'I hope I can give the club a few memorable seasons': Joe Cole completes switch to West Ham

Former England midfielder brings spell at Liverpool to an end

It didn't seem like over nine years ago since he last pulled on a training top at Chadwell Heath but as Joe Cole looked around his first footballing home yesterday, not that much had changed.

The old place has been smartened up somewhat and the kids who climbed the wall to catch a glimpse of young Cole and his team-mates have been replaced by others.

In essence, though, the intervening years at Chelsea, Liverpool and Lille, just melted away as West Ham’s prodigal son shook hands with old friends and looked forward to a new career in familiar surroundings. Cole, who today signed an 18-month contract at Upton Park, should make his second debut for the club in tomorrow’s FA Cup third-round tie at home against Manchester United — and he cannot wait.

“Coming back here brings back all the memories,” said Cole, 31. “This is where I learnt my trade and I’m happy to have another chance to be here.

“The timing was right for me to come back and I’m happy. I’m back in London and I’m delighted. Now I want to make an impact.

“The place may not have changed to look at much but I think Sam Allardyce has done a great job with the team. A few years ago, the club were in a bad way. All in all, though, it will always be West Ham. The history will always be here and everywhere I go, people know me for having started here.”

Cole, who joined West Ham as an 11-year-old, is a vastly different individual from the one who left to join Chelsea in August 2003 for £6.6million.

He played 282 times for the Stamford Bridge club under a number of managers, including Jose Mourinho, winning three Premier League titles and battling back from a serious knee injury.

Cole then moved to Liverpool in the summer of 2010, when he became Roy Hodgson’s first signing, but he made just nine Premier League starts for the Anfield club and 42 appearances during a season-long loan with Lille in France.

Cole said: “I have had 18 months at Liverpool where I haven’t played much football and Sam wants to play me. I’m going to need games to get back to my best but I want to play football and come here and help the team to make an impact.

“I could see from the outside what a great bunch of lads we have here at the club and I’m excited. The first season in the Premier League is always the toughest one and they have done brilliant to get 26 points on the board. We would like to match that in the second half of the season and crack on from there.”

Islington-born Cole is desperate to shine at the club who nurtured him. “I owe them a little bit because if it wasn’t for West Ham I wouldn’t be a footballer,” he said. “The great youth team coaches here taught me the trade.”

Cole’s French excursion with Lille has also widened his knowledge. “Lille played in the Champions League and finished third in their domestic League,” he said. “It was good technical football with a lot of great players. I enjoyed my time there and it was only during my spell at Liverpool that I didn’t play as much as I’d have liked.That happens but I’ve moved on.”

Cole is likely to go straight into Allardyce‘s team against United tomorrow and he said: “I’ve come here to play football. I love playing football and what better way to do it than against Manchester United at home?”

Cole won the first of his 56 England caps against Mexico in 2001 while still a West Ham player and he has not given up on resurrecting his international career.  He said: “I still harbour ambitions to play for England but I need to make sure my form is good for West Ham. I need to play games because although I’ve got a couple of goals for Liverpool this season, it was all ‘bitty’.

“To get back to my best, I need games and to build up my fitness levels again.

“It will be a lovely thing to be back in the West Ham shirt. All the boys here are keen to get to that magical 40 points as quick as possible and then really enjoy the season.

“We have a great game against United tomorrow which nobody expects us to win. Both clubs have got a great history in the FA Cup.”

Cole could soon be joined at West Ham by Arsenal’s Moroccan striker Marouane Chamakh, according to The Evening Standard.

The Upton Park club have been in talks with their London rivals about a loan deal for Chamakh, who joined Arsenal from Bordeaux on a free transfer in 2010.

 

 

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum