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Joe Cole’s career in full: Quotes from West Ham, Chelsea and Liverpool

November 18th 1999: Harry Redknapp, West Ham manager

“He is an exciting young lad and I would love to see him go right to the top. He could have gone anywhere as a lad – Manchester United, Arsenal‚ every club in the land wanted him but he chose West Ham and now we are talking about a new contract to show our commitment to him.”

September 29th 2000: Redknapp

“There was a spell when he was going off to spend time with all the other clubs. Alex Ferguson loved him – he was desperate to sign him. Joe told us he was off to Man United for a few days, and I had some sleepless nights. But his dad always told me not to worry – Joe loved West Ham and he would be back.”

October 22nd 2000: Joe Cole (18-years-old)

“My biggest fear is not fulfilling my potential. Everyone’s got an opinion on how far I can go – but I know what I am going to do. I know what I can achieve, but I don’t want to tell anyone. It’s in my head and I am keeping it to myself. As long as I can fulfil that, I’ll be happy. Everybody’s got a view on me. Ever since I joined West Ham big things have been expected from me. But players are built up and then knocked down, I’m sure I’ll have a lean spell at some time.”

April 11th 2001: Cole (19-years-old)

“I have had a chat with the boss and he knows I was not happy. I never like being dropped, even if it is just for one game. I know I’ve been playing below par, but so has 90 percent of the team.”

June 9th 2002: Cole (20-years-old)

“I agree with people who say I should be playing at the highest level in club football. And sooner or later I’m going to want to play in competitions like the Champions League.”

September 24th 2002: Cole (20-years-old)

“For as long as West Ham want me, I’m there to give them 100 percent. I’m more than happy at the club regardless of where we are in the table. No West Ham fan is hurting more than me at this situation. We are struggling so badly but we are trying so hard.”

December 9th 2002: Cole (21-years-old)

“It was the proudest day of my life. It is a great honour for me to be captain. The gaffer told me on the coach, and just said ‘you have got the respect of the lads and have been working hard, so you deserve it’. So I did it and thoroughly enjoyed it, even though I am disappointed we didn’t win.”

August 6th 2003: Claudio Ranieri

“Without Gianfranco, I need a player who can dribble – and I think Joe Cole is that kind of player. In my opinion, he can play in any midfield position from the left to the right, or behind the front two. He’s not signed yet but I hope he arrives. He’s fantastic one-on-one. He’s very clever and passes the ball very well. I like him when a match is close. He can dribble, pass and score a goal. He’s strong and an Englishman. When I arrived, I said I’d like a blend of young English players and experienced players. Slowly, slowly, that way is possible.”

August 7th 2003: Cole (21-years-old)

“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, and there are great things going on at this club. I would like to thank West Ham for everything they have done for me.”

August 10th 2003: Cole (21-years-old)

“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.”

November 1st 2003: Cole (21-years-old)

“There is no way I want to leave Chelsea because it is such an exciting place to be. West Ham are a club still very close to my heart and I still hold a great deal of affection for the supporters but I am fully focused on cementing my place in the Chelsea team. I have only just scored my first goal for the club and am determined to repay the faith Claudio Ranieri has shown in me. He has been fantastic with me and I trust him to look after my career.”

February 15th 2004: Cole (22-years-old)

“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. United even invited me down to the FA Cup final to meet the team. It would have been a great day out but I didn’t want to lead them astray and make them think I was going to sign. So 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.”

May 19th 2004: David Moyes, Everton manager

“He is one of several players I’m interested in bringing in on loan as this may be the market we have to work in. We certainly need midfield players but I also feel that we need strengthening defensively and possibly another forward if the right one becomes available.”

August 23rd 2004: Cole (22-years-old)

“The manager told me to try and keep the ball for us, slow it down and if I had the chance to go one-on-one to take it. When I look in to the manager’s eyes I can see he has faith in me and at times before I have not felt that. I trust the manager and would like to get a run of games and play in my position which I haven’t done so far in my career.”

September 22nd 2004: Cole (22-years-old)

“It’s [Champions League] everything I’ve dreamed of and is really what I play football for. Hopefully Chelsea will be in it year after year and that I am here for the rest of my career. If I look back on last season it was a learning curve for me but at the time it was frustrating that I didn’t play more. All footballers want to play but I think I came out of it a better person and a better player. I am reaping the benefits of it this season. With a new boss there is a clean slate and we’re all on the same level.”

