The truth about Ash­ley cole

To be­lieves it’s time JONNY BRICK and neg­a­tive for­get the con­tro­ver­sies on the football... press and fo­cus

Late Tackle Football Magazine - - OPINION -

IHOPE to pub­lish a book in the near fu­ture. In it, I will pon­der 11 points which ap­ply to many football fans. Pon­der along at home to some of these co­nun­drums.

Why do fans sup­port their team? Why do some play­ers fail to make the step up to be­come man­agers? What should re­place the trans­fer win­dow? What makes a good football critic, or owner? Which fa­mous for­ward has to sit on the bench in a Best Ever XI? And what’s the truth about Ash­ley Cole? Ash­ley was at one stage the best in the world at what he did, ac­cord­ing to his peers and crit­ics.

For all the drama of his per­sonal life, at the peak of his pro­fes­sional life Ash­ley won ti­tles at two clubs (Ar­se­nal and Chelsea), reached a cen­tury of Eng­land ap­pear­ances, and then up­rooted him­self to Italy af­ter see­ing out his Chelsea con­tract.

And yet, as a suc­cess­ful pro­fes­sional who was good at his job, the wider football world ap­pears to jeer him. Not just Ar­se­nal fans or fol­low­ers of Rio Fer­di­nand’s Twit­ter feed, but even those dis­in­ter­ested in the game who know him as the for­mer Mr Ch­eryl. In light of Emy On­uoha’s new book

I come not to bury Ash­ley – that photo of him stand­ing a few inches too far away from his new Roma team-mates is worth a thou­sand of my words – but to praise him.

Emy names him in the Great­est Black Bri­tish XI, in the back four along­side Viv An­der­son, Fer­di­nand and Sol Camp­bell.

To Emy, Ash­ley “was with­out peer”, never the one to be blamed for the fail­ures of the na­tional team, es­pe­cially when told to deal with the fa­mil­iar pony­tail of Cris­tiano Ron­aldo for club and coun­try.

“Prob­a­bly Eng­land’s great­est ever left­back” is Emy’s con­clu­sion, with which even Ray Wil­son and Graeme Le Saux would likely con­cur.

In the chap­ter of my book that deals with ‘the player as celebrity’, I posit that Ash­ley Cole is the hero of what I call Gen­er­a­tion Live on Sky Sports (LoSS).

Not Wayne Rooney, and his agent Paul Stret­ford, nor David Beck­ham, and his man­ager Si­mon Fuller. Ash­ley Cole, with his agent Jon Bar­nett (who now looks af­ter Gareth Bale), may have in­curred wrath and fines but be­tween them they have made many black

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