I am a firm believer in looking forward and producing young, new talents rather than buying past players of the club at the end of there career so that we are a last pay day for them.
However, when I saw that Joe Cole was on his way back to West Ham I was overcome with excitement and memories. Joe Cole to me is up there with the crème de la crème of West Ham greats from the youth academy. He had it all flair, great ability, a superb range of passing and an eye for a goal or two. He could always get the crowd on their feet but not only this, Joe had the world at his. When Cole left for Chelsea I cannot tell you enough how heartbroken I was!
I just knew Cole was going places but with us being relegated, I can see in hindsight that it would have been unfair to keep him. He blossomed at Chelsea to become a first team figure in the ‘Russian Revolution’ and also became an England international and an important one at that. Having said that his move to Liverpool wasn’t so successful which began with him getting sent off in his home debut!
He then struggled to become a first team player which prompted a move to French club Lille, where he made 49 appearances and scored nine goals. His good form for Lille saw Rudi Garcia (Lille Manager) declare his desire to keep Cole with the French Club. His return to Liverpool again saw Cole become a bitpart player which saw his move back to West Ham. The last few years for Joe Cole have been very up and down. I believe that with Cole coming back to the club he loves and a club that loves him, he can relax and just enjoy playing football again which I believe will reflect in his play.
He is a more developed player now than he was when he left the club and has the maturity to become a leader of the squad and help the younger players coming through the ranks as he speaks from personal experience. In his first game against Manchester United, it looked like he was lacking match fitness but nevertheless he displayed quality with two assists and a good overall performance. I have hunted out all of my old West Ham tops with Cole 26 on the back and I will wear them with pleasure at the return of super Joey Cole.