Give Cook A Break

By Dan Brett

It was a match to forget, watching Pompey slump to a 1-0 home defeat to Exeter last weekend.

In fact, one of the most disappointing things – as mentioned by Cook is that, perhaps bar Naismith, it took a kid (who’s only been here a few weeks) to lift the crowd.

There’s no getting around the fact that it was a poor, poor display. Exeter perfectly executed their game plan and left Fratton Park happy.

However, some of what I’ve seen during and after that match is both ridiculous and absurd. Small sections chanting for Cook to leave, cheering Smith as he was subbed off… That’s not my Pompey.

As fans, we’ve been starved of success for a long time. Since 2010, we’ve dropped through the leagues and have celebrated little. Rightly, supporters want more.

But let’s look at the bigger picture.

What the club is looking to do means far more than a slapdash hope of promotion. Since buying the club, we’ve been on a steady rebuilding process from the ground up. We’re proving to the world that you don’t need a rich investor to live – nor succeed.

Take the last few seasons as an example. Under Cook, we’ve remained debt-free yet we’re still fifth (with a game in hand), which could place us just one behind the automatic promotion places.

The problem is that everyone has an opinion and Cook seems to have got himself into a place whereby he has to satisfy everyone’s requests (start Chaplin. 4-4-2 etc), rather than stick to his own passing philosophy.

That’s sad. Not for him but that as a fan base, some feel so strongly about their own opinions that they manifest them as a torrent of abuse towards the players and manager at matches.

Of course, that’s not to say you shouldn’t hold Cook accountable for our performances. You can tell from his reactions on touchlines, and in interviews, just how much he cares. He hurts just like the rest of us.

The real shame is that we’re just a couple of decent players short. Eoin Doyle would be the perfect partner for Chaplin – if not on his own – giving Smith a break that he desperately needs.

And we need a capable right-back so Evans can return to the wide-right slot, perhaps pushing Baker to a more central position. But those are pegs for Cook to fill, so we can judge his success at the end of the season. Not halfway through.

Give the bloke a break.

[Photo: Official PFC]

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