Paul Cook (footballer)

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Paul Cook
Paul Cook 2018.jpg
Cook as manager of Wigan Athletic in 2018
Personal information
Full name Paul Anthony Cook [1]
Date of birth (1967-02-22) 22 February 1967 (age 54) [1]
Place of birth Kirkby, [2] England
Position(s) Central midfielder
Club information
Current team
Ipswich Town (manager)
Senior career*
1983–1984 Marine 0 (0)
1984–1988 Wigan Athletic 83 (14)
1988–1989 Norwich City 6 (0)
1989–1994 Wolverhampton Wanderers 193 (19)
1994–1996 Coventry City 37 (3)
1996–1997 Tranmere Rovers 60 (4)
1997–1999 Stockport County 49 (3)
1999Burnley (loan) 12 (1)
1999–2003 Burnley 135 (11)
2001–2002Wigan Athletic (loan) 6 (0)
2003–2006 Accrington Stanley 62 (1)
Teams managed
2006–2007 Southport
2007–2012 Sligo Rovers
2012 Accrington Stanley
2012–2015 Chesterfield
2015–2017 Portsmouth
2017–2020 Wigan Athletic
2021– Ipswich Town
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Paul Anthony Cook (born 22 February 1967) is an English professional football manager and former player. He is currently the manager of EFL League One side Ipswich Town.


Cook played as a central midfielder during a playing career that spanned 23 years from 1983 until 2006, notably playing in the Premier League for Coventry City. He also played in the Football League for Wigan Athletic, Norwich City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Tranmere Rovers, Stockport County and Burnley.

Cook moved into management in 2006 with Southport and later moved on to Irish side Sligo Rovers in 2007. In February 2012, he returned to English management with Accrington Stanley before moving to Chesterfield in October 2012. Cook guided Chesterfield to the League Two title in the 2013/14 season. In May 2015, he was appointed manager of League Two outfit Portsmouth after a release clause was met in his Chesterfield contract. Cook led Portsmouth to the League Two title in the 2016/17 season.

In May 2017, he was appointed manager of League One club Wigan Athletic. Cook led Wigan to the League One title and promotion into the Championship. After the club fell into administration, Wigan were subsequently relegated from the Championship in the 2019/20 season following a 12 point deduction, this led to Cook resigning as Wigan manager in July 2020. Cook was appointed manager of Ipswich Town in March 2021.

Playing career

Born in Kirkby, [1] Cook began his career in 1983 at local non-league side Marine but made no appearances. [3] In 1984, Cook was signed by Wigan Athletic, where he featured in 83 league games in a four-year spell. Cook then had a brief and unsuccessful spell at Norwich City before moving to the Midlands to sign for Wolverhampton Wanderers for £250,000.

He was a very popular player during his time at Wolves, both with the fans and his teammates and became known for his deadly and accurate left foot. After 193 league appearances for Wolves over five seasons in the second tier, Cook left to sign for Premier League side Coventry City.

Cook played the majority of his games at Coventry in his first season (1994/95) but fell out of favour during the following campaign, where he made only three appearances. In February 1996, Cook was sold to Tranmere Rovers for £250,000.

Whilst at Tranmere, he became a key member of the side, playing 60 league games in just eighteen months. In October 1997, Tranmere accepted a bid of £250,000 from Stockport County and regained the fee initially paid for Cook. After twelve months at County, Cook began to be regarded as 'too old', despite only being 32. This led to Cook making a loan move to Burnley before making the move permanent in July 1999.

After a falling out with Burnley manager Stan Ternent, Cook went on loan to his former club Wigan Athletic, but made just six appearances before he was re-called to again take his place in the starting line up at Turf Moor. Cook left Burnley at the end of the 2002/03 season, alongside teammate Andy Payton. The two players received a standing ovation from the fans for their contributions to the club.

Cook signed for non-league side Accrington Stanley and went on to become a first team regular in their push for promotion to the Football League. This target was finally achieved in the 2005/06 season when Stanley were crowned as Champions of the Conference. After achieving this aim, Cook retired after 643 league appearances for nine different clubs.

After the end of the 2005/06 season, Cook was granted a testimonial by Accrington as a sign of appreciation for his efforts. The testimonial was played on 2 May 2006 at the Interlink Express (now the Wham) Stadium; Accrington against a Burnley Select XI featuring old teammates Dean West, Lenny Johnrose, Ian Cox, Kevin Ball and Cook’s son Liam.

Management career


Cook was appointed manager of Conference side Southport on 13 June 2006, [4] a post he was sacked from in January 2007 following defeat at Northwich Victoria.

Sligo Rovers

On 27 April 2007, Cook was appointed manager of Sligo Rovers taking over from Rob McDonald, who resigned before the start of the season. During Cook’s unveiling, he stated that he was from Liverpool and that he will not have anything to do with any journalist from the Irish Sun, (due to the articles printed about Liverpool supporters during the Hillsborough disaster). He guided Sligo to a 6th place league finish in his first season in charge. Cook’s second season saw him guide Sligo to fourth in the league and thus secure a UEFA Cup place.

Cook departed in January 2009 by mutual consent, [5] but soon returned to Sligo a few weeks later after his initial departure. [6] [ dead link ]

In his third season, under severe financial constraints, Cook guided Sligo to sixth place. In addition, Cook guided Sligo to the final of the FAI Cup which took place on 22 November 2009. Sligo lost 2–1 to Sporting Fingal despite holding a one-goal lead with seven minutes remaining.

Cook's first piece of silverware as Sligo manager came in September 2010, after a 1–0 win over Monaghan United in the final of the League Cup. In November 2010, he guided Sligo Rovers to win the 2010 FAI Cup Final after beating Shamrock Rovers 2–0 on penalties. [7] The 2010 League of Ireland season saw Cook guide Sligo to a 3rd place league finish.

