Cole unwilling to look back ... for a day or two, at least

Chelsea's new boy mounted a somewhat confused defence of his position, but will play it by the book from now on, writes Sam Wallace

For 20 months it had been the most embittered, vicious and divisive transfer saga in the Premiership's history; yesterday it was supposed to reach a kind of resolution. But Ashley Cole's arrival at Chelsea from Arsenal was not an ending, it was hardly an explanation and at times it would have been no less surreal had the player announced that he had decided upon a move to Barnet instead.

Straight-faced, Cole said, when confronted with the question of his departure from Arsenal, "I don't want to look back on my life." He would not discuss that infamous meeting with Jose Mourinho and Peter Kenyon, the Chelsea manager and chief executive, at the Royal Park Hotel on 27 January last year. He was not for addressing the subsequent Premier League inquiry which handed out a total of £600,000 fines - reduced on appeal - to Chelsea, Mourinho and Cole for their part in the whole sorry affair.

Later he even added: "It's over now, there's no looking back." Perhaps he should have said no looking back until Monday, when the exclusive newspaper serialisation of his autobiography My Defence begins with its series of allegations - one of which, the hysterical promotion warns, is Cole will blame Arsenal for "hanging me out to dry". For a man who wishes his past to be forgotten, publishing his life story is surely the most unusual step to take.

Also listening to Cole was his agent, Jonathan Barnett, the man whom the original Premier League inquiry said had "manipulated" his client while considering it a "matter of regret" that it could not punish him too. Barnett's role yesterday was unclear but it was evident his client was not to stray into the more salacious detail that has made the serialisation rights to Cole's book so lucrative. It was a touching example of the agent-client relationship.

Cole accepted that "probably some of you think I'm a greedy pig" - he also added, "it's nothing like that." The move had, he said, "never been about money." He said he needed a "fresh challenge" and "a new lease of life. I can look at myself in the mirror and say that I'm not a bad person," he added. "I do owe Arsenal for giving me the chance to make it but I feel I repaid them a lot."

But the single most stupefying aspect of it all, and perhaps the saddest, was that Cole, at the age of 25, seemed unable to take a scintilla of responsibility for his part the whole, unpleasant saga.

It is clear that he will make allegations in his book that Arsenal reneged on an agreement with him, that he felt let down - perhaps justifiably - at a proposed pay rise which never materialised after Euro 2004. There may be more, but one thing that this complex tale tells us is that responsibility does not rest solely with one party.

There was no acceptance that his meeting with Mourinho and Kenyon might have been ill-advised, however strong his feelings about his treatment from Arsenal. "It's not down to me," he said. "I sat down and waited and was pleased to get the call from my new club." He accepted that he was "going to get stick" from supporters. "It is going to be hard for me," he said. "I've just got to deal with it now, haven't I?"

Most of all, however, regardless of the club he had left or the one he had joined, it was a pity that such a brilliant young footballer from modest beginnings would end up so embattled. Presented with two contradictory statements he made last year - one in which he said he would refuse a new contract with Arsenal even "for £200,000 a week" and another in which he subsequently signed a new deal - he admitted with exasperation that he had "said certain things in anger".

Only there did we witness Cole admitting to some culpability, although he argued, with some merit, that by extending his contract he had increased the value Arsenal could sell him for. As to the logistics of the deal, he said that when he told Arsène Wenger, in May, before the World Cup, that he wanted to leave it was the Arsenal manager who suggested he should be sold to Chelsea.

By then, however, Wenger had a player he knew he had to sell and the Arsenal manager confirmed yesterday that he would have done so regardless of whether William Gallas had come in the opposite direction.

"In everybody's life, time helps you to see who really helped you," Wenger said. "And one day, certainly not this year, or next, but in 10 years he [Cole] will see that Arsenal was not as bad as that for him."

Certainly, Cole appeared to hold no grudge against Wenger, who he said had "been great to me and supportive to the last minute". For those at Arsenal, such as the vice-chairman, David Dein, whom Cole blames above all for reporting him and Chelsea to the Premier League and thereby triggering the inquiry, there was, somewhat remarkably, the prospect of peace, although that seems unlikely given the revelations likely to emerge next week.

"I will forgive them," Cole said. "What happens with me and David Dein has happened now. I wrote about it in my book, I have said things that I meant at the time and certain things I do mean but I don't want to keep going back."

Asked for one word to summarise the whole saga, Cole's incisive reply was "boring". That said just about everything about the attention of the protagonists to the finer moral details, although it is hardly a recommendation for his autobiography.

News
i100
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
The Prostate Cancer Foundation is returning all donations made by Redditors 'in honour' of Jennifer Lawrence and her naked photos
news

Website users raised funds after Jennifer Lawrence nude photo leak

News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
news

The Tardis-style house measures in at just 83 inches wide

News
advertising
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsDe Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
News
i100
Life and Style
Red or dead: An actor portrays Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory, rumoured to have bathed in blood to keep youthful
health
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Sport
England captain Wayne Rooney during training
FOOTBALLNew captain vows side will deliver against Norway for small crowd
News
peopleJustin Bieber charged with assault and dangerous driving after crashing quad bike into a minivan
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Radamel Falcao poses with his United shirt
FOOTBALLRadamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant in Colombia to Manchester United's star signing
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
9 best steam generator irons

9 best steam generator irons

To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
England v Norway: Wayne Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

New captain vows side will deliver for small Wembley crowd
‘We knew he was something special:’ Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing

‘We knew he was something special’

Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York