Ashley Cole has announced his retirement from playing yet there doesn’t seem to be much interest in goonerdom. I find that incredibly sad.
What happened that resulted in a player of his calibre, that came through our ranks, to be so overlooked by the gooners fan base.
Well I want to revisit the alleged crime, call it a cold case if you like, to see if there has been a miscarriage of justice. I feel there has been, and have felt this for a while now, especially in light of other later events with other players.
Ashley was arguably the worlds best left back for 4-5 years at his peak, which included him playing in the famous red and white. Not only that, he was one of our own and an invincible.
The following analysis is based upon the generally accepted version of events and the publisher accepts no responsibility in regard to any unconfirmed falsified aspects of the said generally accepted version.
“The court invites the prosecution to make its opening statement”
“Well your honour, Mr Cole joined Chelsea, a rival, and wrote a book that was critical of certain aspects of the club (Arsenal’s) contract negotiating team. These 2 factors have infuriated the fan base and now any relationship between Mr Cole and the Arsenal fan base is irreconcilable. The prosecution Sue’s for divorce”
“And now the court invites the defence to make its opening statement”.
“Well your honour’ you see Mr Cole didn’t actually write the book but agreed to have his name attached to it. It was explained to him by the publisher that certain things should be exaggerated more as it was better for sales. In addition Mr Cole really wanted to stay at Arsenal, the club he grew up at and loved, so much so that he agreed to a lower wage than he was being offered elsewhere. He thought he had a gentleman’s agreement but was shocked when the club negotiators reneged on the agreement. He felt incredibly hurt and didn’t feel the club truly wanted him to stay. At this point he decided it would be best to move on”.
Personally I feel Ashley has been overly maligned by some margin, especially considering what a special player he was for us in such a special period.
The book was most likely ghost written and more poor judgement on Ashley’s part in my opinion. He will not be the first or last footballer to fall foul of making a wrong call based on poor advice of those around him.
Can we really not also see how hurt he would have been that after agreeing to stay on wages less than he could get elsewhere, just because he loved the club that had brought him up, to find that they didn’t value him quite so highly and were happy to go back on their verbal agreement.
Ashley was probably the first of the modern generation footballers, at Arsenal, to have a high profile fall out with the fans, but I feel this case needs revisiting.
The crime now, so many years on, seems so much less, and in reality I feel the club’s negotiators were far more culpable for that situation and that fallout than the player himself.
It is time to bring Ashley in from the cold and for the fans to show Ashley the love again. We need to treat him as the legend he is. He deserves a place in the stand at the Emirates and he deserves the applause and appreciation from us all.
The defence rests its case.
Great Post and I agree that Ashley is a true great of our club! Since he left, did we really have a fitting replacement at LB?
10 men went to bed, went to bed with Cashley, ten men and his mobile phone, went to bed with Cashley.
I rest my case.
When he left for Chelsea it was only because of a BIG mistake and stubborness of the club (maybe Wenger the most). It was a question of a few thousand pounds more that he wanted pr week. Have always blamed the club but not him I would have loved that he stayed.
Ashley Cole was probably the best left back in Europe for most of his career.
All players are mercenaries and want to get paid as much as possible.
I do not know anything about the machinations between Cole and Moaniho and don’t care.
I have never ‘hated’ him — or any other Arsenal player — but I do not love him either. No thanks.
That is all history / he made his choices – let it be.
Another very good Post GB at a difficult time for fans because of the Inter-Dull.
Well done sir.
I always read your articles and don’t comment but this time I will. I liked Ashely as a gooner but his fallout, it should be left to him…he has achieved all he wanted, Arsenal has not yet. Let us focus on our goals and let be where is, much as he does have to be where he is
Its true we should recognise him as a LEGEND . He really loved the Club and what he was doing.At times we tend to hate players when they come up for increments. If it were you at your place of work compared for the services you are offering. They are also Humans.
You all seem to have forgotten the FACT that he meet the manager of another club to discuss a transfer while still under contract to Arsenal and without permission to do so by the club.
Thus breaking his contract as well as FA rules regarding contract talks!!
