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Joe Cole one of the most naturally gifted players Chelsea have ever seen.

Its the news the majority of us have been dreading in recent weeks. Its the news that Redknapp, Wenger, Ferguson and the money men at City...

Jun. 09, 2010 - Sun City, South Africa - epa02193449 England soccer player Joe Cole attends a press conference after his team's training session in Sun City, South Africa, 09 June 2010. Chelsea FC will not renew the contract with Cole. The England team prepares for the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup and will face the USA on June 12.


Its the news the majority of us have been dreading in recent weeks. Its the news that Redknapp, Wenger, Ferguson and the money men at City have been anticipating. One of the most naturally gifted players of our generation at the age of 28 is available on a free transfer and would be welcome at any other club apart from Chelsea, why?

Joe Cole's press conference in South Africa yesterday took on extra significance as a couple of hours beforehand Chelsea decided to release a statement on the club website confirming that Cole will be leaving the club when his contract expires on July 1st.

Cole in his interview when questioned about the situation with the Press Release by the club said:
"I am just focused on the World Cup, I'll leave that with my agent. I just want to get my head down and try and train and play well. My future will sort itself out. It won't distract me. It has been going on for a while and it is a story to be told at another time. I want to try and do my best for England over the next few weeks."

Its the "Story to be told another time" comment that has got everyone thinking that there is more to this one than initially meets the eye. For every Chelsea fan listening to that makes you wonder, but it can't be good whatever has happened and have no doubt, will fill the back pages today and in the coming weeks.

Joe Cole leaves Chelsea after making just 282 appearances in 7 years at the club an average of 40 games per season and he scored 28 goals. You have to remember in those seasons Chelsea have been involved in 50-60 games per season. I have to admit I never realised how many games per season Joe has missed since he has been here. The reason he has missed games is obviously through injury but also because he never really became flavour of the month at different stages of his career under the 6 different managers he has played under.

Joe joined Chelsea after West Ham had been relegated in the summer of 2003 for £6.6m. Joe had made 126 appearances in five years at West Ham scoring 10 goals. Joe shot to fame as a youngster in the famed West Ham academy. He once scored 7 of 8 goals in a single game in the England youth team. Joe had long been touted as the hottest property in English football and comparisions had been made with Paul Gascoigne. It had been reported when he was 16 that Manchester United were looking to pay £10m for him at that time.

Joe Cole became one of the first signings Roman Abramovich endorsed as he took over as owner of Chelsea. Claudio Ranieri signed him as the Chelsea revolution began to take shape. In his first season 2003/4 Joe found it hard to establish his place in the side on a consistant basis as he looked to settle into the club and the squad. He made 50 appearances that season scoring three goals.

The following season Jose Mourinho came to the club and we all know what happened. Joe once again found himself to play a supporting role in the team until injuries forced the hand of Mourinho and Joe began to start more often but everything didn't go all his own way.

It was at Anfield where Joe scored a deflected goal that soon after he would receive a "dressing down" from Jose because he wasn't pulling his weight defensively for the side. Joe was quick as always to listen and take on board the managers feedback and wanted to get out there and prove he was capable.

Cole soon learn't and finished the season with a flourish, Scoring goals and forcing his way into the England side playing on the left hand side. Cole was also named in the PFA Team of the season. He had made 46 appearances scoring 9 goals.

One of the goals that season was fantastic and found its way into the top 10 goals for the season. Joe had ridden two robust challenges in the middle of the pitch and still had the ball at his feet. He stepped forward and with Lampard lurking and ready to pounce Joe struck a left foot shot that flew into the top corner of the net. Keeper had no chance and it was a sign of exactly what Joe could do.

Chelsea won the league for the first time in 50 years at the end of that season along with the Carling Cup, the first medals of Joe's Chelsea career but there were much more to follow.

The following season Joe remained in the starting eleven ahead of Damien Duff and Shawn Wright-Phillips and played an important part as Chelsea retained the Premiership title. During that season Joe had also extended his Chelsea contract for four years. Joe had featured in 46 games that season scoring 11 goals.

There are two goals in that season that showed the class and confidence in his natural ability that Joe has. Joe demonstrated his guile and determination at Highbury against Arsenal. Joe caught Lauren in possession about 35 yards from goal and carried the ball towards the Arsenal box. Senderos backed off to the edge of the area so Joe stepped inside onto his left foot and drilled a shot low down into the left corner of the net. Keeper again and no chance and Chelsea won 2-0. Joe's celebration with the fans that day showed exactly what the goal mean't to us all.

