Paul Cook (footballer)

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.

Paul Cook
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*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
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)
Total 643 (56)
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

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. 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]

Media career

Cook has appeared on RTÉ coverage of League of Ireland matches.[21]

Career statistics

Playing statistics


Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Other Total
Wigan Athletic 1984–85 Third Division 2000000020
1985–86 Third Division 13210003[lower-alpha 1]0172
1986–87 Third Division 27440102[lower-alpha 1]1345
1987–88 Third Division 41820301[lower-alpha 1]0478
Total 831470406110115
Norwich City 1988–89 First Division 4000002[lower-alpha 2]060
1989–90 First Division 2000000020
Total 6000002080
Wolverhampton Wanderers 1989–90 Second Division 28210001[lower-alpha 2]0302
1990–91 Second Division 42600202[lower-alpha 2]1467
1991–92 Second Division 43810201[lower-alpha 2]0478
1992–93 First Division 44120212[lower-alpha 3]0502
1993–94 First Division 36230101[lower-alpha 3]0412
Total 1931970717121421
Coventry City 1994–95 Premier League 343303000403
1995–96 Premier League 3000000030
Total 373303000433
Tranmere Rovers 1995–96 First Division 151000000151
1996–97 First Division 363104000413
1997–98 First Division 90004000130
Total 604108000694
Stockport County 1997–98 First Division 253100000263
1998–99 First Division 240102000270
Total 493202000533
Burnley (loan) 1998–99 Second Division 121000000121
Burnley 1999–2000 Second Division 443421000495
2000–01 First Division 403204000463
2001–02 First Division 285101000305
2002–03 First Division 230613000321
Total 14712133900016915
Wigan Athletic (loan) 2001–02 Second Division 6000000060
Accrington Stanley 2003–04 Football Conference 34160001[lower-alpha 4]0411
2004–05 Football Conference 24000002[lower-alpha 1]0260
2005–06 Football Conference 4000000040
Total 621600030711
Career total 6435639333118272362
  1. Appearances in Football League Trophy
  2. Appearances in Full Members' Cup
  3. Appearances in Anglo-Italian Cup
  4. Appearances in FA Trophy

Managerial statistics

As of match played 9 May 2021
Managerial record by team and tenure
Team From To Record Ref.
Southport 13 June 2006 3 January 2007 28 5 8 15 017.9 [4][23]
Sligo Rovers 27 April 2007 13 February 2012 203 95 52 56 046.8 [24][25]
Accrington Stanley 13 February 2012 25 October 2012 33 8 7 18 024.2 [26]
Chesterfield 25 October 2012 12 May 2015 145 65 36 44 044.8 [9][11][26]
Portsmouth 12 May 2015 31 May 2017 107 52 27 28 048.6 [26]
Wigan Athletic 31 May 2017 29 July 2020 155 64 41 50 041.3 [26]
Ipswich Town 2 March 2021 Present 16 4 7 5 025.0 [26]
Total 687 293 178 216 042.6




Accrington Stanley



Sligo Rovers



Wigan Athletic



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  5. "Sligo Rovers" Archived 4 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. "Sligo Rovers"[permanent dead link].
  7. "Kelly's heroics ensure Sligo win battle of Rovers". Irish Examiner. 15 November 2010. Retrieved 15 November 2010.
  8. "Cook leaves Rovers for Accrington". RTÉ Sport. 13 February 2012. Archived from the original on 16 February 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  9. "Chesterfield appoint Accrington boss Paul Cook". BBC Sport. 25 October 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  10. "npower League 2 table". BBC Sport. BBC Sport. Retrieved 28 April 2013.
  11. "Paul Cook: Portsmouth appoint Chesterfield boss as manager". BBC Sport. 12 May 2015. Retrieved 24 January 2016.
  12. "Portsmouth 6 Cheltenham 1". BBC Sport. 8 May 2017. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  13. "Paul Cook: Wigan Athletic appoint Portsmouth boss as new manager". BBC Sport. 31 May 2017. Retrieved 31 May 2017.
  14. "Wigan Athletic: League One promotion caps 'perfect year' says chairman David Sharpe". BBC Sport. 22 April 2018. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  15. Fisher, Ben (29 July 2020). "Paul Cook resigns as manager of troubled Wigan before appeal hearing". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 July 2020.
  16. "Welcome Paul Cook". Ipswich Town F.C. 2 March 2021. Retrieved 2 March 2021.
  17. "Gillingham 3–1 Ipswich: Vadaine Oliver double steers Gills to victory as Paul Cook loses first game". Sky Sports.
  18. "Ipswich Town vs Plymouth Argyle".
  19. "Ipswich Town under new ownership".
  21. "Cook joins RTÉ line-up for TV clash". RTÉ Sport. 8 May 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2012.
  22. Paul Cook at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
  23. "Paul Cook". Southport F.C. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
  24. "Paul Cook". League Managers Association. Retrieved 15 May 2016.
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  26. "Managers: Paul Cook". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
  27. "England 1999–2000". RSSSF. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  28. "England 2005/06". RSSSF. Retrieved 13 March 2021.
  29. "Wolvers Heroes – Player of the Year". Retrieved 4 March 2021.
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  32. "As It Happened: Shelbourne 1–1 Sligo (pens: 1–4)". RTÉ Sport. 6 November 2011. Archived from the original on 21 January 2012. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
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  37. "Doncaster Rovers 0–1 Wigan Athletic". BBC Sport. 5 May 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
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  39. "The winners of the Sky Bet EFL Manager and Player of the Month awards for April 2017 have been announced". 5 May 2017.
  40. "Paul Cook – League Managers Assosiation". League Managers Assosiation. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  41. "Paul Cook named Sky Bet League One Manager of the Month". EFL. 8 September 2017.
  42. "Manager of the Month: Paul Cook – Wigan Athletic". EFL. 6 April 2018.
  43. "Manager of the Month: Paul Cook – Wigan Athletic". EFL. 4 May 2018.