In November 2011, Cook won a successive FAI Cup following a 4–1 penalty shootout win against Shelbourne. Cook also guided Sligo to 2nd place in the League of Ireland in his final season in charge.

Accrington Stanley

Following his success in Ireland, Cook was appointed manager of Accrington Stanley on 13 February 2012. [8] He led the team to finish 14th in League Two at the end of the 2011/12 season and continued to manage the side for the opening months of the following campaign.


On 25 October 2012, Cook joined League Two rivals Chesterfield on a two-and-a-half-year contract, taking over from Tommy Wright, who had been in charge of the Derbyshire club on a caretaker basis following the departure of John Sheridan. [9] The end of his first season saw Cook guide Chesterfield to eighth position finishing just two points outside the play-off zone. [10]

The following season saw Cook guide Chesterfield to the 2013/14 League Two title.

The following campaign saw Chesterfield finish 6th in League One and the play-offs before losing to eventual play-off winners Preston North End.


On 12 May 2015, Cook was appointed manager of League Two club Portsmouth after Portsmouth met Cook’s release clause in his contract at Chesterfield. [11] Cook guided Portsmouth to the League Two title in the 2016/17 season. [12]

Wigan Athletic

On 31 May 2017, Cook was appointed manager of newly relegated League One club Wigan Athletic on a three-year contract, after a compensation package was agreed with Portsmouth. [13] He led Wigan to the League One title and on an impressive FA Cup run that claimed three shocks against top flight opponents West Ham United, Bournemouth and Manchester City. [14] Cook resigned as Wigan manager on 29 July 2020, following the club's relegation from the Championship due to a 12 point deduction after the Latics entered administration. [15]

Ipswich Town

On 2 March 2021, Cook was appointed manager of Ipswich Town on a contract until 2023. [16] Cook's first match in charge was a 3–1 defeat away at Gillingham. His first victory as Ipswich manager came in his third game in charge, a 1–0 home win over Plymouth Argyle. [17] [18] On 7 April 2021, Ipswich Town was taken over by US investment group Gamechanger 20 Limited, with the club confirming that Cook would remain as manager under the new ownership. [19] Ipswich finished 9th in League One at the end of the 2020/21 season. [20]

Ahead of the 2021/22 season, Cook oversaw a major turnover in both the playing squad and coaching staff, backed by the club's new US owners. Over a dozen first team players from the previous season departed. These players included club captain Luke Chambers, first team regulars such as Andre Dozzell, Gwion Edwards, Alan Judge, Emyr Huws and Stephen Ward, and 2020/21 player of the season James Wilson. [21] The club made notable moves in the transfer market to bolster the new look squad, which included signings such as Wes Burns from Fleetwood Town, Rekeem Harper from West Brom, George Edmundson from Rangers, Scott Fraser from MK Dons, Lee Evans, Joe Piggott and Matt Penney on free transfers, and former academy player Macauley Bonne on loan from QPR. [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27]

Media career

Cook has appeared on RTÉ coverage of League of Ireland matches. [28]

Career statistics

Playing statistics

Source: [29]

Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
ClubSeasonLeagueFA CupLeague CupOtherTotal
Wigan Athletic 1984–85 Third Division 2000000020
1985–86 Third Division13210003 [lower-alpha 1] 0172
1986–87 Third Division27440102 [lower-alpha 1] 1345
1987–88 Third Division41820301 [lower-alpha 1] 0478
Norwich City 1988–89 First Division 4000002 [lower-alpha 2] 060
1989–90 First Division2000000020
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1989–90 Second Division 28210001 [lower-alpha 2] 0302
1990–91 Second Division42600202 [lower-alpha 2] 1467
1991–92 Second Division43810201 [lower-alpha 2] 0478
1992–93 First Division44120212 [lower-alpha 3] 0502
1993–94 First Division36230101 [lower-alpha 3] 0412
Coventry City 1994–95 Premier League 343303000403
1995–96 Premier League3000000030
Tranmere Rovers 1995–96 First Division151000000151
1996–97 First Division363104000413
1997–98 First Division90004000130
Stockport County 1997–98 First Division253100000263
1998–99 First Division240102000270
Burnley (loan) 1998–99 Second Division121000000121
Burnley 1999–2000 Second Division443421000495
2000–01 First Division403204000463
2001–02 First Division285101000305
2002–03 First Division230613000321
Wigan Athletic (loan) 2001–02 Second Division6000000060
Accrington Stanley 2003–04 Football Conference 34160001 [lower-alpha 4] 0411
2004–05 Football Conference24000002 [lower-alpha 1] 0260
2005–06 Football Conference4000000040
Career total6435639333118272362
  1. 1 2 3 4 Appearances in Football League Trophy
  2. 1 2 3 4 Appearances in Full Members' Cup
  3. 1 2 Appearances in Anglo-Italian Cup
  4. Appearances in FA Trophy

Managerial statistics

As of match played 14 September 2021
Managerial record by team and tenure
Southport 13 June 20063 January 2007285815017.9 [4] [30]
Sligo Rovers 27 April 200713 February 2012203955256046.8 [31] [32]
Accrington Stanley 13 February 201225 October 2012338718024.2 [33]
Chesterfield 25 October 201212 May 2015145653644044.8 [9] [11] [33]
Portsmouth 12 May 201531 May 2017107522728048.6 [33]
Wigan Athletic 31 May 201729 July 2020155644150041.3 [33]
Ipswich Town 2 March 2021Present2441010016.7 [33]




Accrington Stanley



Sligo Rovers



Wigan Athletic


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