Paul Cook

Last updated : 12 May 2015 By Tony Scholes

Date and Place of Birth

22nd February 1967 - LIVERPOOL


Transfers to and from Burnley

from STOCKPORT COUNTY - 12th March 1999 (initial loan)

released - 6th May 2003


First and Last Burnley Games

PRESTON NORTH END (h) - 14th March 1999


BRADFORD CITY (h) - 25th March 2003

replaced by Tony Grant


Other Clubs







Burnley Career Stats


Season League FA Cup League Cup Others Total
  apps gls apps gls apps gls apps gls apps gls
1998/99 12 1 - - - - - - 12 1
1999/2000 44 3 4 2 1 - - - 49 5
2000/01 38(2) 3 2 - 3(1) - - - 43(3) 3
2001/02 25(3) 5 0(1) - 0(1) - - - 25(5) 5
2002/03 21(2) - 5(1) 1 1(1) - - - 27(4) 1
Total 140(7) 12 11(2) 3 5(3) - - - 156(12) 15


Profile by Tony Scholes


Burnley were reaching crisis point again in March 1999. We were close to the bottom of the Second Division (today League One) and our last two games had ended in 5-0 and 6-0 home defeats against Gillingham and Manchester City.

Rumours spread that manager Stan Ternent would leave the club after talks with new chairman Barry Kilby but after they met the news was just the opposite. Kilby had backed Ternent already with a number of signings in the previous three months and he did exactly that again with two more players arriving at the club.

One of the two was midfielder Paul Cook from Stockport, he arrived on loan until the end of the season. On his debut we were beaten 1-0 by Preston but it was a much improved performance. We didn't lose again all season and Cook was a massive influence in the midfield. Come the summer we signed him permanently, giving him a three year deal, on a free transfer.

Cook had started his career in non-league football with Marine but was still a youngster when he was snapped up by Wigan. He soon established himself there before moving to Norwich in 1988 but that proved to be an unsuccessful move and he played only six times for them in a brief spell.

His next move to him to Molineux in a £250,000 deal and it was at Wolves where he probably enjoyed his most successful period. The fans loved him and that was always evident when he returned there to play for Burnley.

He played almost 200 games for Wolves but in 1994 moved up to the Premiership with Coventry. For a season he was first choice under manager Phil Neal. However, Neal was replaced by Ron Atkinson and Cook found himself struggling to get a game. In the second of his two seasons at Highfield Road he played only three games and by January was sold to Tranmere, again the fee was £250,000.

For the next three and a half years he played regular first team football, firstly for Tranmere and then for Stockport after another quarter of a million pound move. He was still playing regularly when he suddenly arrived at Turf Moor on loan.

After helping us to safety and signing a permanent deal he was very much a first choice at Burnley for the next two and a half years. In his first full season he missed just two games as we stormed to promotion. Illness kept him out of the Boxing Day defeat at Bury whilst he was left out of the away win at Brentford as a precaution. He was carrying an injury and Ternent was ensuring he'd be available for the last two games. That's how important he was.

Nothing changed after promotion but incredibly, during a 1-1 home draw against Portsmouth, he was booed by the Turf Moor crowd. Manager Ternent reacted to that strongly, saying it wouldn't happen away from home because those fans who travelled away were more supportive. And the following week, back on his native Merseyside, he received a standing ovation from those away fans at Tranmere.

Overall it proved to be a good season for Burnley and for Cook and we missed out on the play offs by just three points. The following season though was very much different. Cook was in the form of his life as the Clarets took the division by storm. He was at times playing wider and getting in crosses for Gareth Taylor, and he also scored a couple of memorable Turf Moor goals against Walsall and Crystal Palace.

Everything was as good as it can be. We were top of the league and scoring goals for fun as we went into December. Cook was one of the stand out players and he'd started every single game. Then, on the eve of a trip to Crystal Palace the club confirmed that Cook had been allowed to go out on loan to his first league club Wigan.

There were strong suggestions of a fall out with the manager and they were fuelled by the strange statement from Ternent that we were not in a position to offer him a new deal (he was out of contract that summer) and so he was going to Wigan, presumably to try and win himself a new deal there.

A month later he was back at Burnley and immediately signed a new deal with the Clarets giving him one extra season. Back at Burnley he might have been but he was used only occasionally as the season collapsed in front of our very eyes. We still got within a goal of the play offs. He hadn't started any of the last eleven games and only four of the last twenty-five that season.

He was very much an in and out player in the following season but had a run of games early in 2003 during which time we progressed in the FA Cup to the quarter finals, and even captained the side during that period. But an injury in the home game against Bradford City brought his season, and his Burnley career, to an end.

He was ruled out of the last eight games and at the end of the season was released. He made one more special Turf Moor appearance before the last home game against Sheffield Wednesday when he and Andy Payton stepped out onto the pitch ahead of kick off. Maybe if Cooky had played in goal that day we might have won.

He said then that he wouldn't play league football again after he'd enjoyed playing for Burnley so much and he was true to his word. He signed for Accrington Stanley as player/coach but once they won promotion to the Football League he hung up his boots.

He managed Southport for a short time and then in 2007 he moved to Ireland to become manager of Sligo Rovers. He's still there today although early in 2009 he did leave over financial matters before returning just a couple of weeks later.

I'm still not so sure how on earth we got Paul Cook on a free transfer from Stockport, but their loss was our gain. Incredibly if you look at his stats, he started 140 league games for us and in those games we averaged 1.73 points per game. That averages at 80 points over a 46 game season. During his time at Burnley we consistently won more points with him in the side than we did with him out of the side.

I am of the opinion that Paul Cook was Stan Ternent's best signing for Burnley. I once suggested that to the manager but he didn't agree although I know he had Cook very high on his list. Not only was he such an influence in the side that won promotion and did so well in the first season and a half afterwards, I believe without getting him on loan we would have been playing our football back in the bottom division in the 1999/2000 season.

He had a superb 2010 season at Sligo, winning both the EA and FAI Cups, the second of them in a thrilling penalty shoot out against league champions Shamrock Rovers when his goalkeeper Ciaran Kelly saved all four penalties.

Such has been his record since becoming Sligo manager, there have been a number of clubs keen to speak to him about managerial vacancies including St. Johnstone, Derry City and, in February 2012, Accrington Stanley.

Cook spoke to his former club Accrington Stanley but appeared to turn it down. However, there was a change of heart and on Monday 13th February he agreed a two and a half year deal to become manager.

He didn't stay at Accrington for two and a half years, in fact it was no more than just over eight months. In late October 2012 he was given permission to speak to Chesterfield after they'd sacked manager John Sheridan. On 25th October, Cook accepted the job on a deal until the end of the 2014/15 season.

Cook moved the Spirites to just below the play-offs that season and in the following 2013/14 season he took them to the League Two title. The 2014/15 season ended with them in the top six but they were beaten by Preston in the play-off semi-finals, after which Cook decided to move on and take the manager's job back in League Two with Portsmouth.



Cook leaves Sligo (30/01/09)

Paul Cook and Sligo (02/02/09)

Cook back at Sligo (13/02/09)

Ciaran Kelly is Paul Cook's cup final hero (15/11/10)

Paul Cook keen on Accrington job (05/02/12)

No Cook for Accrington (10/02/12)

Cook about turns and takes Stanley job (13/02/12)

Pompey want ex-Claret Cook as manager (24/04/15)

Cook completes Pompey move (12/05/15)