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2 March 2021

Get to know the new Blues boss

Paul Cook was appointed as Town’s new manager earlier today.

The 54-year-old, who will be in the stands for tonight's Accrington game, has signed a contract until the summer of 2023.

Paul has led sides to promotion on three occasions - most recently guiding Wigan to the League One title -  and made over 600 professional appearances during his own playing days.

The Club website takes a closer look at the new Blues boss…

Born in Liverpool in 1967, Paul’s path into his football career came through non-league.

He began at Marine before earning a move to Wigan in 1984, aged just 17.

Paul had to remain patient for his Football League debut, which came in the final game of the season as Wigan drew 1-1 with Reading. His first goal for the Latics followed a year later, netting in a 5-0 thrashing of Swansea in January 1986.

The 1986/87 season saw Paul tussle with Ian Griffiths for a place in the side, which reached the quarter-final of the FA Cup and narrowly missed out on promotion from the old Division Three - now League One.

His talent saw him feature more regularly the following term, drawing interest from a number of clubs higher in the pyramid.

Paul joined Norwich in the summer of 1988 for a fee of £73,000, former Town boss Paul Jewell also departing Wigan shortly afterwards.

Having scored 15 goals in 21 appearances before his departure, Paul found chances limited with the Canaries and departed for Wolves in November 1989 for a quarter of a million pounds.

Five successful years with the Midlands club followed, amassing over 200 appearances before signing for - at the time - Premier League side Coventry City for £600,000.

Paul made 34 top flight appearances during his debut campaign but after featuring less in his second, returned to Merseyside.

First Division - now Championship - Tranmere was the next destination in Paul’s career, the Liverpool supporter eventually playing under Anfield hero John Aldridge.

He was on the move again in 1997, Stockport County becoming the third club to pay £250,000 for his services.

Paul helped Gary Megson’s Hatters to an eighth-placed finish in England’s second tier before the 31-year-old joined Burnley, originally on loan before making the move permanent.

Once again, he was a key player for the Clarets as they won promotion from the third tier in 2000.

A brief second stint at Wigan followed before John Coleman - who remains in charge at Wham Stadium having had a two year hiatus between 2012 and 2014 - convinced Paul to drop down to the Conference with Accrington Stanley in 2004.

This was the first step into coaching for Paul, who was still part of the Accy side which elevated to the Football League in 2006.

Paul hung up his boots that year at the age of 37, his first job in management coming with Southport in the same summer.

The Liverpudlian only stayed with the club until January 2007 however as he moved on to Ireland, taking charge of Sligo Rovers.

A surprise appointment at the time, he led the side to a UEFA Cup qualification spot, one Irish League cup and two FAI Cups.

He returned to English football with a six-month spell at Accrington, departing the side he had finished his playing career with for Chesterfield in October 2012.

The Spireites job is where he made his name in the management game, leading them to the League Two title before missing out on back-to-back promotions in the play-offs against Preston, who went onto beat Swindon at Wembley to reach the Championship.

Paul made the decision to drop down to League Two again with Portsmouth later that month, losing in the play-offs in his first year at Fratton Park.

A final day 6-1 demotion of Cheltenham saw Paul’s Pompey side claim the League Two title in the following season, also being named the manager of the season.

25 days after winning promotion, Paul returned to Wigan to take up the manager’s job on a three-year deal.

He added his third promotion as a manager in the following season as the Latics lifted the League One title.

Notably, his Wigan side also went on a memorable FA Cup run that saw them knock out Premier League trio West Ham, Bournemouth and Manchester City.

Last season, his Latics side were relegated on the final day of the Championship campaign following a 12-point deduction for going into administration earlier in the month.

Paul resigned at the DW Stadium in July 2020.

Paul Cook shirt pic 1.JPG

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