Ipswich Town have sacked Paul Cook after a poor four months that have left the pre-season promotion favourites seven points short of the League One play-off places.
Cook was relieved of his duties after a goalless FA Cup second round draw with fourth-tier side Barrow, but his dismissal has its roots in a league campaign that has never got going. The once top-flight, Uefa Cup and FA Cup winners were taken over by the American group Gamechanger 20 in April and invested heavily in their squad during the summer, but Ipswich are 11th in the division and have largely flattered to deceive.
Players such as Bersant Celina, Sam Morsy and Kyle Edwards were among 19 persuaded to join, many of them from higher levels. Although Ipswich are second in the scoring charts they have often struggled to hold on to leads, dropping 18 points from matches in which they had gone ahead.
While there is understood to be some surprise in the dressing room at Cook’s departure, the club’s owners have moved quickly while an undeniably talented squad still has a chance of making up its deficit to the top six.
A statement from the CEO, Mark Ashton, said: “Firstly, we would like to thank Paul and his team for their efforts in what has been a difficult transition period for everyone.
“I know how much Paul wanted to succeed at this club. However, following discussions with the board, we have decided a change is needed for our long-term interests. At this moment, there is no one lined up to replace Paul. There will be an extensive search to find the best replacement for the club.”
Cook, a former Wigan and Portsmouth manager, succeeded Paul Lambert at Portman Road in March but was unable to qualify them for last season’s play-offs. Ipswich won only 13 of 44 games under his charge.