Is it time for Arsenal fans to accept that Ashley Cole is a legend?

“Being a boyhood Arsenal fan I was living out a dream, just pulling on the shirt and playing for the first team. Playing in front of amazing fans so close to the Highbury pitch and, for me, one of the most beautiful stadiums. Growing up, all I knew was loving Arsenal.”

Those are the words of, in my opinion, the finest left back I have ever had the privilege to watch, in both The Arsenal, Chelsea and England shirts.

He joined the club on the 20/12/1980 and was at the club until the 2006 season.
His first full appearance was in 1998 and made 228 appearances, scoring nine goals.
He won two PL titles, three FA cups and was such an important part of the legendary Invincibles.
He played in our only CL final to date, when we lost 2-1 to Barcelona.

Interestingly, he and another ex Arsenal player, Nicolas Anelka, are the two players who have won the double with two different PL clubs.

His international career saw him win 107 caps.

I will also mention his Chelsea honours – 1 PL trophy, 4 FA cups and 1 Champions League medal.

What a player this man was and, according to David Dein, not enough was done to keep him at our club, when his contract was due for renewal… as Dein explained money was tight due to the Emirates and the board were really upset that Ashley and Chelsea had met, behind the clubs back, to discuss a move across London – something for which Chelsea were fined for after being found guilty.

Ashley himself accused the board of “hanging him out to dry” in order to get back at Chelsea, who at that time had Abramovich and Mourinho pulling the strings.

After the move, the nickname “Cashley Cole” followed him wherever he went, but his wonderful style of playing in that left back position always silenced the critics, including us Arsenal fans!!

I believe it’s now time to accept that there was wrongdoing on both sides and, especially as he has been chosen to be part of the PL Hall of Fame players, we should welcome back to our club one of our own – the ONLY Invincible not to be shown the love and respect he deserves.

Would you welcome him back, if not why not?

He should be a legend in my book!!



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    1. I think it was the board who lacked ambition Dan.
      I also should have written a “football legend” as I understand some Arsenal fans might not want to use the term.

  1. One of the best left backs ever, yes a legend, just a pity he left like he did having been illegally tapped up by Chelsea.

  2. No KEN i DO NOT regard that “snake” CASHLEY HOLE as a LEGEND . Legends do not diss their club and talk behind their own clubs back with a detested, underhand rival.

    He is a snake, will always remain a snake and never a legend.. There is of course little debate that as a player he was top class.

    But as a person, he was among the lowest class footballers of talent I have ever seen play. And I hope our club never welcomes him back ever again.

    Although SOME WILL but most will agree with my view of him; AS A SLIMY, GREEDY, PIG IGNORANT, SNAKE!

    That Wembley crowd on his hundredth cap knew exactly WHAT he was and booed him for all they were worth . How right they were too.

    1. Glad you took time to run the poll that agreed with your views Jon – was that world wide, only Arsenal fans or those who were on JA at the time of the poll?
      Perhaps you should read Herr Drier’s comments below in order to give you a broader picture, along with David Dein’s version of events… a man I know you admire greatly?

      1. Sws, there’s a massive difference between Cole and Fabregas. One played for the club right up until he left. The other went on strike to force his move to his hometown club !!

  3. Fantastic player? Sure, but a legend? To be a club legend requires more than just being a good player and winning some trophies.
    Arteta was so desperate to join us, he took a 10k a week pay-cut on what should have been his last, biggest contract. Cole left us over 5k a week he felt he was owed, and did so to Chelsea, after sneaking around with that slimy S.O.B Mourinho. The club were idiots to let them get away with it like they did.

    1. Chris, I did say, in reply to Dan’s first post, that it should have read “a football legend”.
      The club did actually report chelsea to the authorities and they were the ones who dealt out the punishment – What could the club had done further?
      I’m not going to try and change your view, as I hold RVP in the same regard, but I do think that there is more to this than just £5000 and our board at the time certainly didn’t pull out all the stops to keep him at the club.
      There is a brilliant interview on sky where Cole talks openly about this and that’s what made me write the article – see if you can find it and, perhaps, it might give you a different angle on the subject.

      1. You problem Ken is thatwhen confronted with definite views that you cannot underestnd or even stomach, you wont let it go
        But you come back time and again, in a completely pointless effort to somehow “persuade” your “opponent” that they are wrong.
        You then ask thrm foir chapter and verse as to EWHY they could possible have a completely different opinion from yours.

