As a child one of my favourite England players was Joe Cole, and I've got a 2007 home shirt to prove it, prior to Sturridge vs Wales, he held my favourite England goal with his effort against Sweden in the 2006 World Cup. So in October 2015 when we announced the signing of 'The Actual Joe Cole' I hyperventilated endless amounts, struggling to believe that my League One football team had acquired one of my childhood heroes who brought 56 caps with him.
It was always going to be good from there, even if he two footed a kid in the family stand, I'd still probably hold him in a high regard. Off the back of a 35 day loan I bought a 'Cole 14' shirt for that season, it is and forever will be one of my favourite city shirts. Not only because of the player on the back, but it was a beautiful strip to say the least. Swaggering off to Swindon away with that on display in the pouring rain kind of put a metaphorical, as well as literal, cloud over the whole scenario.
The free kick on his home debut really topped it all off, I even caught it on video, but that's also being added to the pile of things that will never get onto the internet. It's a voice crack filled 30 seconds of me shouting his name over and over in disbelief he's just pinged one from 30 yards. It's a really horrible thing to look back on, but it's a great memory to have and one which I will cherish for many years to come.
It took him a fair while to get his fitness back, but once he did you could really begin to see the player which won Premier League titles amongst all else, albeit not to the same level. Taking the Bury 6-0 as an example, he got 3 assists, and ripped their whole side to shreds with his killer passes and flair on the ball. He really did still have it. It's just a shame for him that as he started to get back to his full potential, our season was already falling to pieces. This meant he took a small bit of unnecessary blame, there are many contributing factors to that bottle job, which I will culminate in a separate post soon. Until then, enjoy sunning yourself at Tampa Bay Rowdies Joe, I hope to see you back at the age of 40 to score an overhead kick against Ebbsfleet United.