Whisper It Quietly …….. Cole Was 100 Per Cent Correct by Dan Smith
They say the truth hurts ….
Ashley Cole leaving us in 2006 was like an ex saying they don’t love you anymore. Your friends and family say they will regret it, that one day they will look back at this moment as the biggest mistake of their life.
In reality Ashley Cole has little regrets about his move to Chelsea (apart from the relationship he now has with Gooners). The left back went on to win another Premier League, a League Cup, 4 more FA Cups and the Champions League at Stamford Bridge. In that same period, we won 3 FA Cups.
The perception was he joined our London rivals based on greed (hence the word Cashley) but he maintains his motivation was based on Football. While you’re never going to replace a Tony Adams, Keown, Dixon, Viera, etc, the full back felt the mood in training, that desire, the will to win, was changing.
Cole’s final game as a Gunner was the European Cup Final , his captain was Thierry Henry and youngsters included the likes of Fabregas and Van Persie, so it would be wrong to say we lacked talent in the squad but Cole (and we heard this before) felt that standards were not what they once were. He would have had enough cojones at this point to approach Arsene Wenger over transfer targets and the overall vision for the future.
14 years later was he wrong to pick Abramovich over us? How many of us in that time have spoken about our lack of ambition? About how Stan Kroenke would tolerate the bare minimum, to the point that expectations were slowly changed?
We went on to be challenging for titles, but lacking mentality, to accepting just finishing 4th, selling our best talent to a competitor, to now getting so much TV revenue it doesn’t matter to our owner where we finish.
Cole’s appearance on Match Of The Day was a rare interview from a man who has long refused to talk to the media.
He blames the press for what he feels have been negative headlines about him over the years, meaning he’s never had the PR image of a Gerrard or Lampard as rookie managers, or a Neville, Scholes and Rio as pundits.
The irony being that out of England’s so called ‘golden generation’, he was the one World Class player who you could say that he was consistent at World Cups and Euros.
Cole and Chelsea were fined for how they went about his transfer, but Cole has always maintained there were those in power behind the scenes at Arsenal who equally were not innocent, and were happy for secret meetings to take place because they wanted the money. He felt the club he grew up with at no point fought for him to extend his deal compared to say a Henry.
In 2006 I wouldn’t have believed our club would want to cash in on the best in the world in that position, especially helping the Champions. Over a decade later, having heard comments from the likes of Sagna and Van Persie, yeah, I can believe they prioritized money over what was best for the team.
We were about to move to the Emirates where we would have to raise an amount each summer to pay off stadium debt.
So, do I think the same club who wanted Adebayor to go to Man City, or wouldn’t offer a contract to our top scorer (Van Persie) would rather lower the wage bill instead of giving a pay rise? 100 percent yes!
Like the ex who left you, time heals, and you can find it in yourself to be happy for what he or she has achieved. Your never forget, but equally you remember the happy memories and can never say he or she was bad.
I thought we would grow old with Cole. He should have been the face of the new Arsenal, our captain Marvel, the man to lead that next generation and teach them the values and ethos of the club.
Not just was he the best in the Universe at his job but he predicted our fall from grace.
‘Something didn’t feel right.’ he said, ‘Holes were not being filled.’
‘That will to win wasn’t there’
14 years later and we are still waiting for that will to return…