made the right decision and that McKenna is the one that finally will take us forward.
Good luck for the future, Paul!

Nobbysnuts added 13:13 - Jan 5
Stop crying had your chance and blew it. Just get lost

runningout added 13:14 - Jan 5
No need Mr Nuts

PortmanTerrorist added 13:15 - Jan 5
PC has confirmed the reality which is that Mark Ashton is building a Club for the new owners, and PC had one job to do, which was mould the prize assets he inherited (then discarded) and/or the prize assets delivered to him in the Summer, into a winning team.

PC is one manager who cannot blame the tools, but he looks like he is trying now. We all liked PC, and I did think it was too soon, but the Club needed a manager to fit into Mark Ashton's vision. Not only did PC not fit the bill, but sounds like he ended up railing against the system, and going forward whether it be PC or anyone else at the Club, they will not be tolerated and the bigger picture that is the successful re-build of ITFC will always come first.

Do not take it personally PC. Short term with some onfield success would have been OK, but PC was never going to fit long term, and so with play-offs dropping off the horizon it was probably the right decision and he is best off elsewhere where I personally wish him all the best.

Europablue added 13:17 - Jan 5
There are a lot of mitigating factors. Paul is right, it isn't just about results, sometimes it's not even about performances. Sometimes it's about a gut feeling that the manager is heading in the right direction. To be fair to Paul there were moments where it felt like we were really getting it together like the Wycombe away game and the Doncaster home game, but each time they proved to be false dawns. I think he was given enough time, and certainly, I would have wanted him to have more time based on the results that he got (even though they were very poor) if I felt like he was the right man to take us forward. As I said, there were a lot of mitigating factors such as covid making things really difficult, yes it's difficult for everyone, but it's harder for a side to be settled, sadly Paul's father died, which must have made it difficult for him to concentrate on his job.

The big problem is that first, he couldn't even get a marginal improvement from the players that he inherited from Lambert, which demonstrated his lack of tactical adaptability and man-management. I have the feeling that McKenna would have been able to get better results. I'm still not convinced that we needed a demolition man and the way he carried himself when he came in meant that he was betting big on getting results with the expensively put together a new squad. That really didn't pay off when after a great summer of recruitment he failed to hit the ground running and even after being shown a lot of patience from the fans and board, he didn't deliver.

Ultimately, he wasn't the right fit for the club. He obviously tried very hard and was enthusiastic, but he just didn't get the club. He was probably hired assuming that Leam Richardson would be joining him in the summer. It just proved too much to put together a whole new side while starting with a whole new team of support staff. He wasn't really the new owners' man.
Overall I appreciated that he tried his best, but it was never going to work out (personally I feel like he got rid of a lot of potentially good former academy players) and he had more than enough time and resources to prove himself.

cranky_old_tractor added 13:20 - Jan 5
With additional investment / resources comes the demand for results - that's business!

Nobbysnuts added 13:21 - Jan 5
Runningout....its my opinion. If you don't like it don't read it. Jog on

Tufty added 13:23 - Jan 5
Lean Richardson is clearly the catalyst for Paul Cooks success.
I don't think he would have been successful even if given 10 years.
Bobby Robson you ain't Mr Cook

Bildestoned added 13:25 - Jan 5
‘Methinks he doth protest too much!’ When you’ve finished reading his comments you will still need to go back to his taking over the then existing ITFC squad and the total failure to elicit one glimmer of improvement from it. That in itself wasn’t good enough and it pretty much continued with the newly-assembled squad. As I’ve said before it was ‘These toys are rubbish Dad, get me some new toys!’ followed immediately by ‘I can’t get these new toys to work Dad!’

Europablue added 13:40 - Jan 5
Tufty I don't think it's fair to attribute all of Paul Cook's success to Richardson, but I think having a settled backroom staff was essential, and it was quite a big reason for PC's failure. I never thought that it was a good idea to have a Scouser invasion (albeit Gary Roberts was a former player for us). It definitely made it feel like we lost our identity a bit under Cook.

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 13:44 - Jan 5
PC was certainly enthusiastic and approachable, and I wish him well. But he was actually probably not helped by the size of the financial backing on offer. "Kid in a sweet shop," springs to mind. On reflection, we should have moved more slowly and made a few well-chosen additions to the existing squad, which should have got us into the top six without too much difficulty. The "demolition man" approach simply did not work, and the backup staff did not inspire confidence. No doubt PC will do well elsewhere, but I'm excited by our new man, and that's all that concerns me for now.

ChrisFelix added 13:47 - Jan 5
Only time will tell if Cook is correct. There were clearly problems with the set up of the team & the ease for us to concede especially after leading games. His reluctance to change the team & formation & in particular not to play 2 strikers still amaze me.
I wanted Cook but with hindsight I'm not sorry he has gone

Bazza8564 added 13:58 - Jan 5
Sorry but after beginning to get things going there was a serious deterioration, lack of energy and lack of commitment., some of which we've already seen rectified.
From the comments Ive heard through media contacts locally, there were issues with him and his team getting horribly Pi88ed and causing all sorts of trouble at Ipswich GC, anybody ever hear of another Ipswich manager behaving in public like that?
I was a big Cook fan, but in the end it was obvious at the Barrow match he had lost the plot, and even I was relieved when they let him go.
For a guy that had such a poor results record to be deflecting the blame without shouldering any of it himself is poor, he simply couldnt cut it,

In five days we saw what KM was capable of changing tactically, it was obvious that the motivation was on a different level. Sour grapes wont endear him to many other clubs either I would guess.

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