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The highs and lows of Andrew Cole

Andrew Cole

By Nabil Hassan

Andrew Cole's retirement from professional football this week may have been relatively low key, but his career was anything but.

You just have to look back at his career stats to realise that 'Goal King' Cole was a little bit special.

Only Alan Shearer has scored more goals than him (260) in the Premier League, with Cole notching 187.

Very few are more decorated than him with the Nottingham-born 37-year-old boasting a medal haul that includes five Premier League titles, two FA Cup trophies, the Champions League and the League Cup.

Cole - to put it in simple terms - won it all.

And he was not a bit part player either. His partnership with Dwight Yorke in the 1998-9 season was perhaps the most important ingredient in a United team that won a historic treble.

606: DEBATE
BBC Sport's Nabil Hassan

That season Cole and Yorke were untouchable, the hottest partnership in English football and were revered across Europe.

In all, Cole scored 93 times for the Red Devils, and went on to record 289 career goals.

But for all the success domestically he failed to take that form on to the international stage with Cole making only 15 appearances for England, scoring just once.

Cole talks to BBC Sport and looks back at the highs and lows of his 19-year career that started at Arsenal and ended at his home-town club Nottingham Forest.

BEST MEMORY

"It is hard to pick out one but I'd have to say that winning the treble at Manchester United...I don't think anything is going to top that. It was a special season."

BEST GOAL

"I've scored so many and a lot have been special so it would be difficult to say one.

"But maybe the goal that won us the championship (against Tottenham in 1999 on the last day of the season) in the treble-winning season would be up there."

BEST MANAGER

"Sir Alex Ferguson. He was the only manager who could always get the best out of me.

"I would like to believe that if I go into coaching I will learn something from him."

BEST FANS

"I loved the Manchester United supporters, they were great to me and I also played at St James' Park and they were incredible…I couldn't choose between them."

BEST PLAYING PARTNER

"It would be hard to choose between Dwight Yorke and Peter Beardsley. They were different players but brilliant in their own way."

BEST PLAYER

"There were so many I couldn't pick one, but Eric Cantona would be up there.

"I never feared any opponent but played against some great players like Paolo Maldini and Des Walker in his heyday."

BIGGEST REGRET

"I left Manchester United too early. I was only 30 and could have played on there and that is the only one that wrangles with me."

PLAYING FOR ENGLAND

"I played 15 times so I don't see that as a regret. It didn't work out, but lots of people play a lot for their country but never win a thing domestically. I've done just that and I have no axe to grind."

HANGING UP THE BOOTS

"It was an easy decision to make. I had made my mind up in September to retire from football.

"I went to Nottingham Forest to play as many games as possible and that wasn't happening. I knew I couldn't play all of them but I was only a bit-part player and after everything I have achieved in the game I wasn't going to do that for anybody."

THE FUTURE

"I still love the game, I haven't fallen out of love with it and that is why at some stage I want to return to it. I am doing my coaching badges and my intention is to put in what I've taken out.

"I'm enjoying a bit of break at the moment and having some time on my hands, but I can only do nothing for so long."


Andrew Cole will be a guest on Saturday's Football Focus, 1210 GMT on BBC One.



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see also
Striker Cole ends playing career
11 Nov 08 |  Football
Cole hangs up boots
11 Nov 08 |  Football
Veteran striker Cole exits Forest
31 Oct 08 |  Nottm Forest
Cole eyes "ideal" end to career
07 Jul 08 |  Nottm Forest
McGugan hails 'fantastic' signing
14 Jul 08 |  Nottm Forest
Sunderland complete Cole capture
24 Aug 07 |  Sunderland
Portsmouth complete Cole signing
31 Aug 06 |  Portsmouth
Cole quits England
09 May 02 |  England
Cole's fresh challenge
29 Dec 01 |  Man Utd
Cole handed England call-up
24 Aug 00 |  Football


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