Paul Cook: Manager Profile
The English football pyramid is full of promising managers who have aspirations of managing one of the clubs on the Betfair Premier League odds market. Our manager, Paul Cook, is no different. The Liverpool-born manager is managing at the highest level he has been at during his career, and wants to progress even further.
But who is he, and how did he become the manager of Wigan Athletic?
Before jumping into management, Cook enjoyed a successful career, playing for nine different clubs over 23 years. His most successful spell came at Wolverhampton Wanderers and Burnley where he made over 100 appearances for both clubs. Even though he failed to win a major honour, Cook was very popular amongst fans thanks to his deadly and accurate left foot. He ended his playing career on a high when he helped non-league Accrington Stanley gain promotion to the Football League.
Following his retirement from professional football, Cook was hired as the manager of Conference side Southport at the start of the 2006-07 season. However, his spell at the club didn’t go to plan and the rookie manager was relieved of his duties in January 2007.
Despite his early sacking, Cook managed find himself a new job almost immediately as he joined Irish side Sligo Rovers in April 2007. The appointment was a shock considering his failure at Southport, but he managed to lead the club to a 6th place finish in his first season before guiding the club to fourth place in his second season. This also meant that he secured a UEFA Cup place.
During his spell at the Irish club, Cook also managed to win a few pieces of silverware. In 2010, Cook and his side won the League of Ireland Cup and FAI Cup double in 2010, and successfully retained their FAI Cup title in 2011.
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After five very successful years in Ireland, the manager returned to England to become the manager of his old playing club Accrington Stanley. Joining the club in February 2012, he managed to lead the club to a 14th place finish in League Two.
The 2012-13 season saw him leave Accrington just a couple of months into the season and join fellow League Two club Chesterfield. The club had an underwhelming start to the season following relegation from League One, and Cook was brought it to turn their fortunes around. Although the club narrowly missed out on the play-offs by two points in his first season, Cook led the team to the title in the following season and almost led the club to a double promotion in his third.
Although he was currently managing in League One at this point in his career, Cook decided to drop down a division and join Portsmouth who had rapidly dropped down the divisions a few years prior to his appointment. He led the team to promotion in 2017 following a dramatic last day where they ended up clinching the title.
After claiming that he would never leave Portsmouth, Cook ended up joining us a couple of weeks later on a three year deal. Following relegation from the Championship, Cook’s first objective was to secure an immediate return to the second division. He secured promotion in his first season, winning the league title with 98 points and going on an impressive FA Cup run. His most impressive result was a 1-0 win over a record-breaking Manchester City team who broke the 100 point mark last season.
This season is the highest division which Paul Cook has managed in during his managerial career, and his first priority will be avoiding relegation. A recent poor run of form has left us dangerously close to the relegation zone, but the promising first few games of the season shows that Cook and the players have enough about them to survive.
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