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Interviews

THE FIRST INTERVIEW: PAUL COOK

31 May 2017

We talk to Latics’ new manager Paul Cook after he agreed to become the new Wigan Athletic boss.

  • Watch Paul Cook’s first Wigan Athletic interview.
  • Cook discusses his Latics memories, excitement at the job and why he chose to move to the DW Stadium.
  • “The challenge of being Wigan Athletic manager is exciting,” says Cook.
Wigan Athletic’s new manager Paul Cook spoke to Latics PlayerHD this morning after he agreed to become Latics’ boss ahead of the 2017-18 Sky Bet League One campaign.
 
Cook, 50, arrived at Latics after leaving Portsmouth and joins for his third spell with Latics having twice played for the club as a player.
 
Recollecting his memories of Latics and how far the club has come, he said:
 
“It’s a superb facility, the stadium has been here for 20 years now but my first recollections of Wigan are from Springfield Park all those years ago. 
 
“To come into the Stadium this morning and see all of the facilities that we have here that obviously the previous Chairman Mr. Whelan and now David [Sharpe] have done for the club is absolutely fantastic.
 
“Wigan was my first club back in the day when Harry McNally had us all and it’s been great to see the club go on to the achievements it’s had in the past few years and that’s great credit to the managers and the chairman.
 
“The club’s come a long, long way from them days and hopefully my job now will be to try and take us back up the pyramid.”
 
And he says that his previous affiliation with Latics played its part in him choosing to leave Fratton Park and move to the DW Stadium.
 
“It plays a big part; whenever you leave a club it is always difficult, I have great affection for Portsmouth and it was a very difficult decision but I feel going forwards it was the right decision for me and my family for sure,” Cook explained.
 
“I think Wigan is a fantastic club; the infrastructure of the club, the playing squad, everything about it isn’t a League One club.
 
“It’s not dissimilar to Portsmouth when they were in League Two but the reality of it is that you are where you are and our job now is to try and deliver a promotion this season.”
 
Cook comes with a reputation of success having won previous promotion with Chesterfield and Portsmouth, but he says he feels patience will be required as he looks to lead Latics back to the Championship.
 
“Football’s a difficult game now,” he added. “We seem to get judged so quickly and one of my criticisms of the game in general is that after each game there is an outcry about how good managers are or not and I think you need a period of time, and the players will need that as well.
 
“When you have a team that comes out of the Championship, you’ll carry a strong squad of players.
 
“The summer recruitment now is important; the Chairman is very positive about keeping hold of our players and whether we recruit one or two more and again the Chairman is very positive about that.”
 
Cook’s footballing philosophy was something that attracted Chairman David Sharpe to him and the new boss says exciting the club’s supporters is of paramount importance.
 
“My philosophy goes before me; when I started at Accrington Stanley in England and then at Chesterfield and then Portsmouth,” he said.
 
“Hopefully I can bring that style of play here now; I want to attack, pass the ball well, go forwards quickly and excite our own fans.
 
“In a football match, there are two teams and you must always respect the opposition in relation to what you do. We’ll work hard in the summer now, get back for pre-season and hopefully hit the ground running as much as we can.”
 
And after a hectic few days, Cook admits he’s keen just to get focused on planning for the new campaign.
 
“I am very excited; it was only a minute ago at Portsmouth we were winning the league and we really did think our future was going to be there but the way things have transpired with new ownership coming in that isn’t the case.
 
“The challenge at Wigan is exciting; it’s been such a quick transition, it will take a little bit of time to sink in but like every manager I want to get to work right away, get to know the squad, the staff and everything about the club as quickly as we can which will hopefully see us start the season strong.
 

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