It’s no secret that the lads in the top flight of football are earning an absolute fortune, but once they have finished buying women, houses with swimming pools, pedicures for their wives’ Chihuahuas and more women, believe it or not, but they often still have enough left over for some pretty fancy cars. British used car company Autoweb thought it would be fun to look at ten of the most interesting cars owned by footballers. It turns out that Ashley Cole can’t handle more than one woman at the time, hence the two-seater, Messi is saving up for something special, Rooney is as subtle as a brick, Henry isn’t quite mixing with the highflyers and Cristiano Ronaldo is just as flashy off the pitch as he is on it.
Frank Lampard today became Chelsea’s highest ever scorer and dedicated the occasion to his mother who passed away in 2008. After his team mate Ashley Cole congratulated Lampard on Twitter for breaking the record, several people sent abuse to Cole about his private life and about Lampard’s mum. Cole then offered to meet anyone who was sending the abuse at Chelsea’s training ground.
– It’s not just “highly unlikely” that Ferdinand accused Terry of calling him a “black cunt”, but that he did not, because in the brief time that it took Ferdinand to advance up the pitch towards Terry, why would the focus of Ferdinand’s abuse and insults of Terry have changed so quickly from an allegation of an affair, to one involving skin colour, or race.
– Terry and Cole did not hear, and could not have believed, understood or misunderstood Ferdinand to have used the word “black”, or any word(s) that might have suggested that he was accusing Terry of racially abusing him.
– There is no credible basis for Terry’s defence that his use of the words “fucking black cunt” were directed at Ferdinand by way of forceful rejection and/or inquiry. Instead, we are quite satisfied, and find on the balance of probabilities, that the offending words were said by way of insult.
Reasons for commission conclusion
Unnatural verbal response to supposed accusation
– As the Chief Magistrate observed, the words “fucking black cunt” were sandwiched between two admitted insults. Those words were preceded by “fuck off, fuck off”, and followed by “fucking knobhead”. It seems inherently unlikely that if he had been accused by Ferdinand of calling him something that ended with the words “black cunt”, that Terry would have added the word “fucking” when he threw the words back, if he was genuinely doing so by way of forceful denial. It is also inherently improbable, that a denial of such a serious allegation would then be followed by an insulting sexual reference directed at Ferdinand (i.e. “fucking knobhead”).
– His repetition of words that Terry claims were said to him first by Ferdinand is implausible if they were really intended to be a robust denial. A much more likely reaction would have been “I didn’t call you a black cunt”, or at least to have prefaced the words “fucking black cunt” with “are you saying that I called you?”, or something similar. Instead, the words “black cunt” are simply repeated on Terry’s case, with the word “fucking” added at the beginning, and a question-mark at the end to be inferred. A much more plausible and likely explanation is that Terry was angry at Ferdinand’s taunting and provocation of him, at the way the match had gone, and at the way in which it seemed likely to end. The much more likely explanation for what he said is that all of this provoked him into saying “fucking black cunt” as an insult, which is consistent with the fact that insults preceded and followed those words.
Unnatural physical response to supposed accusation
– In the critical phase, during which he uses the words “fucking black cunt”, Terry can be seen to be smiling initially, before his facial expression changes to disdainful and contemptuous. At no point is his demeanour and facial expression that of someone who is imploring, injured, or even quizzical in the face of an unfounded allegation by Ferdinand that Terry had just been racially abusive towards Ferdinand. This was an allegation, apparently, that had never previously been levelled at Terry. Anger is a conceivable reaction to such an accusation, but at no time does Terry convey any sense of “No, I didn’t” with his facial expression, or body language.
– Terry’s anger manifested itself again in what remained of the match. A few minutes later he had an altercation with the QPR goalkeeper, Paddy Kenney during which Terry said: “You fucking cunt, you fucking cheeky cunt”. Those words were accompanied by gestures from Terry, namely puffing out his cheeks out and putting his arms out. This was a reference to another physical characteristic, namely to suggest that Kenney was overweight.
Unnatural post-match response to supposed accusation
– Terry made no attempt to confront Ferdinand when the game ended. Instead, he went to acknowledge the support of the Chelsea fans. If he genuinely believed that he had been the victim of an unjustified accusation of the serious type alleged, it is very surprising that Terry left it for approximately an hour after the match before he requested a meeting with Ferdinand. The Commission cannot speculate as to what may have transpired during that hour or so, apart from the likely realisation on Terry’s part that what he said may well have been caught on camera and be a source of trouble for him. When they did speak after the game, Ferdinand’s unchallenged evidence is that the first thing Terry said to him was “What happened?” This is telling. Without first speaking to Ferdinand, and asking that question, Terry could not have known what Ferdinand heard or knew, and whether he intended to pursue matters further.
New evidence which allowed FA to pursue case after verdict in court and therefore not a contradiction of paragraph 6.8 of FA rules
1. Terry’s untruthful account about his sending off against Barcelona
On 24th April 2012, Terry was sent off during the second leg of the European Champions League semi-final match between Barcelona and Chelsea. Film footage of the match clearly shows that he deliberately ‘kneed’ a Barcelona player, Alexis Sanchez, in the back of his legs when play was elsewhere. The FA rely on comments that Terry is said to have made immediately after he left the field of play, but which he subsequently had to retract. According to a Guardian newspaper report of the same date, Terry told a touchline reporter: “The player checked his run and piled into the back of me. He put his weight on the back foot, that’s why my knee went up.”
Following the match, after viewing video replays of the incident, Terry is reported to have made the following statement:
“I’ve seen the replay and it does look bad. I’m not that type of player to intentionally hurt anyone. I’ve raised my knee which I maybe shouldn’t have done in hindsight. But hopefully people who know me as a person, as a player [know] I’m not that type of player. …”
This shows that the incident involving Ferdinand is not the only time that Terry has been untruthful about what happened on a football pitch.
This incident undermines those of Terry’s character witnesses who suggest that he has preternatural reserves of self-control. His actions in a crucial Champions League semi-final show that he is capable of losing his self-control. It was also a significant lapse of judgment for a player and captain which his post-match statement recognises. Those are matters that are relevant to our overall assessment of his disposition, demeanour and conduct during the critical phase of the match against QPR.
2. Cole’s change in testimony
Ashley Cole‟s evidence has evolved and that the word “black” was introduced retrospectively into the witness statement that he provided to the FA, with a view to bolstering Terry’s claim that the words that Terry spoke to Ferdinand were not said by way of an insult, but as repetition and forceful denial of what Ferdinand had accused him of saying. The FA pointed to an exchange of e-mails that took place between the FA and Chelsea’s Club Secretary, David Barnard, in which requests were made, on behalf of Cole, to amend his witness statements.
The Commission’s view of this new evidence is that it casts considerable doubt over Cole’s claim that he heard, or could have heard, Ferdinand use the word “black” when the latter insulted Terry with words and gestures. The new evidence undermines Cole’s corroboration for Terry’s claim that when he used the words “fucking black cunt”, he did so by way of forceful rejection/inquiry.
On October 28th (five days after the match), Cole was interviewed by the FA. Both Jenni Kennedy (Head of FA Off-Field Regulation) and Adam Sanhaie (her colleague) made handwritten notes of the interview of Cole.
In Kennedy’s notes: Definitely a “B” word – could have been “Bridge”? but I don’t know for sure.
In Sanhaie’s notes: Saw gesture heard “b” word said, but not sure what saying. AF was making gesture re having sex. The gesture was aimed at JT. Think ref was to JT activities – heard “B” word but not sure what the word was. Def “B” word. At same time as made gesture.
The first draft of Cole’s witness statement was sent to Cole by e-mail on November 2nd. The following day, Chelsea’s club secretary, Dave Bernand, replied to this e-mail saying: He wishes to add the words “Black or” before the word “Bridge”.
Kennedy gave oral evidence to the Commission. She was adamant that if the word “black” had been said she would have noted it. Having regard to the context of the interview, it would be very surprising if she had not, and even more surprising if her colleague had also failed to do so.
The Chief Magistrate did not have the interview notes of the FA’s Interviewers and they do not appear in his judgment. Accordingly, that material can and should properly be regarded as cogent new evidence. Had it been before him, the Commission has no doubt that the Chief Magistrate would have examined Cole’s evidence as to what he claims he heard Ferdinand say to Terry on the pitch very carefully indeed, or scrutinised it even more closely than he may have done. Like the Commission, the issues that have arisen would have informed his view as to whether Cole’s evidence was capable of providing reliable corroboration for Terry’s case. On the evidence before us, the Commission has considerable doubts in that regard.
Cole and Terry supported Ferdinand’s claim that he made reference to Terry’s affair with Wayne Bridge’s girlfriend. Cole supports the claim that Ferdinand made a sexual gesture and a “B” word and suggested that the “B” word was Bridge. This is a logical explanation of what Ferdinand was saying.
It is not logical or believable that Ferdinand, whilst making a sexual gesture, would be making an accusation of racial abuse. It is not logical or believable that Terry would presume that in the midst of a conversation about Bridge that Ferdinand suddenly made an accusation of racial abuse.
If Terry genuinely believed that Ferdinand made this accusation, it is not logical that Terry would respond to this accusation with a stream of insults and swear words, and not question Ferdinand for saying this or, more importantly, deny the accusation.
