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Ashley Cole: Hero or Villain?

Ashley Cole England 2008/09 England V Ukraine (2-1) 01/04/09 FIFA World Cup Qualifier at Wembley Stadium Photo Robin Parker Fotosports International

When you think of Ashley Cole, what immediately springs to mind? Is it the tabloid sensations, the untrustworthy husband, or the money-grabbing pampered footballer? While the media spotlight is constantly on Cole, what seems to have been lost, is that here is a 29 year old man, at the very height of his profession achieving things the rest of us can only dream of.

Not a week goes by without another of Cole’s mishaps being disected by the media. The kiss-and-tell nightclub blondes, the police scuffles, the speeding fines, and, of course the poor, tortured media darling Cheryl(who seems to have gotten over her own past misdemeanors). On top of this, there was his unsavoury exit from Arsenal and his infamous autobiography “My Defence” in which he claims to have almost crashed his car at Arsenal’s miserly offer of only £55,000 per week when he clearly deserved £60,000.

But think about this for a moment. Was it so wrong for a footballer, who was part of one of his teams most successful era’s to expect a bigger pay-packet? Cole’s career began with Arsenal in 1999. In his time with the club, he won the Premier League twice (2002 and 2004), the FA Cup on three occasions (2002, 2003 and 2005) and a Champions League runners-up medal (2006). In this time he became an England regular and he was also part of Arsenal’s famous “invincibles” who went through the whole of the 2003-2004 league campaign unbeaten, an incredible feat in the modern game. So maybe “Cashley” was right after all. Maybe he did deserve a few more pounds out of the Hill-Woods coffers.

But it wasn’t to be. Cole’s Arsenal career ended on an extremely sour note, with accusations of secret meetings and “tapping-up”s. Eventually Chelsea got their man, with a fee of £5 million and William Gallas heading to North London. Cole’s career has gone from strength to strength since joining the Stamford Bridge Blues with another Premier League crown, three F. A. Cups and another Champions League runner-up medal.

In 2010, Cole, alongside team-mate Nicolas Anelka became a member of an exclusive group of only three players who have won the Premier League with two different clubs(Henning Berg being the other). He also became the only person to win six F. A Cups. In addition to this, he is in England’s squad for the 2010 World Cup, and although the first two matches have been complete disasters for England, Cole has not been singled out for criticism in either.

When Ashley Cole decides to hang up his boots, I would like to think that he will be remembered for his footballing prowess, rather than his turbulent personal life. I would like to think he will be remembered, as a hero.



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