Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tribute to Andy Cole: United fans will never forget his fantastic goals and his outstanding contribution...

After just two first-team appearances he was discarded by Arsenal and then sold to Fulham, before he signed for second division Bristol City where he blossomed and became one of English football's hottest young prospects, but it was Kevin Keegan at Newcastle United who in February 1993 was the one who gave Andy Cole his big chance. Cole scored 12 goals in as many games as the Geordies won promotion to the Premiership.

The former Arsenal starlet went on to score 41 goals from all competitions the following season, in so doing breaking Newcastle United's all-time scoring record, which stretched back 70 years.

Cole signed for Manchester United in January 1995, in a shock £7m transfer which at the time was a British record in a deal that saw young Northern Ireland International Keith Gillespie moving in the opposite direction.

Fergie had long been chasing a top goalscorer, he tried and failed twice to sign, Alan Shearer, who to the consternation of the Red nation failed to sign and instead joined Blackburn and then Magpies; decisions that the former England striker, if he's honest, will regret for all his days. However, the loss of Shearer cannot be viewed as anything but a positive outcome for United because Fergie has since confirmed that if the Reds' had signed Alan Shearer, then we would not have signed Eric Cantona, what's more, it's almost certainly the case that United would have never harnessed Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke in tandem.

United fans knew all about Andy Cole, the previous season in our second home game of the season Cole scored an excellent goal for the Geordies on their return to the top-flight at Old Trafford in a game that ended all square with Ryan Giggs scoring for United.

The deal that saw Cole arrive Old Trafford turned out to be a masterstroke by Fergie especially following the signing of Dwight Yorke in 1998, the pair went on to forge the best strike partnership that I've ever seen at United and I started following the Champions back in 1969-'70.

Cole might not be United's best ever striker in the view of many Reds' fans, the very subject is somewhat subjective, but his contribution to the Red Devils glorious history from 1995-2001 is beyond doubt. For an all too brief period and to the delight of the Red Army, the partnership of Yorke and Cole terrorised opposition defences on both the domestic and European front.

Looking back at the Cole and Yorke goals in the video content which accompany this tribute leaves me in no doubt that United haven't even come close to replacing the dynamic duo and that in itself says a lot about one half of this never to be forgotten United goalscoring double-act.

Andy Cole's long and distinguished playing career ended somewhat acrimoniously this week, ironically at his home town club of Nottingham Forest.

Thanks for the memories Andrew...

Golden swashbuckling video memories of Andy Cole and Manchester United:

1998-'99 Barcelona v United Champions League Group D.

1998-'99 Juventus v United Champions League Semi-Final.

Cole and Yorke - the best United striker partnership ever

Andrew Cole and his music...Outstanding? You decide...but the lyrics are interesting...

Andrew Cole's career history

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