When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Cook: I had to leave Accrington Stanley for my career
PAUL Cook has insisted that he thought carefully before leaving Accrington Stanley – but ultimately decided that he could not turn down the offer to join Chesterfield.
Cook was unveiled as Chesterfield’s new boss yesterday and told the Lancashire Telegraph that he had mixed feelings, having opted to leave Stanley after only eight months in charge.
But Chesterfield’s bigger budget and new Proact Stadium tempted the ambitious 45-year-old to make the move.
“It wasn’t a situation where I didn’t need to think about it and it was a simple decision,” Cook said.
“There are young lads at Accrington that we brought through, it’s a great set of lads and they have worked so hard.
“But it was just a bigger job and I want to have the best career I can have, just as players want the best career they can have.
“It’s a big club, with the infrastructure and the new stadium, and they are looking to make progress quickly. I just felt it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.
“But it is very mixed feelings, I am very sad to leave. This did come sooner than I expected, I thought it would be something that happened in a couple of years.”
Cook’s backroom staff Leam Richardson, Les Parry and Paul Lodge have stayed at Stanley and it now remains to be seen if they will follow him to Chesterfield.
The Reds received a five-figure compensation deal for Cook, although it is understood the agreement does not include a clause preventing Stanley’s old boss from coming back for players in January.
Accrington are confident they can keep their squad together, par-ticularly if Richardson becomes the club’s new boss.
Cook will bring new Chesterfield team to the Crown Ground to face Stanley on New Year’s Day.
“There is a good squad there, the club got a good compensation deal for me, and Leam, Les and Lodgey are great people,” he said.
“I’d like to thank my staff publicly and everyone there at Accrington because there were fantastic.
“The fans were great with me and I’d like to thank them very much.
“I’m still an Accrington supporter and I always will be.”
Chesterfield chairman Dave Allen says Cook was always someone they considered after John Sheridan was relieved of his duties in August.
But Stanley’s performance in a 4-3 loss at the Proact Stadium last month was the crucial factor.
“I think Accrington are the best side we’ve seen here this season,” Allen said. “That impressed me and we were asking ourselves, ‘Why can’t we play like that?’.
“The wage budget at Accrington is about half that of Chesterfield.”