        Andeven if they comply, by offering such chapter an verse, you still WONT let it go. Sometimes old son you need the wisdom of the age you are, in allowing other to have different views from you AND to express then as they wish, even if the strength of their words upsets the “budding ,down with the kids, wokester” in you

        No wonder I SEE SO MANY THINGS ENTIRELY DIFFERENT FROM YOU, as I have always been a lifelong defender of free speech

        . In in my younger years, that was often not only in print but in physical action too, to defend vitally important FREE SPEECH”.
        Something , BTW, that Ad PAT does also not understand HOW VITAL it is, if we are to have a free and fully democratic society.

        Of couse if you dont want THAT, then that explains why you are as you are!
        Nothing I say above means that anyone, you, I, or anyone, is or should be denied the right to challenge and question the views of others. That is fine and promotes healthy debate.
        But Ken, it is the sheer LENGTH of your determination to never let if go that frustrates and annoys me.

        I do and often challenge, robustly too, views I FIND REPELLENT.

        But after one, or at most two comebacks, to my “opponent”, I leave it there and decide it is not worth banging my head against a wall in trying to persuade someone round to my own opinion.

        The one exception to that with me, is in OUR many to and fro battles, that are wearying, tiresome, pointless and finally, albeit far too late, I at least, have learned MY lesson and will NOT AGAIN get drawn into so called “hundred year wars”!

        1. So, in reality Jon, I should accept what you say and not ask for clarification or even have the temerity to challenge and then dispute what you say?
          I notice that Chris hasn’t come back at me and I assume that’s because we conversed in a friendly way, accepting each other’s views and didn’t try to belittle said points of views.

          I have no idea what your rant above has to do with the exchange, so I’ll just accept it as another attempt to blow your own trumpet!!

          Now, how about you answer the question I put to you regarding Jorginho in THAT article, as, once again, you seem to be missing in action when actual facts discount your views?

          1. Here you go again KEN! Totally refusing OR unable to accept(as I dont know which of those it truly is) my point of view.
            YES, I write as I THINK.

            That may offend you but that is how I write and if you cannot accept that fact, then you dont need my permission to ignore all my posts and whenever I write my occasional articles. I will not be at all offended. But that is YOUR CHOICE, not mine.

            Lets be clear too that I DO NOT LIVE MY LIFE AT YOUR OR ANYONE ELSES BECK AND CALL, so will send replies to you only when and if it suits me and my busy schedule. I trust that is clear!!

            1. Of course it’s clear Jon – my only observation is that, when your presented with facts that disprove your claims, you suddenly become very busy!!

              Still, I’ll wait for when your to be able to have the time to answer my questions, as I would like to see what your answer is.
              By the way, I hope Sue enjoyed the curry old friend!!

              1. KEN, like you, I am a busy person ands despite both our older ages, I am not ONLY, in life , besotted by AFC but also by MANY other things, unconnected with football.

                In no special order, my Sue, bowls, dogs, cats, chess, politics and humanity in general, singing/acting/directing/reviewing, my church and my religion,cricket, being honourable (which means at times, FIGHTING PASSIONATELY for what I see as being honourable and right).
                I am also keen to impart my wisdom of older age to younger folk, including the drama I still teach in school holidays and privately one to one.

                That takes a lot of time but I STILL somehow manage to come on JA at some time or other almost every day.

                Somehow I doubt your own list of passions- and I HAVE NO IDEA what they are, obviously Arsenal watching and posting aside.- takes as much of your time as mine does for me. Now to Jorginho and if you acse to ask me soon what eve rit was you wisde to know about Joirgingo, I wil TRY to giveyou my answer] Not being as focussed as you are ONLY on AFC, I do remember that it was asked a while before, but in what context and on which thread, I HAVE NO IDEA.

                Up to you old chum if you wish to ask it again. But you will need to spell it out precisely.

                Finally, both Sue and I ENJOYED OUR CURRIES IMMENSELY, so thanks for asking!!

  4. For me, Cole just edges out Kenny Sansom as the best LB I’ve seen play for The Arsenal. He and the club had agreed on his new weekly wage of £60,000 per week, but then the club dropped it by 8.5%. I wonder how many people would have accepted that by their employers ?

