Andy Cole; the one who got away

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
1989–1992 Arsenal 1 0
1991 Fulham loan 13 3
1992–1993 Bristol City 41 20
1993–1995 Newcastle United 70 55
1995–2001 Manchester United 195 93
2001–2004 Blackburn Rovers 83 27
2004–2005 Fulham 31 12
2005–2006 Manchester City 22 9
2006–2007 Portsmouth 18 3
2007 Birmingham City loan 5 1
2007–2008 Sunderland 7 0
2008 Burnley loan 13 6
2008 Nottingham Forest 10 0

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.


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6 Replies to “Andy Cole; the one who got away”

  1. Ian Selley recalls training with Cole and always commented how good he was finding space, he first touch and how he was a thoroughly nice chap…

  2. The real story is that Adams (captain) went to Graham on behalf of the players to say they didn’t want Cole in the changing room. And this was for a good reason which I am not putting into print.

  3. Didn’t seem to be a disruptive influence and always seemed to be quietly spoken but then again what do I know… I think GG was a bit of an authoritarian….

  4. Andy Cole is one of only two players to have played in the Premier League and had a solo UK hit singlem

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