In the summer of 2006 Joe Cole was one of the hottest wingers on the Planet. Having just scored the goal of the tournament in the 2006 World Cup and after stealing the show as Chelsea secured their second consecutive title against Manchester Utd, the sky seemed to be the limit for the tricky winger from Islington.
However injuries, as with so many players seemed to derail what was sure to be a fantastic career. Not that it wasn’t already, as Joe Cole has had a career to match anyone. But there will alway be a question mark of what could have been had he not burnt out so young. Because sadly Joe cole shared extremely similar career fortunes to another member of the side who beat Sweden in 2006. The other player was Michael Owen. Both blazed onto the scene, both won trophies, both were diminutive players with pace, but sadly both also lost their pace quicker than they could say Stoke or Coventry.
Which somehow is where the great player that is Joe Cole has ended up. Coventry.
The decline began with a series of injuries at Chelsea, with his later years being limited to just a few appearances in 2007 and 2009. But he was still a great player. Joe not having the role he once had at chelsea sought a move, and in 2010 he took what seemed a great transfer to Anfield with Liverpool. Promised to spearhead a new generation after the departure on Benitez, Cole’s debut brought a red card, and it set the tone for what would be a frustrating time in Merseyside.
But the man that Pele once described as having the “skill of a brazilian” got a lucky break with a loan to Lille. Few English players go overseas these days, but Cole did something few could do. Not only was he successful but playing in his natural No 10 Joe became one of the players of the season in Ligue 1, qualifying for the Champions League in the process.
Lille saw what has become a rare glimpse of Cole’s clear ability.
Liverpool beckoned expecting his form to continue but after another season of disappointment it seemed there was no return.
Cole went back to his roots and had some respite on a loan with his boyhood club West Ham. But the Hammers faithful who had expected the actions of his youth would have been disappointed, and in truth it was more a spell of sentiment and nostalgia than real success. Aston Villa came next but playing with an ageing squad Cole struggled.
Which brings us to Coventry, and 3 appearances at the Ricoh Arena.
It sounds harsh but it upsets me. Despite being an Arsenal fan since birth I always appreciated Joe Cole. He was exciting, he was passionate, he was rare, particularly for an english player. He was meant to be like Gascoigne and for a while he nearly was, but in the end it has not been the case.
I still pray he gets a break, or Villa take him back to build an emergency team around him.
They are bottom of the league…
Whats the worst that could happen?