Terry’s defence hinged on his claim that he thought Ferdinand had accused him of calling him a “black cunt”. When Kennedy and Sanhaie interviewed Cole, any reference to the word “black” certainly would have been noted. This is a case about racial abuse so any mention of race would have stood out. Given the context, to suggest that one person missed Cole saying the word “black” is fairly ridiculous, considering how important that word is in this case, but to suggest that two people did is ludicrous. You would have to presume that Cole does not believe Terry is a racist and maybe he even believes Terry’s versions of events, but it is clear that he changed his testimony under the advice of Terry or the club, as a way to strengthen Terry’s defence. If Cole thought it was possible that Ferdinand mouthed the words “black” in Terry’s direction, he would have made this clear in his interview. It doesn’t make sense that Cole would have forgotten that he saw this and it doesn’t make sense that if he did mention it, that both Kennedy and Sanhaie didn’t hear it. His petulant outburst on Twitter fools no one. It’s important to note that, even if this story change had been mentioned in court, the verdict would have been no difference. The only thing this revelation has an impact on is Cole’s reputation.
The chief magistrate deemed that Terry was not guilty because nobody could prove he was lying. That is the way the legal system works and it obviously has to work in that way. Whilst evidence can point you to certain conclusions and those conclusions could be correct 99% of the time, when there is any room for error it clearly would be wrong to convict people without that conclusive evidence.
However, Terry’s story doesn’t make sense and no one in their right mind can accept his version as truth. Several people were drafted in to court to claim that Terry has an incredible amount of self-restraint, that he never reacts to provocation, making it impossible for Terry to have lost his cool and snapped at Loftus Road, despite the fact he received a red card for doing exactly that just a couple of months earlier. His immediate reaction was to lie about what happened on the pitch, until he saw the conclusive video footage which showed he was lying. In the case with Ferdinand, the footage wasn’t conclusive, which is why he was found not guilty, but it should be clear to all that this case falls in the 99% bracket, not the 1%, because of the preposterous nature of Terry’s defence. His explanation for saying the words “black cunt” quite simply doesn’t make any sense, which is why it was easy for the commission to deem him guilty.
Terry called Ferdinand a “black cunt” because he was angry and it was the first insult that came to mind, just like he was angry with Kenny and his weight was the first insult that came to mind. This is the obvious conclusion to be drawn from all the evidence available to the commission.
Some things are more important than football and any Chelsea fan trying to convince themselves that Terry, Cole and their club haven’t behaved badly here should be ashamed of themselves. If Joey Barton replaced Terry and Cole replaced Ferdinand in this scenario, I wonder how many of them would have the same opinions. Likely, none of them. Football is tribal, no doubt, but people need to see the bigger picture on some issues. The fact that Terry and Cole’s names were loudly sung from the stands at Stamford Bridge this weekend suggests that Chelsea fans have no intention of removing their heads from the sand though, and they join the players and the club in showing themselves up.
Read the report in full
John Terry and Ashley Cole have shamed Chelsea and England
Chelsea’s Toxic Twins John Terry and Ashley Cole are an embarrassment to the game and their peers
FA may investigate how the word ‘black’ got into Chelsea star’s statement
In their report, doubt was cast on Ashley Cole’s statement supporting John Terry in his appeal.
After reading the report (or being told what it said), Cole took to Twitter to vent his frustration.
“Hahahahaa, well done #fa I lied did I, #BUNCHOFTWATS”.
Cole did not mention the word ‘black’ in the initial interview with the FA on October 28th but a week later, Chelsea club secretary David Barnard asked the FA for the word ‘black’ to be inserted into Cole’s witness statement, suggesting that Cole may have heard Ferdinand use the term. Terry’s whole defence rested on his claim that he thought Ferdinand accused him of calling him a “black cunt”, meaning Cole’s change in testimony certainly helped Terry’s argument which had been branded “unlikely” in court.
The commission saw an email exchange between the FA and Barnard and said that should be regarded as “cogent new evidence”.
“These highly material issues relating to Mr Cole’s evidence were not addressed by the Chief Magistrate – he clearly did not have the interview notes of the FA’s interviewers, or Mr Barnard’s statement before him – and they do not appear in his judgment.
Accordingly, that material can and should properly be regarded as cogent new evidence.
Had it been before him, the commission has no doubt that the Chief Magistrate would have examined Mr Cole’s evidence as to what he claims he heard Mr Ferdinand say to Mr Terry on the pitch very carefully indeed, or scrutinised it even more closely than he may have done.
All of this causes the commission to have very real concerns about the accuracy of Mr Barnard’s recollections, and the motivation for the assertions that he makes in his witness statement about what Mr Cole said during the FA interview of him, particularly his alleged use of the word ‘black’.”
