Why Paul Jones blames Paul Cook for the infamous goalkeeper crisis that devastated Portsmouth’s play-off dreams against Plymouth

Paul Cook with members of the Pompey premiere team in June 2015. Michael Poke, Tom Craddock, James Dunne and Paul Jones. Photo: Ferme Colin

Paul Jones, Brian Murphy and Alex Bass were absent for the Ligue 2 two-end semi-final against Plymouth.

In their absence, Ryan Allsop was drafted on an emergency loan from Bournemouth – but made crucial mistakes as the Blues were knocked out 2-1 on aggregate in May 2016.

Jones was in attendance for the return leg at Home Park, sitting among Pompey fans who damaged his quad three weeks earlier at AFC Wimbledon.

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Paul Jones made 64 appearances for Pompey before leaving for Norwich in August 2016. Photo: Joe Pepler

By the time of his injury, the keeper had recovered as number one, stringing together seven consecutive appearances.

And Jones blames Cook for the issue that subsequently ruled him out of Pompey’s playoff bid – and, ultimately, two and a half months.

He said The news: ‘I took a goal kick against Wimbledon and it was like someone had stuck a knife in my quad. I remember it so clearly.

“It was at the top of the quad muscle, I had broken it quite severely. It was only held by little threads and they told me more and I would have needed surgery.

Ryan Allsop is devastated after the last winner of Peter Hartley of Plymouth in the League Two play-off semi-final in May 2016, along with also Ben Davies and Marc McNulty. Photo: Joe Pepler

“I was out for the season – and it was the manager’s fault. This is how he trained me.

“The week before that game on Thursday Paul Cook had lost his mind a bit, he was angry with the loss at York and gave us all a crazy, stupid run on the training ground.

“It involved going around the field, but in every turn you stop to do a drill. So, for example, on your first round you stop at the corner flag and do 10 burpees, then 10 push-ups in the next, 10 star jumps in the next, and another exercise in the next.

“For the next round, you do nine drills in each turn and so on, until you get to zero. So it’s 10 laps of the field and all these exercises.

“Now keep in mind that I’m a goalie and I’m not used to this type of training. It’s completely foreign to me, I use different muscles. not run like this since the pre-season, it was in April.

“I’m old enough and experienced enough to know my body and I remember saying to the goalie coach (Scott Bevan) ‘You sure aren’t going to make us do this? “.

“He said, ‘I don’t have a say. I do not agree with you to do it, but you must do it ”.

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“The next day, I couldn’t go down the stairs properly. My body was tired – and we had Wycombe the next day!

“We beat Wycombe, then you’re Sunday, Monday, then there was a Tuesday night game at Wimbledon. It was too much and the injury I suffered was 100% due to this training session.

“Work me as hard as you want for the goalkeepers, but my job is to keep the ball out of the net. So why do goalkeepers have to take laps around a soccer field? I will never understand it.

“I wear a heart rate monitor in training and you can do goalie drills as hard as running and other types of things. This is how I train.

“Running has its purpose, I will always run now. But for a goalkeeper to be so close to the game was a mistake. ‘

Such was the severity of that injury, it wasn’t until the end of July that Jones made his pre-season comeback.

Meanwhile, Brian Murphy, who replaced Jones at half-time at Wimbledon, has lined up for the last two matches of League Two.

After finishing sixth, the Blues advanced to the playoffs, but with Murphy also ruled out, there was no fit goalkeeper in their books.

With a two-way semi-final against Plymouth looming, the SOS was sent to Ryan Allsop, a Bournemouth player who had been loaned to Wycombe that season.

Jones added: “I was on the bench for the last league game against Northampton, despite my injury.

“It was the gaffer’s decision, purely mind games, that’s all it was. He wanted a goalie on the bench so before the play-offs it looked like there was no goalkeeper problem.

“Ryan Allsop came for the play-offs and I have sympathy. The goalkeeper is a tough position anyway, let alone being thrown into it.

‘He could have said’ No ‘to a loan, he didn’t, fair play. You don’t know any of the guys, the style of play, nothing. And instantly become an easy target for opposing players.

“On the other hand, it’s an integral part of being a goalkeeper, it’s a pressure situation and he has to come out to play. He’ll probably look back and say these aren’t his strongest games. .

“I wouldn’t want me to lose in the play-offs on him (Allsop). There is a lot going on at important times, as a team you always have to be good enough on both legs to progress.

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About Christopher Easley

Christopher Easley

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