Welcome Hjörvar, Mubiru, kibombo and Hants Gooner. It’s fascinating that often posts which are a bit off the wall can encourage those who read but don’t usually comment to join us in the debate.
Your opinions are valid and well expressed thank you … keep them coming!
Morning all. Thanks for the early comments. Will say a few extra things now as unsure of my time availability later.
My over-riding sentiment on this is that the outrage the fan base felt towards Ashley for the way things unfolded was specific for that time, but is now in the modern era rather low key, and his pariah position is utterly unjust and we need to put this right, starting with us the fan base.
My understanding of what went on was that Ashley had a verbal agreement with Dein to extend his contract at around £60kpw and he had said he would accept that and stay at the club.
He was aware that other clubs really wanted him and he could secure closer to £100kpw elsewhere. As Hants says that means he (or his agent) was sounding out his options elsewhere. The club hadn’t bust a gut to start negotiations, and he didn’t know what that would mean for his future, so he quietly investigated his other options.
This is something that any of us in any walk of life would have done under the circumstances, and is one of those footballing areas where a weird level of moral outrage is perceived that doesn’t match the reality of general life. It is quite the double standard, but is him checking out his options really so bad?
Don’t forget Hants that this is likely happening with every player that is approaching the end of a contract, so under those guidelines we should hate absolutely every football player. Do you think Douzi wasn’t aware of whoelse wanted him and what he could get before resigning for us? Did Ashley really step outside some unforgivable boundary with this?
Also don’t forget that having assessed his options he initially chose to stay with us on less wages than he could of got elsewhere. That should speak volumes of his feeling for the club at the time and really makes him far more of a loyal club servant and less of the mercenary he is portrayed. Compared to other players he showed far more loyalty, yet he is portrayed as something far worse than any other player.
Completely unfair. Many fans laud both Ozil and Ramsey but these 2 players tried (and succeeded in Ozils case) to hold us over a financial barrel. Why is it “Cashley” while these 2 get away with acting in a far more mercenary manner than Ashley Cole ever did?
Having accepted to stay on with us in that verbal agreement we had, in reality, a bargain for the worlds best left back. Then Dein rang him and told him they were reneging on that and would drop it £4k (or so). A paltry amount and quite insulting given all the other circumstances. How did we expect him to react?
The club had not initially shown any urgency to sign up a home grown lad who loved the club, and was widely regarded as the worlds best left back, and when they did decide to negotiate they insultingly reneged on an agreement to try and reduce it by a paltry and insulting amount.
It shouldn’t be about “Cashley”. The ire of the fans should have been directed at the club officials involved with this. There should have been a different name than “Cashley”, one more directed at the club and its stingy and underhand dealing in this, not at the player himself.
Many fans had spent many years wanting the return of Dein, and I myself did to a large degree at various points in recent years, but in this one specific incident Dein and the hierarchy were the ones to blame, not Ashley Cole.
I would like to call on the fans to recognise this chain of events and put right some wrongs. Maybe some personal messages publicly wishing him well in his retirement and thanking him for what he did with us. I feel he should have a place with the club and I know who I would want to see on the training ground giving 1-1 specialist training to our full-backs. Hopefully we, the fans, can initiate a long overdue reconciliation.
I recall the misdemeanour, the £5k per week he was seeking that we didn’t grant probably on the basis we thought Clichy was looking an able replacement if things went awry. They did and Clichy proved not to be any where near reliable, nor Gibbs, …..now we have hopefully Tierney to at last bring our LB back to full force.
Such a player, Ashley, and who can forget his goal line defence – the best I saw at the job!
He was a young man – we both made mistakes – forgive!
I’m in Hants Gooner’s corner here.
I remember Cashley Cole saying he had NOT spoken to any other club about a transfer…….
That brought out the pictures of him sitting at a table opposite a Chelsea representative ( name escapes me) and soon after joining said club.
A great player no doubt, Arsenal legend = Impossible.
Mourhino is the name you are searching for.
In flagrante delicto – football. 😜
I sent you an email — long overdue.
Off for more X-rays this p.m. — am beginning to look like Lurch (Adams Family) 🥺
Football supporters are as small minded as any (myself included) in holding a grudge, and Ashley would never be welcomed back in any position whatever. Not just for the way that he left, but for his antics after: piss ups with Terry, affairs with slappers, nightclub incidents, drivings offences & not least shooting a student with an air rifle.