After John Terry announced his retirement from Internatinoal football when it became apparent that the FA were likely to find him guilty and ban him, you have to wonder whether Cole is also thinking about hanging up on his boots on his England career.
Whilst you might be able to sympathise with the frustration he feels, if you believe he was telling the truth in his statement to the FA, it’s hard to understand what Cole thinks he will achieve by this. Given that Cole took a week to “remember” what he had actually seen, the FA are well within their rights to think that something a bit fishy is going on. They are justified in suggesting that Cole has changed his story after talking to Terry and the club about what his defence would be.
It’s hard to see how Cole could escape a ban/fine but his willingness to be so openly critical of the FA might suggest he doesn’t really care.
September 3rd: Jovetic – “I received important offers in the summer and I thought about what to do but the club promised me that they would build a great team, and that has happened. So many good players have arrived and we can do much better than last season. I decided to stay at Fiorentina and I am very happy. I want to try and win something here.”
September 12th: Jovetic – “When Manchester City came forward with strength, I had already decided to stay in Florence. Am I happy to still be here? Absolutely and I have no regrets.”
September 14th: Fiorentina’s sporting director Daniele Prade - “Jovetic’s buy-out clause? I want to close this issue once and for all. What we will do, will be done in a transparent way. So when there will be news about Jovetic’s contract, we will notify it in an official manner. A pre-arrangement with Manchester City? The Della Valle family (Fiorentina’s owners) has excellent relations with City but there is no preliminary contracts with anyone. Jo-Jo is our player and he will be at least until the end of the season.”
September 30th: Patrick Vieira watched Jovetic in Fiorentina’s 2-1 defeat to Inter Milan.
Robert Lewandowski has been linked with a move from Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United
July 17th: Lewandowski – “The Premier League is a league in which I would like to play and I hope to manage that at some point.”
August 22nd: Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc – “There have been enquiries from several clubs. Our position has not changed since March, Lewandowski still plays at Dortmund.”
September 6th: Lewandowski - “I have two years left on my contract, and this is a long time. I do not need to make a decision today. Not if I am to stay on, not if I am to leave. There is no decision time-limit for me. I do not know what will happen at the end of this season. I do not rule anything out.”
October 3rd: Sir Alex Ferguson and Mike Phelan will attend Manchester City’s Champions League tie against Borussia Dortmund.
Ashley Cole, who has less than a year remaining on his current deal, has been linked with a move from Chelsea to PSG
August 4th: Ancelotti – “The transfer window is over for us. The club did a good job. All the news from England about Cole are just rumours.”
August 5th: Cole – “Contract talks have not stalled just started. £200k? Are you for real? I’d never ask for that. Like I said before don’t listen or always believe what media say they ain’t got a clue.”
October 2nd: PSG manager Carlo Ancelotti on Cole link – “This is normal because a lot of players are linked with Paris St Germain in the market. The newspapers said that 100 players could come here. For this season, we have a very good squad but next year, I don’t know what is going on. Ashley Cole is the best left back in the world at the moment.”
Once a month, Beautifully Red will leave his United bubble and bring you some beautiful GIF moments from some of the best and biggest games around. This time it’s the Community Shield where Man City beat Chelsea 3-2 at Villa Park.
The game was hard fought with plenty of tough tackles and cards but also some moments of great football. Here are my top 5
1. Tevez Flick
Carlos Tevez gets City on the attack with a lovely first time flick pass through to Sergio Aguero
2. Ramires Skill
The Brazilian got a little bit lucky but his first touch to control the ball was class and helped see him get away from the City player.
3. Lampard pass
Stunning first time volleyed pass from Frank Lampard out wide. Gorgeous.
4. Ashley Cole & Juan Mata 1-2
Nice little 1-2 between Cole and Mata, both with delicate little touch passes helps them find space inside their defensive third.
5. Carlos Tevez Goal
Stunning strike from Tevez who runs along the box to find the space to bend the ball into the top corner.
“My heart and soul was tied to Arsenal with a fisherman’s knot. I don’t think even Houdini could have unravelled it. Not for one minute did I see myself leaving. There was only ever one club in England, let alone London, and that was the Arsenal.” – My Defence, Ashley Cole.
Ashley Cole is a boyhood Arsenal fan who realised his dream when signing for them as a teenager. As a 19-year-old, signing a five-year deal at the start of the 2000/2001 season, I wonder if he could ever have envisaged how twisted his relationship with Arsenal would become.
At the end of that season, Cole played 17 games in the Premier League, but was determined to make a go of his Arsenal career.
“It will be difficult to unseat Silvinho at Arsenal because he’s a world class player,” he said. “I have stuck it out because I have supported Arsenal all my life and I am determined to make a success of it there. I want to prove to everyone I’m good enough to play for Arsenal and be the number one choice in a couple of years for England, too.”
