Tuesday, 8 January 2013

The two faces of Joey Cole

Is it the return of the prodigal East end son? Well first Joe was born Islington, North London and moved to Camden when he was six. This is tradional Arsenal terrority.

However Joe Cole shunned his local club Arsenal and supported Chelsea as a boy,  fact he has repeated several times in interviews and a biography. 

What is not in any doubt is he joined Tony Carr's Academy system aged 13 and quickly became a rising star loved by West Ham supporters including myself.

A year before he made his professional debut,  Harry Redknapp was writing about him in his West Ham programme notes, dismissing reports linking the 16-year-old boy with a £10 million move to Manchester United.

On his 17th birthday Joey Cole signed his first professional contract on pitch at the Boleyn ground before a game against Chelsea. That date was 8th November 1998. "You can tell your grandchildren you were here when Joe Cole signed," said West ham stadium announcer Jeremy Nicholas.

He made his debut in January 1999, coming off the subs bench in the 3rd round of the FA Cup against Swansea City and a week later he made his first appearance in the league in a 4-1 defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford, where he grabbed the attention by showing off the flicks and tricks that now define him. 

In May 1999 he helped West Ham win the FA Youth Cup. Coventry City were beaten 9-0 over two legs in the final, West Ham winning the second leg 6-0 at the Boleyn ground watched by a sell out crowd.

Harry Redknapp played Joey Cole behind two strikers, but often there were not enough assists and he only scored 15 goals in his five years with West ham.

Glenn Roeder made him West Ham's captain at age 21 in December 2002 and moved him to a deep midfield role. He did much better in his role but despite his efforts, West Ham were still relegated the end of that season.

Cole's last game for West Ham came on 11 May 2003 in a 2–2 draw with Birmingham City, a game which saw West Ham relegated from the Premier League.

Joey Cole won the "Hammer of the Year award" for 2003 that year.

No, He did not put in a transfer request like Jermain Defoe but many believed he deliberately run down his contract and certainly rejected signing a new contract with West Ham before leaving for Chelsea In August 2003 for a £6.8 million transfer fee. 

This is what Joey said when he left “It was the hardest decision of my life to leave West Ham. I think I would have left West Ham even if they had stayed up. I thought the time was right to move on. It’s time for me to move on and learn from the best players in the world. I think I have gone as far as I can with West Ham"
Joe added a few days later “It would upset me if I got the same treatment as Frank. If I could I’d like to sit down with every West Ham fan and explain my decision. It was a mentally hard decision to leave the club because it was where I was brought up. I have seen what has happened to Frank and I wouldn’t want the same. I wish the fans could step into your life as a footballer and realise how much pressure you put on yourself to improve. I wouldn’t want to look in the mirror in ten years’ time knowing I had turned down this opportunity.”

What Joe said on Manchester United Oppotunity “I’d gone to Manchester United and had a trial game. They were a very welcoming club, they looked after me and my family. But I just had a feeling for West Ham as I felt at home there. My Dad rang up Sir Alex Ferguson and said: “Sorry, he wants to stay with West Ham and doesn’t want to take liberties with you”. He just wished me all the best in my career.”

By the time he left West Ham he had put in 150 appearances for the hammers scoring 15 goals!

So he joined our London rivals Chelsea. He went on to play 189 games for the Blues scoring 40 goals in all competitions.

Joey before he played in a Chelsea shirt against West Ham in 2007

He said “I’ve not been back there as a player because I was suspended for the game last season. I’ll probably get some stick, but that’s football. I was skipper at West Ham. I did everything I could for the club. I left under good terms. Obviously we went down, but I was as gutted as everyone else. But when Chelsea come calling, you can’t turn it down. This club has been amazing for me – I owe the people here a lot, I want to repay them.”

One of those goal's was against us at Stamford Bridge when Joe Cole scored the only goal in the 76th minute winning Chelsea the match on 1st December 2007. It was on this one occasion he is alleged to have kissed the Chelsea badge and was photographed jumping into the Chelsea crowd to celebrate against his old club. In his defense many have said West Ham fans were giving him grief and abuse all game while singing the usual song about his sexuality and Frank Lampard's weight. 

What Joe Cole said in 2008 while at Chelsea

“If I was to finish my career at Chelsea, I’d be delighted. I have played well this season and it will be my best for the club if we win something. But the next five to six years will see the best of me. Hopefully, I will play for a long time because I am not someone who relies on pace. I am someone who always puts his heart and soul into every game. I have a great relationship with the fans and it is great to be playing under a manager who really believes in me"

"There’s nowhere else I’d rather be than Chelsea. I’m right where I want to be. I supported the club as a boy and now I am here playing for them. So I am living the dream. I’ve got the chance to chase the biggest prizes in the game and I want to make the most of it by winning as many trophies as I possibly can.”

What Joe Cole said on joining Liverpool in 2010

“I know I have made the right decision and I am looking forward to the challenge. This is a challenge for me. I have played in London all my life. I could have stayed at Chelsea because the fans loved me and I won things, but I wanted to challenge myself and when I knew Liverpool were interested it was a no-brainer because they are the biggest club in the country. This is a massive club. I tried to take everything out of the equation, take the financial and location side out and just thought in football terms"

He played 23 full apperances for Liverpool coming on a sub 17 further times and goaling 5 goals.

Obviously one of those five goals was against us in the recent Liverpool match at the Boleyn when he came on as sub. This time he was mute and refused to celebrate which was good. Maybe a sign of his maturity now he is 31.

After the game he was quoted as saying "I’ve scored a few against West Ham for Chelsea and never celebrated,” he wrongly claimed. “But it’s nice to come back to your former club and win.”

His loan at Lille saw 25 apperances and 5 further goals. 

What Joe Cole said on Joining West Ham in 2013

“It is a great move for me. Coming back here brings back all the memories of the pitches I learnt how to play on. This is where I learnt my trade and I’m happy to have another chance to be here. I’ve always loved West Ham and I hope I can give the club a few memorable seasons. The timing was right for me to come back and I’m happy. I’m back in London and I’m delighted to be here. I want to be here and I want to make an impact. Sam Allardyce didn’t have to sell me the club for me to come back. For me, I have had 18 months at Liverpool where I haven’t played much football and Sam wants to play me. I feel like I owe the club a little bit as well because if it wasn’t for West Ham I wouldn’t be a footballer.”

I was interviewed the day after Joey Cole rejoined us on Sports Tonight TV and this is what I said to Darren Lewis on air.

Despite what I have said above I still hope Joey does very well and proves me wrong. I went to the West ham v Manchester United FA Cup 3rd round game last Saturday. It took him about 20 minutes to get going but he then produced two fantastic crosses to setup both of Ginger Pele's headers to get our goals.

Later on in the second half he was completely knackered and looked like he had cramp. As he said himself it might take 3 or 4 games to get fully match fit.

I applauded him off the pitch like every other West ham fan at the Boleyn that day and also sung the original 'Joey Cole your indestructible always believing' song which has been on loan to Carlton Cole since 2003.

Lets hope I have to eat my words and his second spell is better than his first!

Come on you irons!

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