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Cole, Joe (2004-2010)


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Joe Cole (2004-2010)

Written by Alan and last updated by Loz October 2010

joe-cole-west-ham.jpgJoe Cole was a firm fan favourite at Stamford Bridge, he grew up supporting the Blues as a boy. He combines flair with commitment and just loves playing football. But his Chelsea career didn't start off in the best fashion and for most of his early Chelsea career he couldn't get a game at all.

From an early age it was clear Joe had an enormous amount of potential. There were rumours that Manchester United were willing to pay £10m for him as a 16 year old. However he stayed at West Ham and won the FA Youth Cup in 1999, beating Coventry 6-1 on aggregate in the final. He made his first team debut for West Ham aged just 17 and became captain at 19. He coped well with the huge amount of responsibility and put in some impressive performances. This was not enough however to save West Ham from relegation in 2003.

joe%20signs%20for%20chelsea.gif In the inevitable fire-sale that followed, Chelsea bought Cole for £6.6m, funded by Roman Abramovich, who had taken control of the club in July 2003. For most of the 2003/2004 season, Cole was a figure on the periphery, struggling to start games. The bulk of his playing time came from the substitutes bench, and Joe managed a measly 3 goals in his debut season for Chelsea. It was clear Claudio Ranieri didn't have much faith in Joe.

joe%20and%20jose%20do%20battle.gif Then, in the summer of 2004, a massive change occurred at Chelsea. A certain Jose Mourinho took over as manager and as they say, the rest is history. Jose was willing to give more playing time to Cole than Ranieri, and was rewarded when Cole fired winners against Birmingham and Liverpool. But the game against Liverpool demonstrated the negative aspect to Cole's game, one that Jose wanted to eradicate. Cole didn't seem to enthusiastic about doing the dirty side of the game, tracking back and tackling, something that is ingrained in Mourinho's footballing philosophy. His criticism of Cole seemed to have the right effect and Cole became one of the first names on the team sheet.

joe%20tackling.gif His goal against Norwich epitomised his development under Mourinho and he ended the season with Premiership and Carling Cup Winners medals. The 2005/2006 season was to be really more of the same for Joe Cole. He scored 11 goals as Chelsea retained the Premiership, with the title sealed with 3-0 thumping of Man U. Cole scored in the match and the goal will live long in the memory of Chelsea fans, it is quite simply one of the best goals scored at Stamford Bridge in terms of skill and quick thinking.

Cole received the ball flanked by Ferdinand and Vidic, and produced a stunning turn that made both of them look like complete fools and then went on to smash the ball past Edwin Van Der Saar. "You got merked!" as Rio Ferdinand would say. Cole also won a place in the PFA Team of the Year for his efforts that season.

joe%20cole%20letting%20fly%20against%20s Cole then went to the World Cup and produced a moment of brilliance at largely uninspiring World Cup for England. The ball came to him 40 yards out and he chested it before firing a dipping volley into the net. Fresh from the World Cup, Cole went back to training with Chelsea in preparation for the new season.

Unfortunately, the 2006/2007 season was set to be one of injuries and time on the sidelines for Cole, who first got injured against LA Galaxy and then had to have an operation on a stress fracture in his foot in December. He made his comeback against Valencia in the home leg of the Champions League Quarter-Final, and then played a key role in Chelsea's 2-1 victory in the away leg as a second half substitute. Cole also scored in the Semi-Final against Liverpool, giving Chelsea a 1-0 lead going into the second leg. However Chelsea went out on penalties after drawing 1-1 on aggregate.

joe%20fa%20cup%20celebrations.gif Cole and Chelsea's season was to finish on a high note with a 1-0 victory over Manchester United in the first FA Cup Final at the new Wembley. Cole was substituted at half time for Arjen Robben, but simply playing again was good enough for Cole, who added an FA Cup winners medal to his two League titles and two Carling Cups won in his time at Stamford Bridge.

Cole started the 2007/08 season out of favour and on the substitutes bench, with Malouda and the initially impressive SWP being preferred. But with the departure of Jose Mourinho, Joe is back in the team under Avram Grant and seems to be playing with much more freedom than under Jose. In the Champions League match against Valencia Cole scored and set up a goal for Drogba with a peach of the pass with the outside of his boot. He scored his second goal of the season in the 6-0 annihilation of Man City, running onto a Drogba flick-on before burying the ball past the keeper.

joe%20scoring%20against%20everton.gif It is clear that Joe is enjoying the freedom he has been granted *nudge nudge* under Avram Grant. Cole added to his goal tally this season by scoring in our 4-0 win over Rosenborg and by netting the only goal in our 1-0 win over West Ham.

Cole's biggest contribution so far this season undoubtedly came when he scored the only goal in our 1-0 Carling Cup Semi-Final, Second Leg tie against Everton. He took down a Malouda long ball and fired it expertly past Tim Howard, sending us into the Carling Cup Final. Inexplicably, he was left out of the starting line-up for our Carling Cup Final defeat to Tottenham. The less said about that game the better.

Cole then preceded to show Grant the folly of his rotational ways and put in some impressive performances, scoring a cracker against West Ham and adding to his tally with a goal against Derby.

He then put in a brilliant performance against Tottenham, scoring two goals and setting up another in our frustrating 4-4 draw.

From then on Cole's performances took a turn for the worst and he failed to recapture his early-season form. However, he was voted Player of the Year by the Chelsea fans in early May and was clearly very chuffed at receiving the award. Cole started the Champions League Final but didn't have much of an impact.

Cole1.gif The 2008/09 season was a tough one for Joe, and indeed the club in general. Things started off well for Cole, he scored the first goal of the Luiz Felipe Scolari era in the 4-0 league win over Portsmouth and also scored in our opening Champions League game with Bordeaux.

Against Aston Villa in October he scored his 3rd goal of the season, and it proved to be his last.

In January he picked up a nasty knee injury in the FA Cup tie with Southend and was out for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery.

2009/10 Update by Loz

The 2009/10 season, although a successful one for the club, brought only limited joy for Joe. He didn’t return from injury until September 2009 and although he did make a total of 39 appearances in all competitions he was rarely anywhere near his best and often looked like a player who was, and possibly always would, struggle to properly get over what was a very serious injury. His season did finish on a high when he scored a stunning back heel to put us one nil up against Manchester United at Old Trafford (a game we went on to win 2-1 and arguably turned the title in our favour) and he came off the bench to pick up an FA Cup winners medal when he secured the domestic double.

However that was the last we would see of Joe in a Chelsea shirt. Contract negotiations had been ongoing for an extended period with Joe rumoured to be after a monster deal as he saw it as his last big deal. The fact that his form had been erratic for an extended period did not put him in a strong bargaining position and the club refused to budge from their original offer rumoured to be in the region of £80k a week. Eventually Chelsea decided enough was enough and decided to release him on a free transfer.

What happened to him after that remains a mystery – I heard a rumour he started playing non league football.

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