Eighteen months later, having become a regular at Arsenal as well becoming England’s first choice left back, Cole was rewarded with another five-year contract. At the end of the season Inter Milan were sniffing around him, with Massimo Moratti confirming the Italian interest in him, but Cole had no interest in leaving.
After Manchester United beat Arsenal to the title by 5 points in 2003, Cole rallied a siege mentality amongst his team mates ahead of their successful FA Cup final against Southampton.
“Seeing pictures of the Manchester United players celebrating with the Premiership trophy really hurt,” he said. “I’ll never get that image out of my mind. Even beating Southampton won’t compensate for that disappointment. I don’t think we’ll get over losing the title until next season starts. Everyone will probably want Southampton to win but we’re not worried about that. We’re used to people wanting Arsenal to lose. It has been like that all season. There have been times when it seemed everyone was after us. If you make a mistake with Arsenal it gets more attention than any other club.”
The following season, Arsenal made amends for their failure to secure the title by not only becoming champions but finishing the season unbeaten. Cole was certain that any player in the world would want to join him in North London and was full of praise for the fans.
“I think if you ask the top players in the world and in the Premier League they would love to play for Arsenal,” Cole said. “Who wouldn’t want to play for Arsenal? We are one of the top clubs in the world and everybody wants to play for us.” Speaking to the fans he said: “You have been amazing and hopefully next year we can do even more for you.”
The following season, Arsenal continued their unbeaten run, until they came to Old Trafford and lost 2-0. Wayne Rooney appeared to dive to win a penalty in the second half, which Ruud van Nistelrooy scored, before Rooney made it 2-0 to end Arsenal’s run. Arsenal fans were livid about the result, particularly because van Nistelrooy was guilty of a poor challenge on Cole that went unpunished.
“It’s only because Ashley is the nicest guy in football, a real gentleman, that he probably wouldn’t want to pursue anything through the courts,” said Cole’s agent, Jonathan Barnett. “We are looking at potential legal action, even criminal action for assault.”
Arsenal fans were pleased to hear that Cole and Cesc Fabregas chucked pizza in the face of Sir Alex Ferguson after the game though, which raised his legendary status amongst the Gooners.
A couple of months later, Real Madrid were linked with the player, but David Dein quickly laughed this off. For the first time, serious question marks were raised over Cole’s long term future at the club, with Barnett claiming that whilst Arsenal were his first choice, they would have to stump up the cash if they wanted to keep him. “Ashley has two-and-a-half years left on his contract and loves Arsenal to bits,” he said. “If they were to come to him with a new contract offer then of course he would be willing to listen. If Arsenal offered him something really good then his first choice would be to stay at the club. He would rather do that than go anywhere else.”
The following day, Arsenal confirmed that contract talks had begun and that they were confident Cole would stay at the club.
“He has been educated here, has grown up here and has become a great player here and wants to stay here,” said Wenger. “So I would be surprised if we can’t find an agreement to extend his contract. We have started talking and I am confident he will stay on.”
And that’s when it all started to go wrong.
The following month, at the end of January 2005, The News Of The World reported that Ashley Cole had met with Chelsea’s chief executive Peter Kenyon and manager Jose Mourinho in bid to secure a move to Arsenal’s rivals. This claim was quickly refuted by his agent though.
“Any suggestion that Ashley Cole has spoken to anyone at Chelsea is total and utter nonsense,” said Barnett. “There is no problem between Ashley and Arsenal. Ashley is extremely happy at Arsenal – he has neither asked nor considered a move.”
Chelsea’s manager, Jose Mourinho, was also quick to lie about the meeting, saying that the link with his club was merely an agent ploy to increase the salary Arsenal were prepared to offer.
“I can tell you that it is not true,” he said. “Every player, who is a really good player, or every agent who wants to improve his player’s situation, is linked with Chelsea. Steven Gerrard, Adriano, Ashley Cole – and next week it will be another one. I have a perfect and wonderful squad and I don’t need any more players this season.”
A few days later, Wenger tried to brush the incident under the carpet, reaffirming his belief that Cole would stay at the club.
“I am 100 percent sure that Ashley Cole will extend his contract, as he is part of the bunch of players who are the core and heart of the team,” he said. “Ashley said he is fed up with that story, he is completely committed to the club and he doesn’t want to know about it. At the moment, it’s all Chelsea hype. I have no doubt about his commitment to the club.”
The following week, the Premier League launched an inquiry to see whether Cole had been tapped up by Chelsea, with Wenger already sure what the verdict would be, saying: “I am convinced that a meeting did take place – although that has not been confirmed.”
