Many West Ham fans had mixed feelings when they heard Joe Cole could potentially be heading back to the Boleyn Ground.
I for one was excited with the prospect of my childhood hero gracing the hallowed turf. again, but this time back in the home dressing room. When I was a child, I remember sitting for hours mesmerised with the skill and quality watching Joe Cole play alongside the likes of Paolo Di Canio and Trevor Sinclair. He was unbelievably talented like I had never seen before in a player. I remember being heartbroken when Cole left us in 2003 for one of our biggest rivals, Chelsea for £6.6m.
Even though we were recently relegated that was an embarrassing figure for a top player heading into the peak of his career. Another one of our homegrown players through ‘The Academy of football’ that was being sold on the cheap to help keep the club afloat. Making his first team appearance aged just 17 in 1999, we could all see what a special player Cole was whether you were a West Ham fan or not. His talent was unmistakable. A bit of a ‘trickster’ Cole was mostly a play maker and made thing happen. Definitely one for the future, even Sir Alex Ferguson saw his potential when Cole was 16, and tried to sign him for £10m, an offer Cole turned down to stay and pursue a career with his boyhood club.
However, moving to Chelsea, they clearly had Cole during the best time of his career, winning three Premier League titles and two FA cups. But then with him moving to Liverpool, Cole could never seem to break into the starting line up and stay there. I cannot help but think of his lack of being in the starting line-up being a major reason why Cole has chosen to come back to West Ham on an 18 month contract. Or has he, as everyone keeps saying, come back because he believes there is unfinished business and he has something to prove?
I really hope the latter is his reasons. We all know Cole loves pulling on the claret and blue and for him to come back 10 years later and do the process again, I think he brings quality, leadership and experience to so many players at West Ham. I am looking forward to the prospect of a central midfield partnership of Cole with Mark Noble. The central midfield would be the envy of any top club and but most importantly it would be ours to enjoy.