From 2006 to 2014, Chelsea had the privilege of hosting the talents of a certain Ashely Cole, certainly one of the best, if not the best left back to ever play the game. Controversial from day one thanks Arsenal being cheapskates, Ash also took great delight in engaging in measured and reasonable discussions with fans (especially the sizable Gunners Twitter army) and delivering nuanced critiques of football’s governing bodies. Proper Chels.
The club legend won 9 titles* during his 8-year spell at Stamford Bridge, including the club’s greatest achievement so far, the 2011-12 Champions League title. Cole’s goal-line block in Naples and the converted kick in the shootout in the final will live forever in our collective memory.
Cole himself still gets goosebumps from those memories as well.
"When you win the Champions League as I did with Chelsea, it is the ultimate. Just the feeling to know I have played in a team and won a trophy that a lot of teams would want to win. You play against all the big teams. [Playing in and beating Bayern] Munich will always stick in my brain. Even when I watch it now or I see clips of the penalties, I still get goosebumps."
After his failed adventures in Rome, Ash joined LA Galaxy of MLS on a regular player’s salary, rather than the extravagant Designated Players’ wages being paid to the likes of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard. Most figured Cole was washed up already, but just as he’d done so many times during his career, he’s proving his doubters wrong again. While his biggest concern is this weekend’s derby between Lampard’s NYCFC and the Galaxy, Cole’s already making plans for post-retirement.
"I hope I can go back to Chelsea and do something there, not so much coaching but scouting or something. I enjoy scouting, watching the young lads come through. I have done a little for my agent, but I'd like to do something a bit more serious. I'd love to go back to work at Chelsea somewhere, somehow."
-Ashley Cole; source: London Evening Standard
Maybe in a few years, the fabled Old Guard will all be back at Chelsea again, moving from the dressing room to the backroom.
*combined with his time at Arsenal, A.Cole won the FA Cup an unprecedented 7 times!