“Unsubstantiated accusations have been made against my client, which are totally wrong and incorrect,” said Barnett ahead of the inquiry. “I am happy to confirm, on the record, that the accusations levelled at Ashley are entirely false. Not only that, they are both appalling and offensive.”
Two weeks later, Chelsea were charged, but Cole wasn’t ready to come clean just yet. With Patrick Vieira retiring at the end of the season, Cole threw his name in to the hat as a potential replacement, saying: “I’d love to be captain. I have two years left on my contract here and it goes without saying that I am fully focused and fully committed to this football club.”
At the end of May, Cole won the FA Cup with Arsenal after beating Manchester United on penalties. He was one of the five Arsenal players who scored a penalty but the celebrations were short lived, as he was found guilty, along with Jose Mourinho and Chelsea FC, by the Premier League inquiry. Chelsea were found guilty of breaching Premier League rule K3 regarding unsolicited approaches to players and were fined £300k with a suspended three-point deduction. Mourinho was also found to be in the wrong for contravening rule Q which relates to a manager’s conduct and was fined £200k. Cole was found guilty of breaking rule K5, which governs approaches from players to clubs, after he was alleged to have made his desire for a move known at the meeting on January 27th and was fined £100k. Barnett had his agent’s licence revoked for 18 months, nine of which were suspended, and fined £100,000.
The Premier League statement: “We consider it unacceptable that a player (and agent) should approach another club (their rival) in the Premier League – contrary to FAPL Rules and contrary to the expectations of Arsenal, who were entitled to expect loyalty from a player who they have nurtured from boyhood to a glittering football career. We consider it unacceptable that Chelsea Football Club saw fit to respond to an invitation extended by Pini Zahavi and Jonathan Barnett. Jose Mourinho played a pivotal role in the events leading up to and during the 27 January meeting. He agreed to accompany Peter Kenyon, when he could and should have realised the implications of the secret meeting and declined to go. The presence of the manager was vital because he was the key component in the discussion. Managers are fully aware of their obligations under the rules and he acted in blatant disregard of them.”
Chelsea accepted the verdict whilst Cole and Mourinho launched appeals, both of which were unsuccessful. However, Cole’s contract talks broke down and the left-back confirmed he would be leaving the club for a move abroad.
“If they offer me £100,000 or £200,000 a week now I would not accept it,” he said. “It is not about the money, it is about being treated right. The damage has been done. I love this club but I suspect there are people at this club who do not want me to pull on a Gunners shirt again. I still won’t sign for another Premiership team as I could not see myself playing against Arsenal. I would only want to play abroad.”
Then, completely out of the blue, Cole and Arsenal reached an agreement and he signed a one-year extension on his deal which still had two years remaining. He settled for £70,000 a week. At the beginning of the following season, Arsenal lost 1-0 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, the blues’ first win over Arsenal in the league for ten years. The following week, an upbeat Cole reaffirmed his commitment and after missing out on the captaincy to Thierry Henry, hoped he would wear the armband at some point in his career.
“I’d love to be captain of Arsenal one day,” he said. “I think I am grown up enough now. I show on the pitch how passionate I am about the club.”
At the beginning of October, Cole sustained a stress fracture of the foot and went on to miss the next three months of the season. He came off the bench for Arsenal’s 7-0 win over Middlesbrough in January but then picked up a thigh injury which kept him out until May.
Throughout this time on the sidelines he was linked to other clubs, particularly Real Madrid after Roberto Carlos appeared unsettled, but repeatedly claimed he was committed. With the World Cup on the way, Cole was desperate to prove his fitness and played for the Reserves a few times, which only aggravated his injury.
Cole returned for the last three Premier League games of the season to see Arsenal finish 4th in the table behind Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool. With one eye on the World Cup, he had the small matter of the first European Cup final in Arsenal’s history to get through, with the London club taking on Barcelona at the Stade de France. Arsenal lost 2-1 after Jens Lehmann was sent off early in to the game. Despite scoring first, Arsenal conceded two late goals from Samuel Eto’o and Juliano Belletti.
The investment of £70,000-a-week was a poor one for Arsenal, with him playing just 15 games in all competitions that season. The week after the Champions League final defeat, Cole was asked whether he would remain at Arsenal next season, with Henry having already committed to the club. “Why not?” he said. “I hope so, I’ve said it a hundred times.”
Cole went to Germany with England for the World Cup and played 90 minutes in all of the group stage games to help them finish top. He then played in their 1-0 win over Ecuador in the round of 16 before they lost to Portugal on penalties in the quarter-final, with Cole putting in a great shift against Cristiano Ronaldo.
Throughout this time, unbeknown to the public, Cole had been penning his autobiography, and two months after saying he hoped he’d be at Arsenal next season, he revealed all about his true feelings for Arsenal following their contract talks. The book wasn’t published until September but midway through July The Sun printed the blurb for his book.
