Andy Cooke Interview
Andrew Cooke was born on the 20th January 1974 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. He started his career as a semi-professional with Newton in the League of Wales, were he made 80 appearances scoring 35 goals.
After attracting attention of several Football League clubs, Cooke joined Burnley in the summer of 1995 and forged an excellent partnership with striker Andy Payton.
Cooke made 172 appearances for the Clarets scoring 51 goals in a four and a half season stay at Turf Moor. Then in December 2000, the team he followed as a child Stoke City made a £300,000 bid for his services and he made the move to the Britannia Stadium.
In just over two and a half seasons at Stoke City, he scored 23 goals in 102 appearances before transferring to Busan Ipark in the summer of 2003. He stayed in the South Korean, K-League for just one year before returning to the UK.
He was then signed by Colin Todd for Bradford City, were he made just 35 appearances, scoring 5 goals for the Bantams. During his second season at Valley Parade he had a 3 month loan spell at Darlington were he made 14 appearances, scoring 3 goals.
Cooke’s final professional move came in the summer of 2006, when he left Valley Parade to join his hometown club Shrewsbury Town. In his first season at the club, Cooke played 35 games scoring 10 goals, but the following season in the January transfer window he was set to sign for Notts County on a one and half year deal, but it fell through.
As his contract was due to expire at Shrewsbury in the summer the club took the decision to cancel his contract early on the 8th April 2008. Andrew failed to get another club that summer and announced his retirement from football on the 28th August 2008.
Cooke then spent time working in Canada within the Insurance industry, before returning to the UK in 2011. On his return he did spend two seasons 2011-12 as player / Director of football for his local non-league side Market Drayton Football Club, who were managed by former Clarets boss Jimmy Mullen.
Cooke is now living and working in Market Drayton with his family and occasionally spends time doing his other hobby fishing.
Who was the biggest influence in your career?
The biggest influence on my career was Jake King a Wrexham and Shrewsbury Town defender, he believed in me and got me playing to my full potential which helped me to make it as a professional, he also helped me with the move to Burnley.
What is your highlight in football?
The highlight of my football career was signing for Burnley Football Club. It was my first professional contract and I’d worked so hard to make it as a pro, I was delighted to sign for such a great club.
What is your lowlight in football?
The lowest point of my career was being told to leave my last club Shrewsbury Town. It was my hometown club and I went out of my way to finish my career and retire at the club, but to be forced out of the club with my contract being cancelled was not how it should have happened.
My league debut was as a substitute against Bristol Rovers at Twerton Park, which was the home of Bath City because Bristol didn’t have a ground. My full Burnley debut was in the next match away at Bootham Crescent against York City and I scored after about ten minutes.
Best Goal you have scored?
It’s hard to single out your best goal, all the goals you score are great, If I had to pick one then I would say the goal at Walsall away for Burnley from near the half way line.
I would say the toughest opponent I faced would be Neil Ruddock, he was a hard man to play against. I also think Matt Elliott at Leicester City was a tough opponent as he was big and experienced.
Best manager you have played for and why?
The best manager that I have played for would be Stan Ternent, he was a great manager that always know how to get the best out of his players and the team.
Best Player you have played with and why?
I played alongside a number of great players but I would say Ian Wright at Burnley. It was a privilege to have played with such a legend, he came alive in the box with such quality.
How has the game changed from when you were playing?
Obviously the game gets quicker and faster year-by-year where it’s not just about ability you have to be a finely tuned athlete and a great thinker. Also social media is so big now has potentially put a lot of players in hot water if not used in the right manner
If you could change one rule what would it be?
I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to the rules, however with the amount of money now involved the game may be we need a 3rd eye on major decisions.