October 4th 2004: Jose Mourinho, Chelsea manager

“Joe scored a very important goal – he gave us dynamism when he came on. But after he scored his game finished. I needed 11 players to work for he team and I only had ten. If he wants to be a regular for England he needs to improve and be part of the team’s defensive organisation. He needs to make an impact on me – not the crowd. Joe has two faces, one is beautiful and one that I don’t like. But I can improve him, and he wants to learn.”

March 28th 2005: Mourinho

“I gave him a little help but his ambition was the engine of the process. If Joe is succeeding now it is because he was always open to be criticised, always open to be helped, always open to try to improve. He never gave up when the chances were not going in so he deserves everything that is happening for him. He must also thank some of the players he has around him, like John Terry and Frank Lampard, players who have had a good influence on him.”

April 12th 2005: Cole (23-years-old)

“It certainly crossed my mind maybe I wasn’t going to make it at Chelsea and I might have to move on. I didn’t want to go because I’ve always been very happy at this club. But you have to look after your career, I wasn’t getting the chances I felt I deserved. There were a lot of frustrating times last season when I’d be sitting on the bench and thinking I could be out there contributing. There was interest from other clubs but I decided to stay and it was the right choice.”

September 20th 2005: Cole (23-years-old)

“The club have got to find a way of filling the ground. The normal fan cannot afford the prices. We have to attract a new generation of fans to come to Stamford Bridge.”

November 29th 2005: Cole (24-years-old)

“There are some players in this country who are divers but I’m not one of them. I would never dive. It was frustrating for me to be accused of diving because we’ve not had many dribbling players in this country for a few years. Sometimes you run at such high speed that if you get clipped you go flying. It can look like a dive but that’s misleading because it’s never intentional.”

February 16th 2006: Pele

“The Number 10 for Chelsea, Joe Cole, is a very good player and when I saw him against Charlton he was excellent in the first half. He has the skills of a Brazilian but he needs to learn when to show the skills and when to play the simple game. In the second half, when the game was very close, he kept losing the ball because he was trying too hard and Chelsea nearly lost the game. The tricks are fine at 3-0 or 4-0 but not at 0-0 or 1-1. That’s why Ronaldinho is so good – he knows when to do the tricks and when to keep it simple. When I was playing and it was 0-0 we would keep the ball and pass it around.”

March 19th 2006: Sven Goran Eriksson, England manager

“He is the most improved England player of the last year. That is why I would vote for him if I had the chance. Joe has been in every squad that I have picked if fit. That’s because I believe in him and the ability he has. Even when he wanted to do too many tricks in the wrong places and at the wrong time, I’ve always persevered.”

June 12th 2006: Cole (24-years-old)

“There is no way I wanted to leave Chelsea. I’ve talked to Peter Kenyon and I believe we want the same things for Chelsea. It has not been about money. That part of the contract was done a while back. There were a few things to be sorted out and I am glad it’s been sorted out before the World Cup. I was hoping it would be sorted before the World Cup so there are no distractions for one of the most important times of my career so far.”

April 18th 2007: Cole (25-years-old)

“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.”

November 18th 2007: Cole (26-years-old)

“A new manager has come in with new ideas, new coaches and a new way of playing and I’m really enjoying it. It takes time to adapt but I’ve tried to take on board everything he’s said to me. He wants me to play in a different style and he wants the team to play a more expansive game of football. He wants to get more out of the wingers. There’s a lot more to come from me. I still have to get into top gear this season, though. I’m just simmering.”

April 17th 2008: Cole (26-years-old)

“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. I think we have to set our sights high. The way the club is at the moment, anything is possible and we shouldn’t just be looking to win a league title here and a league title there and maybe one Champions League. With the players we have, we should be looking to win the Champions League on a regular basis and many championships.”