Arsenal hung me out to dry, using me as a scapegoat to get back at Chelsea. The board ‘rewarded’ me with an insult and threw years of loyalty back in my face. I’ll reveal the shattering truth about who fed me to the sharks. It changed my view forever on the club I regarded as family.
Less than two weeks later, Arsenal confirmed they had begun talks with Chelsea to negotiate the sale of Cole but it took a further month before the deal was concluded. Cole joined Chelsea in exchange for William Gallas and £5m. After shunning Arsenal’s latest offer, he signed a massive £90,000-a-week deal with the blues.
Then, Cole’s version of events was revealed through his autobiography. He justified his exit by claiming that Arsenal hadn’t made him feel wanted, particularly in comparison to their treatment of Henry.
The club made Thierry feel wanted and special, wooing him, wining and dining him, speaking in public about how much they want him to stay, going on a deliberate charm offensive. But me? I didn’t have one dinner, one meeting or one phone call from anyone. That’s not sour grapes, it’s just a sad truth. The truth is that The Gunners had done nothing all season to hold on to me.
The club initially offered Cole £60,000 a week, only to downgrade their offer to £55,000 a week, much to Cole’s disappointment.
At a board meeting held two days before our 1-0 away defeat at Bolton in January, it was decided the maximum offer should be £55,000 a week. I don’t believe the board gave a damn about keeping me. It preferred to haggle over a difference of £5,000. Somewhere along the A406 North Circular Road, one telephone call changed everything about how I viewed and felt about Arsenal. “Ash! Are you listening?” said a virtually hyperventilating Jonathan. “I’m here in the office and David Dein is saying they aren’t going to give you £60k a week. They’ve agreed £55k and this is their best and final offer. Are you happy with that?” When I heard Jonathan repeat the figure of £55k, I nearly swerved off the road. “He is taking the piss, Jonathan!” I yelled down the phone. I was so incensed. I was trembling with anger. I couldn’t believe what I’d heard. I suppose it all started to fall apart for me from then on.
Having spent the past couple of years talking about what a tight-knit group there was at Arsenal in the press, Cole also laid in to how disjointed the relationships were amongst the squad.
Watching games from the stands gave me a different perspective on matches and I saw too much rubbish being played too often, lazy players who didn’t pull their weight and schoolboy errors. The young guns, in my opinion, were not prepared to listen or learn. I remember feeling how fragmented we’d all become when Robin van Persie spoke up at training about Freddie Ljungberg. ‘He doesn’t talk to me. Why doesn’t he talk to me?’ I couldn’t tell you a thing about Kolo, Eboue, Reyes, Cesc Fabregas or Senderos.
Cole reflected on the post-match reaction of the Arsenal fans when Barcelona beat them in the Champions League final. Cole was upset that Henry’s name was sang but they had no chant for him.
My worst fears were confirmed as Thierry and I sat in the centre circle after the final whistle. His name was sung from the rooftops, while my contribution was recognised by a deafening silence. It was like I was the invisible man.
It is strange to see how hard done by Cole genuinely seems to feel. He thinks the club should have been as desperate to organise his new contract as they were their star striker who only had a year remaining on his deal. He almost crashed his car because they would only pay him £220k a month. After being busted for trying join a rival club behind Arsenal’s back, he can’t work out why it was the name of the captain and all time top scorer that was sung in the Stade de France and not his own. Remarkable.
Cole faced his former club for the first time since the move in December, with the clubs playing a 1-1 draw which saw the left-back booed every time he went near the ball.
“I’m not really bothered any more about the chants and that,” Cole said after the game. “I would like to thank the Chelsea fans, who were amazing.”
Fabregas, who Cole referred to as “an unproven featherweight” in his autobiography, was not impressed.
“For me, Ashley Cole is a closed subject,” he said. “He is not a friend because after leaving Arsenal he said many unjust things about us. In the world of football, respect between companions is the key – and he broke this rule. This player is forgotten – and also the person. I do not want to speak to him again. I believe that Cole was very well treated by Arsenal and that his response was not correct.”
A couple of months later, Arsenal and Chelsea met in the League Cup final, which finished with a victory for the blues. Didier Drogba won the game with five minutes left to play before three players were sent off in injury time for their role in a mass brawl.
The following season, Cole was asked about the reception he was likely to get at the Emirates when facing his former club. Arsenal went on to win the game 1-0 thanks to a goal from former blue William Gallas. Cole was insistent he wasn’t bothered by the reaction of his old fans.