    1. Thank you HD for backing up my thoughts.
      Wasn’t it the board who decided to cut back on the agreed contract and THAT’S was when chelsea contacted him?.
      Hope things are well with you.

      1. Yes Ken, it was after the board went back on the agreed deal that Cole and Chelsea met secretly in a hotel. Unbeknown to both parties, a hotel worker was an Arsenal fan and recognised them, and iirc, it was him that spilled the beans.

        He wasn’t the first to go behind the club’s back and talk to another club. A few years ago I listened to an interview with Liam Brady and he said that he met Uli Hoeness of Bayern Munich in January 1980 to talk about a move.

        I’m not to bad thanks, still struggling to walk unaided. Hope all’s well with you.

    2. I am afraid the financial aspect is not fully contextualised. The impact of ~8.5% on a middle income earner on £30000 a year is quite different from a footballer considering ~£55000 a week and declaring it was so awful he nearly crashed his car.
      As for Cole’s behaviour in general, there is a significant amount of detail available about the transfer saga. It is difficult to see how his behaviour can be considered acceptable.

      1. Well David, I’m sure there will be great interest in the details of the transfer saga, so why not tell us?
        If you could also include what happened in the lead up to the involvement of the phone call that, allegedly, nearly caused the accident, that would give a much better picture.
        Thank you in anticipation.

      2. So if you were the best in the world in your profession and offered a wage increase by your employer and then your employer dropped that increase by 8.5% you would be happy and contented ? I certainly wouldn’t.

        1. HD The first thing to say is that what you claim is true about his salary “promise” is unproven and I do not see that as the most likely FULL TRUTH, WHEN SET IN FULL CONTEXT.

          Looking at how CASHLEY LIVED LIFE AT THAT TIME AND HIS CHARACTER, I preferto believe he assumed a conversation with DD meant he would definitely be offered £60k pw instread of the actual offer of £55k pw.. But Dein was an honourable man IMO and AC is not and was not!
          Secondly, even if I accept your version as being true(which I have just explained that I DO NOT) it still meant that AC would receive a new contract offer of an increase from£50k pw to £55k, pw.

          Now to give some CONTEXT to that last sentence of mine, I have ALWAYS thought that ALL Prem salaries for all top players are monstrously obscene, wicked and harmful to fairness and to society, including ALL who follow football at top level, who in one way or another PAY, albeit indirectly, for ALL salaries.

          Any player already earning £50k PER WEEK,back in 2005 remember, who wants and demands still more is completely out of touch with reality and with personal honour.

          And talking behind our clubs back, which was exposed in a Sunday newspaper for the low life scum deceit it was, means AC along with Chelski and their corrupt owner Abramovitch , were thr lowest of SNAKES.

          That is how I SEE IT and I firmly believe many Arsenal fans and decent folk from all waks of life, even those who have NO interest in football at all, are onboard with my view.
          You plainly are not. That is your choice and right and I accept that is your viewpoint.

          Equally. you will not change my mind, which is made up of VITALLY IMPORTANT LIFE PRINCIPLES which I will never violate. I trust we now fully understand one another.

    3. Well HD, speaking entirely personally, if EVER I had been so fortunate to already receive “£50 k, pw simply for doing what I love, instead of , in my case sometimes almost NOTHING at all for weeks of work, I would have thought myself unbelievablylucky and certainly would NOT have tried to screw my employer for EVEN MORE, even while deceiving them by talking behind their backs to prospective higher payers.

      1. Were you ever the best in the world at your profession jf ? Cole was at the time the club offered him £60,000k and then dropped that offer by 8.5%. If anyone screwed anyone, it was the club who screwed Cole !!

        1. SPOT ON HD 🎯
          I’m looking forward to seeing David’s take on this saga, but there is no denying the FACT that what you are describing happened.
          Does that exonerate Cole’s going behind the club’s back?
          Therein lies the next question.

        2. I make that £54900. I think that’s correct, but not rounded up or down. Seems an odd number to settle on. Do you think the suits came up with that figure, or said to Cole we’re knocking 8.5% off Ashley?