May 19th 2008: Cole (26-years-old)

“Michael and I have had some ups and downs playing together. But we’ve come a long way since that season (relegation in 2003) at West Ham. Michael’s been fantastic this season and, for me, he’s been one of Man United’s best players. Apart from Ronaldo, he’s been their player of the year. I speak to a lot of people up there and he probably doesn’t get the credit he deserves. The United lads know I love them – but Wednesday night will be a war! But whoever wins, wins and it’s difficult because you can’t have banter about it because we meet up with England two days later and you have to be dignified in defeat. You can’t go running round with a Champions League winner’s medal round your neck at the England team hotel, either. We’ve had a little word about it and promised we wouldn’t.”

July 10th 2008: Cole (26-years-old)

“I’m getting a good vibe from him [Scolari]. It is early days but he seems very approachable and has a huge football pedigree. I’m really excited to play for him, I’m chomping at the bit to get fit and out there. The way he sets his teams up, I’ve been waiting for it my entire career – a manager who wants to play the right way. I’m nearly 27 now, and have been waiting for someone like him to come along. He already has the respect of the boys and has settled in nicely. I think it’s going to be happy days for everyone.”

September 21st 2008: Cole (26-years-old)

“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.”

November 30th 2008: Cole (27-years-old)

“In fairness to Arsenal, they are playing nice football but look at the past four years and who’s won the trophies? They are fantastic to watch but I wouldn’t want to be playing for a team that didn’t win anything. Winning trophies is what counts. You are not going to be sitting on the beach in the summer at the end of the season speaking about that Cruyff turn you did back in December, or that nutmeg you did in January, are you? What’s the point in that? You want to be thinking about winning trophies. That’s what it’s all about. We want to put some silverware on the table this year. And that’s what we intend to do.”

May 15th 2009: Cole (27-years-old)

“He’s [Hiddink] been a breath of fresh air for this club. It’s only now really since he’s come in that people stop talking about Mr Mourinho. Under the past regime there were a lot of unhappy players so he’s come in, he’s got everyone on the same page. We’re all fighting. I’m gutted I can’t work with him because you see the lads coming in from training with big smiles on their faces. They are enjoying their football. We’re winning games. I’d love to have worked with him.”

October 27th 2009: Cole (27-years-old)

“We’re talking at the moment about the future and we all agree what we want. I love it here. The club want me to stay, so there should be no problems. I feel like this is my home.”

December 6th 2009: Cole (28-years-old)

“If you look at the two titles we won at Chelsea, it was too early for the club. Everybody took their foot off the gas while Manchester United got better. We won’t make the same mistake again. We still won trophies, got to the Champions League final and finished second in the league twice, but it has to be first or nothing for a club like Chelsea. If you’re not winning you are not happy. I don’t care who else wins it, I don’t begrudge anyone else success and United are a fantastic club – but we need to be winning the league four times out of five. With the money we have spent, the players in our squad, the ambition we have and the support we enjoy, it has to be the aim.”

May 11th 2010: Ron Gourlay, Chelsea chief executive

“We will sit down and talk to Joe Cole at the end of the season, and he knows that. We will do that with a number of players, but when it comes down to salaries you have to draw the line somewhere. Every time we push the wage levels up higher we have somebody else knocking at the door,” he continued without naming Cole. We’ve got to make a mark in the sand at some point.”

June 28th 2010: Cole (28-years-old)

“I want to get my future sorted as quickly as possible. My season for Chelsea wasn’t great for what I believe were political reasons rather than footballing reasons. Carlo Ancelotti, I love him, I’ve got big respect for him. I don’t want to go on into it now. It isn’t the time. It is not financial and it is nothing to do with Carlo. I think he is a top guy and a top manager. I loved my time at Chelsea, I love the fans but it is a story for another day and I will tell it but now is not the time.”

July 19th 2010: Carlo Ancelotti, Chelsea manager

“The problem was economic. It was a problem between the club and Joe Cole, not me. We spoke about this but when the problem is with money, it is not my problem.”

July 20th 2010: Jamie Carragher

“It’s great news and it is a message that Liverpool mean business. We have signed a top international player who has been really important for Chelsea. A lot of clubs wanted to sign him but it is a real coup that he has chosen to come here and you have got to give the manager and the board a pat on the back for convincing him to come here. Every supporter that I have spoken to is absolutely delighted and all the players are the same – it’s given everyone a boost, just at the right time. The fact we have got him has given everyone a boost around the city.”