“I am used to it, and I am looking forward to the game,” he said. “I want to go there and play them because I did not get to play there earlier this year. I will go there and front up. I am a grown man. They threw money at me at Stamford Bridge, and that was bad, but I get that every game. I love it. It would be nice to go there and shut some people up. It’s going to be tough though. To be honest, I am really not bothered about the reception I will get, even though I know the crowd will get on my back. I don’t think I have anything to prove to them. They know how good I was when I was with them and what I did for the club. It is not about that. Of course Arsenal still means something to me. I don’t hate the club or the players. I love the club, but it has finished for me there now.”
However, at the end of the game, clearly riled by the Arsenal fans, Cole stuck his fingers up at them which was investigated by the FA.
At the end of the 2008/2009 season, Cole put in a great performance in Chelsea’s 4-1 victory over Arsenal at the Emirates, much to his delight.
“Coming back to my old club, I hate losing against Arsenal so it means I’m more motivated,” he said. “It is always there (the abuse), I expect it now and I am used to it. I just want to play my game and win for Chelsea.”
Chelsea finished 3rd behind United and Liverpool that season, but 11 points clear of Arsenal in 4th place. With Manchester City having become the richest club in the world the summer before, Cole claimed he hoped that City became part of the top 4 at Arsenal’s expense.
“I hope they do really well – and that they finish above Arsenal,” he said. “I think it’s going to be hard for City but they could do it. They may click straight away and it’s magic. I hope they do.”
After watching Manchester United win the title for his first three season at Chelsea, he finally got his hands on the Premier League trophy again in 2010. With Arsenal winning nothing since he left, he claimed this title was his reason for leaving.
“It has been a long time since I won the league,” he said. “It is my first time at Chelsea, I am happy and now hopefully everyone will get off my back and realise why I came here.”
However, that summer, Cole was heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid and he later confessed he had considered leaving.
“It was hard for me in my head,” he said. “It wasn’t just about the football, it was more my brain and it was getting too much for me. There were times when it was really hard. I did think about leaving but, of course, when I spoke to Ancelotti he made it clear he wanted me to stay and loved having me around, and the players didn’t want me to go. I’ve stayed now and I’ve taken the flak and hopefully I’m coming through it. I would love to end my career here.”
Despite finishing 6th in the league, Cole ended 2011-2012 on a high after winning the Champions League and FA Cup. Speaking on the pitch in Munich he said: “Now no one can say nothing to me. This is the reason I came here.”
Cole has since joined Twitter and, as you would expect, receives plenty of abuse from Arsenal fans. Whilst all footballers get their share of stick on there, Gary Neville from Liverpool, Luis Suarez from United, Rio/Anton Ferdinand from Chelsea, and so on, Cole is the only one to be repeatedly riled by this, seemingly responding to Arsenal fans more than he does Chelsea.
Cole’s personal medal collection is up there with some of the most successful English players of all time, so why does he still feel the need to justify himself? Just like Carlos Tevez with his “RIP Fergie” sign, some players just can’t enjoy their success without being pre-occupied with their former clubs. With every league title or European Cup Rio Ferdinand won, did he feel the need to tell Leeds fans this is why he left them for their hated rivals? Everton fans sing about Wayne Rooney dying but he doesn’t refer to them every time he lifts a trophy.
Judging from his inane Twitter ramblings, Cole isn’t the brightest spark, but then neither are Rooney or Ferdinand, yet they aren’t repeatedly embroiled in a war of words with fans of their former clubs. Why can’t he just put his Arsenal past behind him and get on with enjoying the success he’s had at Chelsea?
Fans love having a villain, whether it’s a former player or the best player at a rival club, so the stick Cole gets is to be expected. His reaction to the abuse is not though. Frank Lampard enjoys kissing Chelsea’s badge whenever he faces West Ham, just like Rooney does at Goodison Park, but you never get the impression that the fans of their former clubs really get under their skin. They enjoy having the last laugh and winning the trophies, but they don’t measure their success in relation to their old teams. For whatever reason, Cole just can’t seem to let go of Arsenal, and for all his pleas for them to get over it, now really is the time for him to move on.
The Chief Magistrate asked Cole to stand up but he replied: “I’d prefer to sit.”
“I told my lawyer I didn’t want to get involved,” Cole said. “I know JT and I know Anton.”
Cole is questioned by the defence and talks of the racial abuse he received whilst playing for England and in European away games for his club.
Cole said he sat Terry running back and Ferdinand “making gestures” and “shouting things”. He said he heard “Bridgey” or “Black” followed by “cunt”.
When Cole said “cunt” he spelt it out and the Chief Magistrate told him to just say it. “Don’t be shy”. Cole replied: “I’m not.”
This summer’s players were Robin van Persie and Alex Song and they are the latest of a long line of ex-Arsenal players that the manager was certain would stay.