Some players make a name for themselves for being better than everyone else on the pitch, but for Carlton Cole, it couldn’t be any more different.
Cole remains an anomaly in English football. Blessed with all the physical attributes to be a top striker in the Premier League, the Chelsea academy product never managed to reach the heights many expected him to make during his playing days.
Aside from an extremely popular parody account on Twitter, Cole is often forgotten about by fans, but amongst West Ham supporters, the striker is often seen as one of their most loyal players in the Premier League era.
An affiliation that lasted for nine years, Cole made close to 300 appearances for the east London side, scoring 68 goals during that time and being with the club during their highest of highs and lowest of lows.
From failing to break it into the first-team at the start of his career with the Hammers after signing for the club in 2006 to remaining with the club after relegation from the Championship, Cole is a player who gave it his all for West Ham.
Even after rumours of Manchester United and Liverpool being interested in the English striker began to circulate in 2009 and 2010, Cole remained in east London despite the club being relegated down from the Premier League. A poignant fact, in light of Declan Rice’s links (as per the Daily Telegraph) with a move to Old Trafford.
In the Championship, Cole was one of West Ham’s most important players as the striker netted 14 times in 40 league appearances for the Hammers as Sam Allardyce led the club back to the top-flight on their first attempt.
However, their returning season to the Premier League was one of Cole’s least productive years, and where you can identify as the start of the striker’s rise to internet memedom, scoring just twice in 27 league appearances, leading to the English international being released by the club that summer.
It was to be a short breakup, though. After a summer of West Ham failing to find a striker, the east London side resigned their former man a few days after the closure of the transfer window, and although Cole still found himself coming off the bench, he managed to find more success this time around in the Premier League, netting six goals and scoring against the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United.
His truly last season in east London was as underwhelming as the one that made the club release him. Another disappointing two goal tally in the entire 2014/15 Premier League campaign gave West Ham no other choice but to allow Cole to leave the club again for free, this time for good.
The former Hammers hero would re-join the club after football, taking up a coaching role for the U-18s side. Cole was far from the most prolific of strikers, but his loyalty at the club has made him a fan favourite, and a figure the supporters admire.
West Ham fans, what is your favourite memory of Cole? Let us know!
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience