PAUL COOK has shown his steely side after wielding the axe at Pompey.
Cook yesterday ripped through the Blues squad, as he released nine players as their contracts came to a close.
Paul has not shied away from it.Mark Catlin
Wes Fogden headed the list of squad members not offered new deals, with striker Ryan Taylor going out of the door and seemingly on his way to Oxford.
They were joined by defender Joe Devera – who made 43 appearances last season.
Home-grown Dan Butler has been given a free transfer with Ben Chorley, Tom Craddock, Danny East, Nicky Shorey and Bradley Tarbuck also exiting.
Defender Adam Webster has been offered a new deal, however, with Fratton midfielder, Ben Close, seeing an option activated to give him a new one-year deal.
Cook has also shaken up his coaching staff as he wastes little time in making his mark, following his appointment last week.
Despite his recent appointment, the Scouser was keen to speak to all of the players who are out of contract directly.
Chief executive, Mark Catlin, praised Cook for taking responsibility for the process.
Catlin said: ‘The players are out of contract.
‘Paul had to speak to the ones who he definitely wanted to keep, wanted to talk to and the ones he definitely wanted to release.
‘We’ve gone through that process and Paul has not shied away from it.
‘He didn’t leave it for me to deal with.
‘As manager, he wanted to go through the list and do it himself.
‘That’s fantastic because he’s doing it in the correct manner with people.
‘We had to wait for everyone to be contacted before releasing the list.’
The lack of retained players is a brutal assessment from Cook of a squad who laboured to a 16th-placed finish in League Two – the worst league finish and points total in the club’s history.
Catlin believes he is making the call from an informed position.
He said: ‘Paul knows the division so well.
‘He knows the players and he knows what their capabilities are.
‘Paul’s studied DVDs and spoke to our own staff.
‘So he looked at everything as whole before coming to the decision.’
Cook kept his reaction short and simple when contacted by The News over the clear out.
Cook said: ‘I wish them all the best and thank them for their service to this football club.’