I was there the first time he returned with Chelsea & the abuse he suffered throughout the match was as bad as I’ve seen any one footballer take, and great player that he was I could never see a bury the hatchet situation with Ashley Cole.
Methinks he’s a legend whatever – glorious or notorious, for us and our London neighbours in being the elite player that he was. These guys are not gods but mortal men of often immature makeup. He was a key man in our glorious season saving us many a time. No problem for me that he sought market value for his talent having felt/been shafted by his employer. He tried to cover his investigations and came unstuck by the media of today.
I guess those still ‘after’ him have never told a lie…..
Pat, was Ashley holding out for another £5k we weren’t then willing to give, or was that £5k removed from an already agreed figure? There can be a big difference in those 2 situations and the explanation and justification for all the subsequent events.
VCC, I am definitely not saying he was blameless but some of the decisions he made were likely on the back of the club and the negotiating teams attitude and behaviour towards him. Was most of the events that unfolded that he was excommunicated for proactive or reactive? Proactively going behind the clubs back if they were trying to do everything they could to secure him would be more distasteful but reactions to provocations are the norm in all human beings and are understandable even if they don’t sit well with you.
I genuinely cannot fully recall the time line of events but again if meeting up with Chelsea was a reaction to the clubs seeming indifference to sign him and reneging on an agreed deal I find it hard to blame him for seeing what they had to say.
If he tried to smokescreen it that could be considered to lack certain morals, i.e he lied, but it could be he was trying to prevent a big fallout from occurring because nothing was certain at that stage, and maybe he still had his heart set on Arsenal doing right by him and him staying.
If the club wasn’t showing a high interest in retaining him and then reneged on an agreed deal then, whether we consider it right or wrong, his reactions after the event are understandable to me. In the words of that great philosopher, Rambo, “they drew first blood, not me”.
It is interesting but reading between the lines Ashley Cole’s crimes seem to be magnified to a higher level due to the company he ended up associating with after leaving us.
Our inherent dislike of Terry and Mourinho beyond other players and managers somehow seem to make Ashley’s crimes more severe in many peoples eyes. Not too sure that this is balanced and reasonable though. Shouldn’t we just judge it on the events at that time alone.
Righteous, it is interesting what you say about the mind-set of football fans. Arsenal fans are no different or more special in their reactions to perceived injustices than any other fan.
I can’t think of any historical shooting incidents involving other former Arsenal players but drinking, drink driving, nightclub incidents, putting it about a bit with the ladies, gambling and other addictions……..hmmm……. it seems to me that if we are setting parameters and precedents then we need to readjust our feelings on many ex players
T.A and his well known drinking troupe of the time. Many of these are considered legends. Other club legends have also tried, and often succeeded, in engineering their exit from us. If Ashley Cole’s behaviour sets some form of barometer or precedent we really should have very few players we welcome back with open arms and afford legend status to, lest we all be considered hypocritical.
Morning all. I don’t like Ashley Cole. He’s no legend. Dennis Bergkamp is a legend.
Good to read these very strong opinions on Ashley Cole.
GoonerB wrote: “Many fans laud both Ozil and Ramsey but these 2 players tried (and succeeded in Ozils case) to hold us over a financial barrel. Why is it “Cashley” while these 2 get away with acting in a far more mercenary manner than Ashley Cole ever did?”
Fully agree with this.
In yesterday’s debate about how to criticise Emery, one poster with extremely negative views about the new coach claimed that Emery “sold Cazorla who is doing well in Spain, and got rid of Ramsey.
It is incredible to read an Arsenal fan say Emery “got rid” of Ramsey, a player who willingly entered the last year of his contract in the full knowledge that he could double or triple his usual salary demands. A player who had openly admitted he was tempted by the idea of playing abroad. A player who even Ornstein said ‘never had any intention of signing a new deal’. A player who, like Koscielny and Monreal, had probably made up his mind to leave during those last two seasons when neither the club nor Wenger could make a decision about his future.
