Wigan Athletic old-boy lifts lid on 'grossly unfair' sacking

Paul Cook with Leam Richardson during their time with LaticsPaul Cook with Leam Richardson during their time with Latics
Paul Cook with Leam Richardson during their time with Latics
Former Wigan Athletic manager Paul Cook insists his recent sacking at League One rivals Ipswich was 'grossly unfair', with more than half the campaign still to go.

The 54-year-old - who was appointed at Portman Road in March last year - says he regrets not walking out in the summer, when a new performance department was appointed without his say-so.

And he pointed to his previous record in management as evidence he would have got it right before too long.

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"If the new owners had told me if it’s not instant success you’d be gone, I wouldn’t have stayed," he said.

"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.

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"Certainly for myself and the lads who went in, working with a new performance department brought in by (CEO) 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 is that I stayed after the summer

"I should’ve been stronger and forceful with my decisions around it."

The Ipswich job was Cook's first in management since he left Latics in the summer of 2020 after the club was placed into administration.

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During his three years at the DW, he and Leam Richardson led Latics to the League One title, before winning enough points on the field to retain their Championship for the next two seasons.

Cook - whose Latics side were relegated during his final season only after receiving a 12-point deduction by the EFL - believes his record should have led to him being given more time at Ipswich.

"100 per cent we should have been given a longer time - 100 per cent," he added on Sky Sports.

"I get stats, I get all the stats in the modern-day game.

"But I think it’s grossly unfair that you can put a manager’s stats on the table when in the summer we released 27 to 30 players and brought in 19 new ones.

"So we’re actually talking about two teams there.

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"The stats can stand up. We initially went six games without winning, that would’ve brought pressure.

"We brought in a lot of new lads and a lot of good players - some really, really good players and a strong squad.

"There was no pre-season for them and we were signing players very late.

"Then more importantly taking time to integrate them into a system and shape.

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"We were sacked after 20 league games. For anyone to tell a manager 20 league games is enough, in my world you’re wrong.

"The next 14 league games yielded seven wins, three draws and four defeats.

"The last six home league games with me and my staff was won four, drew one and lost to Rotherham.

"Were me and my staff given enough time? No, not in my opinion.

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"But that is Mark Ashton and the owner’s decision - and you have to respect that.

"The disappointment for me and the staff who left with me is strong."

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