However, that was good but his goal on the last day of the season at home to Man United in a 3-0 win was even better. Have a look for yourselves below.



In the World Cup of 2006 Joe was a regular starter for England. Joe scored one of the goals of the tournament against Sweden.



Unfortunatley for Joe in pre-season the following season, Joe's injury problems began. Injury kept him out of the side until November and shortly after Cole underwent surgery on a stress fracture of his foot. This kept him out of first team action until he made his return in the Champions League quarter final that season. He then played in the 2007 FA Cup final but was substituted at half time as Chelsea beat Manchester United after extra time. He had made only 21 appearances in all competitions scoring 2 goals.

Joe was back fit and raring to go for the 2007/8 season which proved to be one people will always remember. Jose Mourinho left the club in September after a dreadful start to the League campaign and Avram Grant took over. Joe was much more involved this season and played 54 games in all competitions scoring 10 goals including a screamer against Everton at Goodison Park in the League Cup semi final that took us to another final.

Avram Grant decided not to play Joe. We lost to Spurs 2-1 and later the Champions League final. He also didn't make the England Squad for Euro 2008.

Speaking before the start of the next season 2008/9, Joe said:
"I'm itching to get started and I think there's always a chance of redemption in football. There's games on top of games from now on. If you lose 5–0 on a Wednesday you can win 5–0 on a Saturday. So there's always a chance of redemption both with England and Chelsea. We want to be very successful this season with club and country. It's been a long summer with no football and it wasn't easy watching Euro 2008 on telly. But I've had a good break and now I'm itching to get started, get in the thick of it and get playing games again. It's a big season for me because I would probably say I'm close to my peak. I'm only 26 still but I've got a lot of experience now and know the game. I'm getting better every year and hopefully I can continue."

Under "Big Phil" Scolari Joe was selected for the opening game at home to Portsmouth and scored the opening goal in our 4-0 home win. Its was an impressive performance from Joe and from the side. Joe featured in all the games scoring more goals against Bordeaux in the Champions League and Villa in October.

Up until January of 2009 Joe had played 19 games scoring 3 goals. The future seemed bright under Scolari and the team were top of the league and playing well. We all know what happened to Scolari and the side shortly after, but Joe Cole's world came crashing down in a FA Cup game away at Southend.

Joe had suffered a Cruciate Ligament injury to his right knee and the injury mean't Joe would miss the rest of the season which was a blow to Joe personally. The season was an important one for him under his fourth different manager and after wanting to win his England place back after missing Euro 2008 it was devastating for him.

The injury was operated on and Joe had to face the reality of being out of the game for anywhere between 6-8 months. Scolari was sacked shortly after and Guus Hiddink came to the club and rejuvenated everyone. He led the club to a 13 match unbeaten run that led to another FA Cup success. Joe was watching from the stands.

This past season saw another change of manager at the club as Carlo Ancelotti became the sixth different manager Cole was working under in this his seventh season at the club. Joe had continued his rehab during the summer and was working hard to get back to full fitness and be a part of the Chelsea first team again. This was the last season of Joe's contract.

Joe made it back to the bench for the Champions League game early in the season at home to Porto but never came on. He finally made his return to first team action late September at home to QPR in the Carling Cup. He was made Captain by Ancelotti for the game. Joe set up Kalou for the only goal of the game.

Shortly after Joe made his first Premier League appearance of the season in our 5-0 win. Joe played at the top of Ancelotti's 4-Diamond-2 formation and was a major influence in the game.

November 8th and Joe made his 250th appearance for Chelsea coming on as a sub at home to Man United in the 62nd minute for Deco. It was also Joe's 28th birthday. Joe scored the last of Chelsea's goals in our 4-0 win against Wolves but he never appeared on the scoresheet again until the biggest game of the season away at Old Trafford.

On 3rd April 2010 Chelsea travelled to Old Trafford and it was billed as the biggest game of the season. Joe Cole had been given the nod by Ancelotti and started the game and rewarded the managers decision by scoring the first goal in our 2-1 win. Florent Malouda drove into the box and crossed the ball to Joe Cole who with his back to goal and defender tight marking him, showed his class once again and flicked the ball into the net with a drag back that took everyone by surprise to make it 1-0 Chelsea. This wasn't luck it was mean't.  Joe knew what he was doing and it was a goal of quality.

