Sharpe: I’m not going to put pressure on Cook or the squad

David Sharpe with new manager Paul Coook
David Sharpe with new manager Paul Coook

Latics chairman David Sharpe has assured new manager Paul Cook ‘isn’t going to be pressured’ by him when the League One season kicks off.

Cook arrived at the DW Stadium from Portsmouth after negotiations started last weekend, bringing to an end the period without a permanent manager which began in March.

The squad should be at the top end of League One. Hopefully that will be the case

David Sharpe

Sharpe admitted he has learned lessons from his previous managerial appointments, including Warren Joyce who only last four months in charge, and has high hopes for Cook, who spent time as a player with Latics during two stints in the 80s and 90s.

“I’m glad to get it done,” said Sharpe on the deal.

“It’s been a long time coming - two and a half months without a manager - so it’s been good to get different angles, reflect on what went wrong, what needs to be put right.

“It’s been good to gather different names, look at different people and see how they work.

“Ultimately Paul was the one we wanted.”

Sharpe admitted he wasn’t sure whether he would land his target, pointing to Cook’s stellar campaign with Portsmouth last term which saw them win the League Two title, but was impressed with the manager’s CV once talks began.

“With Portsmouth doing so well and getting back to League One under his leadership I didn’t know if it was going to be achievable or not, so I was waiting on that,” he said.

“As soon as I got the impression he would come, I made contact with Portsmouth, we got permission over the weekend, Paul flew out to see me over in Spain, had two days with me on Saturday and Sunday and spoke everything football, everything Wigan Athletic.

“He really impressed me - not just with his knowledge and his previous experience and his success - which speaks for itself - but his character, demeanor, he’s very passionate and energetic. I’m glad he’s finally here and I’m looking forward to working with him.”

Sharpe took over as Latics chairman in 2015 and admitted not everything has always gone to plan. But he insists he has taken time over his latest appointment,

“I’ve made two appointments. In my opinion I’ve made three key decisions, Malky Mackay was my first manager which didn’t last too long and Gary Caldwell was very successful in League One but last season was unfortunate in what happened,” he said.

“Warren Joyce didn’t work out - I’ve already explained the reasons behind that.

“I’ve looked at different things, explained what’s worked and what’s not worked and I believe Paul will find a balance to make it work, I really do.

“He’s a very good guy, he’s very passionate, it’s his record which not many managers have and I’m looking forward to see if he can put that in place here.”

Despite the ultimate aim of returning to the Championship, Sharpe insists there will be no undue pressure on Cook at the start of the season, though the chairman is confident of a strong start.

“I’m not going to put pressure on him or the squad to say there are certain expectations but the squad should be at the top end of League One. Hopefully that will be the case,” he said.

“We just want to take every game as it comes and put a smile on supporters’ faces again.

“Start of the season winning a few games, supporters coming to games smiling, watching a brand of football that they want to watch and going home happy.

“That’s what we need to get back at the club and hopefully success will follow that.”