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Exclusive by Oliver Kay

Andrew Cole today announces his retirement to The Times. A miserable November day, in an upstairs room at the offices of his management company, was not the time nor the place that one of the best centre forwards of his generation had hoped to call time on a distinguished career. When Cole signed for Nottingham Forest, he dreamt of going out in a blaze of glory, of shooting his home-town club back into the Premier League.
Instead there were tears. Cole, 37, made an acrimonious departure from Forest 11 days ago and yesterday spoke for the first time. Cole voiced regrets at his lack of opportunities at the City Ground, at the mixed messages from Colin Calderwood, the club's manager, and at the inevitable whispering campaign that followed his exit - but he came across like a man who had been relieved of a burden.
Characterised, by his own admission, as “narky, sullen and unapproachable”, the former Newcastle United, Manchester United and England forward was at peace with himself, if not with Calderwood, as he contemplated his first steps as a coach or manager.
“It's not the ideal ending,” Cole said of his exit from Forest, his contract having been cancelled by mutual consent after he failed to score in 11 appearances. “It just wasn't working out. I told them from the outset that I didn't want to go there to sit on the bench because I didn't want to be perceived as sitting back and making easy money. I wanted to go there and offer something, but it was a strange one from the start. I never knew what my role was. Was it to lend a hand, use my experience, or was it a Page Ranking thing, to sell a few more season tickets? I still don't know. I felt like the manager wouldn't have a conversation with me. I don't know if it's the right word, but he seemed kind of intimidated by me.

“I wanted it to work out, but I was playing for 60 minutes and then getting taken off. Or sometimes I wasn't getting picked at all. After a game at Preston, I said to myself: ‘You don't play, then they give you an hour, then you get taken off. Is it really worth it?' That was in September. I told him [Calderwood] then that I wanted to go and that I would serve three months' notice if they wanted me to, which was in my contract. He said ‘no, give it another month', which I was prepared to do, and then suddenly, a few weeks later, the club start putting it around that they've sacked me or that I've walked out.
“People will look at it and say this is how they expected me to go, in a huff or in some kind of controversy, but it wasn't like that. I just wish Forest could have been honest. I've always been honest in my career, maybe too honest for my own good.”
That honesty extends to an admission that he was too hasty in leaving Manchester United for Blackburn Rovers in December 2001 - “probably the biggest mistake I've ever made” - but, reflecting on a career that brought five Premier League winner's medals, two FA Cups and a Champions League, not to mention 15 England caps, there are few regrets.
“There's always going to be the odd one, with me the way I am as a person, as a player,” he said. “But I wouldn't change a thing. I've lived the dream.” The dream now is to go into management or coaching, with a role at Blackburn Rovers, under Paul Ince, already mooted. Cole has not heard from his former United team-mate, but as a player who scored 289 goals in 646 appearances in a career spanning 12 clubs, he feels that he is well placed to teach the next generation about the art of goalscoring.
“You would think so - unless I just happened to have a lot of luck in my career,” he said. “I've all this experience. I don't want to keep it to myself. I want to give something back. I don't think it's the end of the Andrew Cole story. Hopefully it's a new chapter.”

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/article5127120.ece
 

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who cares
 

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He was a very good striker and his partnership up front with Yorke was one of the best I've ever seen.
 

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Goodbye Coley such a sad day as another one of the great's depart's football:depress:,I remember the day when he arrived at OT from the Toonarmy it was quite a surprise and amazing and the season he banged in 30+ goal's in the Toon Army's first season in the Premiership.I'll never forget his amazing five goal haul vs Ipswich town in that 9-0 thumpimng at Olf Trafford.Farewell Coley and hope to see you asap in managing with the rest of the old gang from OT.:thumbsup::proud::cry:
 

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if he could finish like Ian Wright he would have scored 900 goals, amazing how many he got when he couldn't finish properly, imagine how many Shearer would have got at United at that time?
 

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If anyone is claiming Andy Cole was a better footballer than Dennis Bergkamp, they are wrong. Just wrong.
 

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no one said that, but he has acheived more FACT, and deserves recognition for being a key part of a fantastic united side
 

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:thmbdown:
:thmbdown: :thmbdown:
My 2 thumbs down beats your one thumb down. So take that.

If anyone is claiming Andy Cole was a better footballer than Dennis Bergkamp, they are wrong. Just wrong.
Where was that said?

Seriously, can Arsenal fans not just show some respect to one of the best strikers of his generation. So he played for United 7 years ago, FFS what does it matter? I understand about rivalry and all but there's a place for it and it isn't here. Instead of looking for a fight, rather just say, 'Well done Andy, good luck with all future endeavours'. How hard would that be?
And it's a cliche, but if you are not willing to post that, then what are you doing posting in this thread in the first place, if only to spout your anti-United bellicosity?
 

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I always thought of him as one of those blokes who was a top domestic league player but not quite good enough for international football. Having said that, he gave his all time and time again for United and we achieved some great things on the back of his efforts. Ofcourse he'll be remembered for some famous misses (West Ham comes to mind) but that game against Juve in 99 - you could never deny the lad had heart. I was sorry when he left United - I had a lot of time for him. I hope he's a success in what ever he tries his hand at next.
 

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:thmbdown: :thmbdown:
My 2 thumbs down beats your one thumb down. So take that.



Where was that said?

Seriously, can Arsenal fans not just show some respect to one of the best strikers of his generation. So he played for United 7 years ago, FFS what does it matter? I understand about rivalry and all but there's a place for it and it isn't here. Instead of looking for a fight, rather just say, 'Well done Andy, good luck with all future endeavours'. How hard would that be?
And it's a cliche, but if you are not willing to post that, then what are you doing posting in this thread in the first place, if only to spout your anti-United bellicosity?
got a little fancy at the end there, didn't you. :pp

Best of luck to Cole.
 
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