Successful Cooke’s likely Drogheda United exit a shock
Dubliner has delivered and then some in his team at the helm
Mick Cooke: Drogheda United’s seemingly departing manager has a ‘duty of care’ to oversee the club’s season finale before leaving. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
It may not have generated headlines as large but the news this week that Mick Cooke is on the way out of Drogheda United was a much greater surprise than Giovanni Trapattoni’s departure.
The Dubliner has delivered and then some since arriving from Monaghan United but a decision by the club to withdraw the offer of a new contract has angered the 62-year-old and, he claims, left him completely in the dark.
“Unless it’s my personality and there has been a clash with someone on the board,” he says, “other than that, I don’t know. But I have a clash of personality with everyone . . . I have a strong personality and I’m not going to be sorry for that. Anyway, I didn’t see this coming at all.
“I am a football manager and I expect to be judged by my results and I think they speak for themselves I feel let down but more surprised.
‘Victim of my own success’
“Things are going very, very well and any issues that we going on I kept to the players. Maybe I am a victim of my own success and the success we had last year. People at times get expectation mixed up with reality. The reality of it is that we are having a very good season.”
The club echoes his view that “his record speaks for itself,” but the suggestion is events behind the scenes made the board’s decision inevitable.
Pressed on what these events were, a spokesperson insists “it’s a private matter”.
Remarkably, it leaves the manager with tonight’s FAI cup quarter-final against Finn Harps as well as the League Cup final and the league run in to oversee before, it seems, departing.
“I feel a duty of care,” he says, however, in relation to achieving what he can before he goes.
“I have brought every player to the club, bar Alan McNally, and the majority of the staff and I feel a duty of care to them, and I owe it to them.”
He’ll be without Gary O’Neill this evening as the striker has been diagnosed with testicular cancer and will have surgery over the coming days, while Cathal Brady is a slight doubt for the trip to the north-west due to a dead leg.
Graham Rusk has been back in training this week but the game may have come too soon.
United’s opponents tonight are playing to keep their season alive, with manager Peter Hutton hoping the inconsistency that dogged his young side in the league won’t contribute to a cup exit too.
It’s the furthest the club has got in the competition for a decade but they’ll do well to maintain the run.
Skipper Kevin McHugh is struggling with a foot injury but will be given every chance given his importance to the side, while Damien McNulty, Tommy McMonagle, and Johnny Bonner are all doubts and Seán McCarron is suspended.