When he finally stepped down one of the things Wenger himself admitted was that he wished he’d taken the decision earlier because the whole drama was so unsettling for the players.
But yeah it was Emery that “got rid” of Ramsey.
And he sold Cazorla. This is supposed to be a black mark against Emery, when in reality him and Arsenal did the most humane thing possible in allowing a clearly desperate Santi to go home to Spain and rehab his career. Those who are critical of Emery constantly ignore context because it weakens their arguments. Maybe they should develop better arguments.
Ashley Cole was an Arsenal great, spectacular both in attack and defense. He jumped right into the hornet’s nest by flirting with Chelsea at a time when they were the antithesis of everything we respect and value at Arsenal. I hope the money was worth it Ashley.
I have to say I kind of agree with you.
I have always disliked AC because I felt a) as a self professed Gooner, you cannot join Chelsea and b) he was a mercenary who hopped ship for money etc but as time passes, I find I don’t care as much about the money part. Being honest, I have missed AC sooo much, no-one has been able to come close.
However, I can’t forget or forgive WHO he joined. I understand we don’t have the whole story and I have always backed AC on that basis as I genuinely do believe the club reneged but I’m sorry, you don’t run and join Chelsea.
I am 35, I moved from Jamaica to London 14th Dec 1992, aged 8. I saw Arsenal play that Boxing Day (or the equivalent at that time) and have been in love ever since.
I say all that to say, there are 3 clubs you do not join as a Gooner (not just someone who played for the Arsenal a la RVP but as an academy lad through and through); Man U, Tottenham and Chelsea (that’s my order, agree or not) and if you do, I can’t simply forget and forgive, I’ll always bear that mark like ‘a woman scorned’.
Having said all that, I can forgive him for leaving and would welcome him back in some aspect, if he still bleeds the Red and White.
GoonberB, you’re right, nobody at Arsenal has actually shot anyone (yet), but as for the other misdemeanours I can only think of one person who drank, smoked, slept with beauty queens and did it with style & he played for Spurs.
It’s just that Cole was such a nob.
As an example, I absolutely love Alessandro Costacurta and he never played a minute for us.
But he regretted Tottenham because he grew up supporting Arsenal!!
Better leave much unsaid.
Agree with Mike and Bob, except for Bob’s last sentence.
Two ex Arsenal miscreants featured on The Highbury Library today. It must be The Interlul
Don’t leave it unsaid Aaron. Go ahead and say it. My only request would be if you dislike Cole intently, as I suspect, you give the reasons why balanced out with my argument about cause and effect, and also in relation to other players who left us. Would be interested to hear who else you are not fond of and why and also a few players that do pass the legend status for you.
Thanks to GoonerB for today’s gem …. has anyone got a thought they’d like to share for tomorrow’s post?
To make a decision as to who is right and who is wrong in this case there is one question above all Arsenal supporters should ask themselves: do you believe Ashley Cole was unhappy at Arsenal and wanted to leave?
If your answer is no, as mine is, then there is only one guilty party here and that is Arsenal Football Club for not doing enough to make him stay. It is completely irrelevant which club he ultimately left for.
Should he be welcomed back? He has been hurt too much to ever return, although, I doubt that he cares as he has no reason to do so.
He has simply moved on.
I didn’t know anything about reneging on a promise, just the figure offered was £55K when he was after £60K. He was the best in Europe/World, not only running the line in attack and defence but phenomenal on the goal line at set pieces, so many saves there! Time for me that he was welcomed back with his knowledge if possible added to our new wealth 🙂 🙂
Sorry to break the the theme.Europa League squad announced.
Goalkeepers: Bernd Leno, Emiliano Martinez, Matt Macey, James Hillson.
Defenders: Hector Bellerin, Sokratis, Rob Holding, Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers, David Luiz, Konstantinos Mavropanos, Sead Kolasinac, Joel Lopez, Kieran Tierney.
Midfielders: Dani Ceballos, Mesut Ozil, Lucas Torreira, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Matteo Guendouzi, Granit Xhaka.
Forwards: Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Gabriel Martinelli.
Thanks Kelsey …. Mustafi amongst the defenders … my hope is that he will move on in January
…. no Reiss Nelson?
