When I was sixteen years old, I remember reading a magazine article about a young potential star of the future.
He played for West Ham United and was being touted as the next Paul Gascoigne. He was born on November 8, 1981 which was the same day as myself. I couldn’t help but feel bitterly jealous of this young lad with the world at his feet. By the way, his name was Joe Cole. From that point on I monitored his progress and career. I was devastated when he joined Chelsea but we got relegated and ultimately he had to move. Sadly he never really fulfilled his potential and never really became that world star.
Why? A plethora of managers, inconsistent performances, squad rotation, injuries, fand being played out of position. But, most of all he has not felt loved. At Chelsea he was never able to play in his desired role. When he joined Liverpool, I believed it could re-ignite his career but Hodgson was soon sacked and again Cole was left in the dark.
His face didn’t fit with Dalglish and he was sent to France. Brendan Rogers no longer needed him and now he has returned to his true home. I know a lot of Hammers fans are not too sure about the move but you need to look at the bigger picture. Firstly, we have no squad depth so if nothing else we have another squad member. Secondly, we have no creative players. Nobody who can thread a ball through a tight defence. The goal he scored against us Hammers Poet: Gary Steer was brilliant although it annoyed me at the time.
He was a free transfer and I can think of at least three or four of the current squad who are not Premier League standard, so I don’t see any negatives to this move personally. Of course, I am biased but I’m a realist and am very aware that maybe Joe’s best days are behind him but we are only a mediocre top flight club and newly promoted. If you think we have the squad to compete with the top six then you are very wrong. Consolidation is our main objective. He would not be a coup for a top four club but I believe he is for us.
He is a London boy and loves the club. His heart is at Upton Park and I think he will relish being the main man again. He needs to be loved and Big Sam can bring out the best in him. I bet in training he still does things with a football that the rest of the squad can only dream of. Youth team players will stand around in awe of his ball skills. Yes you lose pace and sharpness but you don’t lose your technical ability. Against Manchester United in the FA Cup at home, he was influential and instrumental providing both crosses for James Collins headed goals.
What he is going to bring to our squad is experience and passion and if we stay up the decision will be vindicated. If the fans show him love he will perform. A player who thrives on being centre of attention and running the show. He is not the player who left us but for me, I welcome him with open arms!