Cook reveals 'daily challenges' with Ipswich performance staff

Paul Cook was sacked by Ipswich after only nine months 

Paul Cook was sacked by Ipswich after only nine months 

FORMER Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook has said he faced “daily challenges” with the performance staff brought in by Chief Executive Mark Ashton during his time at the club.

Cook took over as Tractor Boys boss in March 2021 on a two-year contract, but was sacked after just nine months in December 2021. At the time the side were 11th in League One.

In an interview with Sky Sports, the 54-year-old has claimed that the performance staff 'imposed' on him by Ashton were a factor in the side's under-performance.

Ashton took over as Ipswich CEO on June 1st 2021 following five-and-a-half years at Bristol City. He brought in several staff who had worked with him at Ashton Gate, namely Head of Performance Andy Rolls, Head of Sport Science Andy Costin, Director of Football Operations Gary Probert and Chief Operating Officer Luke Werhun.

Cook said: “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 [is] I stayed after the summer.

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

Cook added that he would have left of his own volition had he known that new owners Gamechanger 20 (who bought the club in April 2021) would want “instant success”.

“If the new ownership had told me if it’s not instant success you’d be gone, I wouldn’t have stayed," Cook 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.”

Jeffers, Roberts and Craney were brought in as first-team coaches, with Keeley as goalkeeper coach.

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