By Tony Attwood
Andrew Alexander “Andy” Cole was George Graham’s greatest mistake.
He was born on 15 October 1971 in Nottingham and signed for Arsenal in October 1989. Just a look at his chart of appearances shows where Arsenal in general, and Graham in particular, went wrong.
|Years||Team||Lge Apps||Leg Goals|
|2007||Birmingham City loan||5||1|
He did play in the 1991 FA Charity Shield on 10 August 1991 game, and made his one and only league appearance as a substitute in the 4-1 win at home to Sheffield United on 29 December 1990.
He moved to Bristol City for £500,000 in July 1992 after a loan spell and then moved up to the top league joining Newcastle United for £1,750,000 in March 1993.
By January 1995 he was sold to Manchester United for £7,000,000 and gained 15 England caps before joining Blackburn Rovers for £7,500,000 in December 2001.
As a result of his travels and games he is recorded as the second-highest goalscorer in Premier League history with 187 Premier League goals. He won Young Player of the Year and won the Champions League. And Arsenal let him go.
Reading the background on Andy Cole (which is sadly mostly about Manchester United of course) I found a couple of elements from his private life which I’d like to include – simply because I had heard the tales and not the real story. I include these both for the resolution, not the tittle tattle.
In 2008, he was arrested and released on bail over an assault on his wife. That’s the bit that I remembered. What I had not realised was that six months later he won damages against Express Newspapers for defamation over the reporting of the story.
The other snippet of nonsense I recall related to him changing his name from Andy to Andrew. He has stated that a reporter asked him what his parents called him, to which he replied “Andrew”. Apparently then the media suggested he was demanding to be called Andrew. Far more trivial than the earlier incident, but a sign of the world we live in.