Joe found himself for the majority of the season as a bit part player. He got used to sitting on the subs bench as the form Florent Malouda was in, there was no sign of Ancelotti choosing Joe in his place. Chelsea were bang in form scoring goals for fun and Ancelotti didn't want to make too many changes to the side and why would he?. Salomon Kalou had taken his chance and forced his way into the side before Joe.

Chelsea wrapped up the Premier League title and also the FA Cup in the biggest and most successful season in our history. Joe remained as a substitute and came on in each game but never really was given time to make an impact in games apart from the final League game against Wigan. Joe worked hard to keep the ball alive, won the ball after riding a tackle on the byline and played a perfect cross onto the left foot of Ashley Cole at the far post to volley home and score to make it 8-0.

May 10, 2010 - 05888191 date 09 05 2010 Copyright imago Paul Marriott Pic Paul Marriott Chelsea v Wigan Athletic 09 05 10 Joe Cole Celebrates with The Premier League Trophy PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK men Football tight Premier League 2009 2010 English Master Champion ceremony Championship Celebrations Objects Vdig 2010 vertical Highlight premiumd.


Joe had featured in 38 games and scored 2 goals this past season. He had won this third Premier League Title and second FA Cup to go with the League Cup winners medals he already had.

Joe of course by not starting regularly was worried about his England prospects and making the World Cup squad for this summers tournament in South Africa. Fabio Capello named Joe in his provisional 30 man squad for two warm up games but he never played any part of them. The signs didn't look good for Joe but as usual with Joe he got his head down and worked hard to prove his fitness to the England medical staff but also to impress Capello.

Joe was rewarded last week when he was given the nod to be a part of the official 23 man squad that boarded the plane to Rustenburg. Joe played the full 90 minutes in their final warm up game the other day and scored the second of Englands three goals. Joe looked as though he has cemented his place in the starting eleven once more.

Then came the news yesterday and in my opinion its a massive loss to Chelsea as a club and our supporters. The song goes "He's here!, he's there!, he's every f___ing where!, Joey Cole, Joey Cole!" and that will always be the best way to describe Joe. He will work hard and work his socks off in every game that he plays. He will give 100% given the chance. He can change the game in an instant but he needs games to get back match fit and prove what he is capable of.

This season the cup game at home to Cardiff was the first time I have sat there, watched Joe throughout the game from the West Stand and thought "They've got to take him off at half-time". Everything he tried that day simply didn't work, every trick he tried didn't come off and he looked a defeated, deflated man.

You can say that Ancelotti hasn't seen the best of Joe Cole. He hasn't seen what he can do or what he is capable of. Then again you have to remember he see's Joe in training day in and day out so must of had some idea. He did say to his credit (although through Assistant Ray Wilkins) that he wanted him to stay. Maybe he didn't fancy him or maybe as I have posted on here in the last few days, maybe the excellent form of Malouda has come at the wrong time for Joe and that has signalled the end of his Chelsea career?.

Chelsea fans I have been speaking to and getting feedback from are split in their opinions of Joe. Some think we should of kept him, some feel that his time has come and his time at the club has run its course. I am of the opinion that we should of kept Joe but referring back to the beginning of this post, something has happened behind the scenes and it will fill the back pages at some stage. Only then will we find out the real reason Joe has left the club.

For now Joe Cole looks to concentrate on England performing in the World Cup with what is likely to be his first game (if selected) against the USA on Saturday. Its a chance for Joe to shine and put himself right in the shop window (something we couldn't even contemplate back in August) and good luck to him. We all wish him well for the future.

One of the most naturally gifted and talented players of our generation is leaving Chelsea for nothing. He would of loved to have played more games, scored more goals and given us many more memories than those we already hold so dear to our hearts. One thing is for sure no matter what, he will always receive a hero's welcome at Stamford Bridge and wherever we see him play.

Joe is a Chelsea fan like you and me. We love you Joe and thanks for the seven great years you have given us. Now to you Chelsea reading this, sing it in your heads just one more time.......

"He's here! He's there!, He's every fucking where! Joey Cole!, Joey Cole!!"

Jan. 27, 2010 - United Kingdom - Football - Chelsea v Birmingham City Barclays Premier League - Stamford Bridge - 27/1/10..Chelsea's Joe Cole.


CAREFREE & KTBFFH!

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