… hang on … no Willock either – what’s that all about?
Ashley was one of our best players when he was with us. He left in acrimonious circumstances but that was in the past. It would be nice if a situation arises for him to return, but do the club need to ask him to come back? I don’t fancy that! I think it’s totally unnecessary there areas many other players who never tried to force their way from the club even when aggrieved. Those are the ones we should try to bring. This has nothing to do with bitterness.
I think there’s a B List which can include unlimited players born after 1st Jan 1998 and both Willock and Nelson would qualify for that.
Thanks FGG …. I’m really glad to hear that.
Couple of things of note which have already been touched on.
First, Ashley went to Chelsea at a time when they were the opposite of everything Arsenal. At the time we didn’t like the way they operated and just bought their way to success, and it hurt deeply that he chose such a club. Had he gone abroad or to a team less infuriating then I imagine it would’ve been easier to forgive.
Second, when Ashley did what he did it wasn’t the norm. If it happened now it probably wouldn’t come as such a shock, and wouldn’t leave scars quite as deep. It doesn’t matter that it’s become more frequent now. The fact is that when it happened, it left large wounds in many fans and that is the feeling they will go back to when remembering the incident.
Wether it was all his fault or not, ultimately he had the final say and chose to go. Tbh, I don’t have much of a problem with any ex-Arsenal players. Wether it’s Adebayor, Cole, or RvP, ultimately they’ve all contributed something to the club in their time and at least deserve the fans respect if nothing else. We never fully know the ins and outs of transfers, and sometimes people forget that these players have families that will no doubt have a large say in where their future lies. It’s not always about money and loyalty regardless of what the media say.
Good comment FGG. I think I kind of knew it would be wishful thinking to sway opinions on Ashley significantly but thought I would put it out there.
He is probably the last full club home grown player that became truly world class. He was an invincible and undoubtedly contributed to much of our success in that era.
Thanks for all the comments today. Nice to see some new commenters as well. Time for me to sign off for today
Didn’t even know about the we had reneged on wages with him hmm
Who on earth is Joel Lopez?
To me, there’s a difference between being a very good (even great) player and being a legend. In my opinion, being a legend is as much about how you conduct yourself off the field with respect to the club as it is how you play on the field.
I can’t view you as a legend if you do one without the other. A good/great player who is disrespectful of the club both before and after he leaves is as far from a legend as a player who adores the club but just doesn’t produce on the field. To me, Ashley Cole is just a great player who *could* have been an Arsenal legend.
I understand that many will disagree with me, and I respect your opinions, as I hope that you do mine.
A very well expressed opinion, Born Arsenal, and I do not think many will disagree with you.
Joel Lopez is a 17 year old, Spanish defender who moved to us from Barcelona.
James Hillson, is an 18 year old, English GK who joined from Reading when he was released and has not yet signed a Professional contract with Arsenal.
Not good enough for reading – but in Arsenal’s Europa squad at 18???
Embers has taken the youth profile seriously, it seems, with somewhat unknown kids in these two.
Best left back I ever saw.
Played massive part in one of the greatest periods in recent Arsenal history.
Shouldn’t have met a repugnant manager secretly and illegally and the joined his repugnant Club.
At least he gave us more than one year before joining a different repugnant Club.
Brilliant! player, cant ever be a legend!
I have to lodge a protest, GB, and it is a serious one – sort of – well a bit , maybe – so here goes.
How come you only ask the ‘legend’ question about Ashley Cole? Hmm? Well? Stand up and tell us.
What about others who were just as good as Ashes, but who also split opinion in a big way by the way they departed?
And to be candid, it isn’t just that they departed in a bit of a hump.
Take Henry and Paddy Vieira. Both of them started the old game of mixing up their pay demands with “I want to play in a different environment or I love Barcelona” before forcing their way out of Arsenal, and yet those two are indisputably “Legends”.
Does being a legend require being an Invincible as a base line first – and someone who also spent years playing for Arsenal?
There are quite a lot of others who are in the Cole yard, such as Nasri, Gilberto, Cesc, RvP, Ray Parlour, Seaman and so on. One or two of those may already be seen a ‘Legends’ but why?