  5. His defensive efforts alone to help Chelsea win the Champions League especially in defeating two teams at their peak in Barcelona and Bayern Munich were enough to convince anyone that this was one of the best fullbacks around. Watching those games was an extremely painful experience from an Arsenal fans point of view because I wanted to see Chelsea crushed, but time and time again Ashley Cole was there to save the day. When all is considered there are no valid excuses for allowing this precious talent to get away.

  6. Football legend? Absolutely….. Arsenal legend? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! A club legend would never join your bitter rivals

  7. Ken
    No one can not argue that he was not one of the best LB to have played for us and chelski
    Playing him Henry and pires down the left must have struck fear in to most teams.
    I Don’t blame him for moving across to West London, did at the time but again the board at the time were made up of penny-pinching people.
    What I won’t acknowledge is him being a legend for us.
    Unfortunately his veins run blue. You listen to him and its chelski this and chelski that and we are a second thought.
    I put him in the same category as Frank Stapleton and RVP who again are great players but been infected by manure.
    Funny how RVP only played for them for a short period and you when you listen to him you would have thought he had been playing for manure all his life
    Back to Cole
    Grest player but not a legend in my eyes
    Onwards and upwards

  8. There are usually 2 sides to a story.

    Personally, I think both the club and Cole made the wrong call. However, as an Arsenal lad through and through, it irks me that Cole’s presence at Chelsea brought them success at our expense

    I don’t know what else I can add to that other than a great talent- all those caps for England – yet didn’t finish the best years of his career with us

    1. Sue P
      I do agree with you on the club making the wrong call and getting totally wrong.
      You can argue he made the right call as he went in to win many honours for them
      I disagree with you as mentioned above where he now seems to be more in favour of being a blue nose rather then red and white and not an arsenal lad through and through
      Hence why I believe a great player but not a arsenal legend.
      Maybe some some on here can correct me on that.
      Onwards and upwards

      1. Allanball08
        I worded it all wrong 😔 and you are right
        As an Arsenal lad, would have been a better choice of words and I agree with your assessment of his Chelsea this and that speak. It jars

        1. I did think that was a bit strange coming from yourself as you are normally spot on with your assessments 😃

          1. AB, I think his roots are still at the Arsenal, but chelsea looked after him in a way that we didn’t.

    2. I remember his first game back at Arsenal and he really went through some abuse, although to his credit, he actually took a corner at the North Bank end, where I feared for his safety.

  9. The saddest thing for me was that he actually became even better at Chelsea, particularly in his attacking play. In any case, he was an absolutely brilliant left back for us, and Chelsea.
    I don’t take these things to heart, personally, but I agree with those saying he’s a legend of the game (one of the few times an English player genuinely has been the best, or one of the top few, players in his position imo), but not an arsenal legend because of how he left, and to whom – regardless of whether arsenal management were partly too blame.

  10. I think Chelsea fans would regard him more as legendary than ours, although there’s no denying that he was one of our best ever left left backs, perhaps even the best, but the way that he organised his move to Chelsea turned me against him, and I didn’t like the way he treated Cheryl either.

      1. I remember how he’d go flying up the wing with the ball, sometimes passing Haverty on the way, and being unable to stop, usually ended up among the North Bank or Clock End supporters. If he’d had brakes he might have actually invented the wing-back ten years before Ramsey at the 1966 World Cup.

  11. Ashley Cole did what was good for him and was a great player. As a player he should quite rightly be inducted into the PL Hall of fame.
    However, I expect most fans would baulk at the idea of him being considered an Arsenal legend and in my view quite rightly so.

    1. His exit doesn’t justify him as an Arsenal legend so he is not. But I can’t begrudge him as Epl legend. His contribution in England and considering he was about the best Epl left back.

  12. The worst thing about that deal was we accepted Gallas in exchange and only got £5 million on top. Gallas was average whereas Cole was truly top quality. I think we got mugged into the idea that it would be less of blow to our pride but in reality we were took on a Chelsea reject.

    Cole will always be an immense part of our history as he was the only home grown player in the invincible first XI, call him a legend or traitor but cannot deny the facts.

    1. Gallas was top quality – our defence (sagna-kolo-gallas-clichy) was still
      very good the year he joined. His issues were more to do with his personality than his ability.

      1. Spot on Davi, he was an excellent defender, but had a lousy personality – as Jack Wilshere hinted at when Dan covered his interview with Talksport.

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