July 20th 2010: Roy Hodgson, Liverpool manager

“Obviously he is going to be a high wage earner because he is a free transfer – he was at his previous club – and he would be worth a lot of money on the transfer market. We wanted to make it clear that we wanted him for football reasons and only if he fitted in with our wage structure. I’m pleased to say that Joe has chosen Liverpool to come and play football – and not because of the money.”

July 21st 2010: Cole (28-years-old)

“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. I thought about the semi-final of the Champions League in 2005 when I ran onto the field and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I was thinking about playing in that atmosphere every week and that swung it for me. That’s the thing I am looking forward to. You talk to Liverpool players and talk about the European nights. I experienced it as an opponent and it was immense. To go out there and play in that atmosphere every week will be phenomenal.”

August 10th 2010: Steven Gerrard

“Messi can do some amazing things, but anything he can do Joe can do as well, if not better. He used to shock us in training by doing footy tricks with a golf ball that most players can’t even do with a football. I really fancy Joe for the [player of the year] award this season.”

September 18th 2010: Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United manager

“We were approached by Joe Cole’s agent at one point, but we didn’t enter into it at all. It was complicated to get involved in that.”

September 18th 2010: Cole (28-years-old)

“I’ve known Steven since I was 17 or 18 and I obviously trained and played with him for England for 10 years so I know what he’s all about. But when you see him in a Liverpool shirt he’s even better. A player like him deserves to win the championship. I know that’s what he wants over the next four to five years at the club. He’s a fantastic player and if he plays well the team plays well and it’s up to me now to assist him and try to help the club move on.”

December 2nd 2010: Hodgson

“He isn’t a naturally confident character. He suffers when things are not going his way. Everyone at the club has worked hard to make sure he doesn’t take it too hard and take too much on himself, because he’s quite happy to take responsibility. I am always wary of answering about people’s mental state. It’s difficult enough to judge them physically. But one thing is certain is that Joe’s desperate to show what he can do.”

February 23rd 2011: Cole (29-years-old)

“It’s not gone how I would have liked, but that’s life. Things like that happen and you’ve just got to push on through the difficult times. I’ve had plenty of good times in my career and I’ve had my share of difficult times, and I’ll always come through. I’m determined to be a success here. I’m working hard every day. The main thing is the club – it’s all about Liverpool. I’m pleased it (the team’s form) has turned around and we’re going in the right direction, and if Liverpool can keep going there, I’d love to be part of it.”

March 30th 2011: Cole (29-years-old)

“I’m privileged to play for Liverpool Football Club and privileged to be a professional footballer. The best thing you can do as a player is make sure that you don’t take that for granted every day because it’s a great lifestyle. There is nothing you would want to change.”

August 31st 2011: Cole (29-years-old)

“I wanted a challenge from abroad. Lille is a beautiful club, a family club that plays well. I like intelligence in football. It will be an interesting experience for me. I think I’m going in the right direction. I’m here to help Lille by bringing my experience and the quality to win many trophies.”

October 2nd 2011: Cole (29-years-old)

“I could join Lille permanently. Lille have quality players and there’s an unbeatable mood in the dressing room. I benefit from it every day and I am enjoying myself. There is a superb team spirit at the club. I love playing here.”

April 19th 2012: Cole (30-years-old)

“I’ve not spoken to anyone at Liverpool. I’m expecting a call from them. I would like to stay here, but it’s still too early to say. Let’s see how Lille finish the season. I am happy here, my family too. I was well received and I love this team. But it’s not me who decides. We need to see what the board decides. The financial issue is important, but money is not the priority for me. I enjoy being on the pitch and that’s the main thing.”

July 6th 2012: Cole (30-years-old)

“I don’t want to leave Liverpool one day having not been a success here or having left something here. I want to make an imprint at the club. I’ve been a success at West Ham, Chelsea and Lille – I don’t want people to be able to say that I haven’t here. I’d like to be given the opportunity to play, learn and improve, and join this great team. It’s a great group and I would like to be involved in this team and really push on. I’m delighted to be back. It does feel different this time – it feels like it’s ready to go. I came here for one reason – because I wanted to be a part of the resurgence of this club. It excited me coming here because I knew what a big club it was with a rich history and I wanted to be part of something. I still do. The fire still burns in me to be a part of it – I want to be part of this club moving in the right direction.”

January 4th 2013: Cole (31-years-old)

“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.”

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