Maybe, because they were excellent players, and left still loving Arsenal, you know who they are, but others may have been better players, but are not loved — does being loved, or not, form an important part of legendary?
How about David O’Leary, or Sol Campbell do they qualify as legends? Sol does for me — David Giz-a-job O’Leary? Nah. Just my opinion – but legends have to have a wide acceptance by all or most of the fans, don’t they?
Come on GB — tell us — we need to know. 😜
Another of our world class left backs who fell from grace was Kenny Sansom. Although he had issues he never did anything that reflected negatively on the club and still has ties with us.
There’s a lot of drooling going on over Cabellos’s performance for Spain last night… my drooling, however, is reserved for Kolasinac, who assisted for Bosnia! So, a good night for both of our players…. and then i came across this – since 2017, no team has conceded more premier league penalties than Arsenal.. urgh…
would Davor Šuker qualify as a legend? Arsenal player and golden boot winner at 1998 World Cup. More importantly, Croatian.
I’d say yes
Davor Šuker swapped the red and white of Croatia for the red and white of Arsenal
Then there was also Eduardo Da Silva, another legend.
I’m surprised we dont have more croatians playing for the red and white, its an easy colours transition for them
Talking of Legends, how good is Smith
Smithy is the most brilliant and unusual batsman I have ever seen.
He was a bit lucky yesterday dropped once by Archer, given out caught but saved on review by a slow bowler overstepping the popping crease.
But he makes his own luck, frankly. 😁
I’m a bit of a leg end myself, VP, always putting my foot in it.
Hi RA, yes I’d say Smith is as good as Ellyse Perry
RA, your question at 9.42 was what I was asking people to consider and debate. Your question to me is the question that I want put to all who are commenting. I used the example of Ramsey and Ozil earlier to compare but there are many potential player comparisons as you mention.
I wanted to test people to analyse and search their feelings as to whether there were other players, that were still an Arsenal legend in their minds, who had also left in a far from perfect manner, and to see if double standards were being applied and that Ashley Cole, possibly, had done no more or no less than some of the others.
I knew many people would read the post and still say that Ashley Cole could never be forgiven and welcomed back as an Arsenal legend, but I was asking if, not only could they justify why not, but also make comparisons with other players who have left. Particularly players like you mention in Vieira and Henry who most would consider legends.
I still feel the club were most at fault and everything he did afterwards, although non desirable, was a reaction to the clubs unprofessional handling of matters in the first place.
VP, I really think you have hit upon something here with the kit colours, that our scouters and recruiters need to take note of. Forget all that data and stats rubbish and watching players multitudes of times.
Just focus on whether they wore a similar kit to ours so that they are less vexed when they pull on the red and white and their transition into our 1st team more seamless.
Maybe that should be the only recruitment criteria. VP I think you may have just revolutionised the scouting and recruitment department 🙂
Great Posts and discussions yesterday and today – sorry I’ve been too busy to join the chat.
I’ve dropped some trivial nonsense into Drafts…
Did you know that Arsenal are favoured by North Cypriots due red and white being the National flag colours? I learnt this fairly recently from a Turk Cyp.
Jermaine Pennant was a wild one I think…..but I think from the other aspect perhaps we should consider: Who did the club let down that were brilliant but we never supported them to enable real success; always left big holes like DM/ no wingers to put the crosses in they needed?
Gooner B very good. 😁
Your response to my query was fair enough – and I am sorry I could not debate further with you today.
I’ll get you tomorrow maybe.
You never produce trivial nonsense — but who is this guy D Rafts you drop things into? 🤪
Do you think that legends like Lehmann, Campbell, Vieira, Bergkamp, Henry could come in as part of our coaching staff?
You know who did a great job as a forward coach at Lille last year? Mr. ANELKA. The players including Pepe really enjoyed his input
Thanks Rocky … gratefully received.
I’m not surprised Anelka is a good coach – he was a terrific forward.
I have little doubt that if he had his time over again he would not leave Arsenal as he did in 1999.
If he had stayed we might never have signed TH14… but if he had stayed he might have been (maybe was) as good as TH14.
Morning all …
… New post …