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Last Updated: Monday, 11 September 2006, 09:19 GMT 10:19 UK
Arsenal board let me down - Cole
Ashley Cole in action for Chelsea
Cole felt betrayed by Arsenal
Ashley Cole claims he joined Chelsea because he was angry that Arsenal made no serious attempt to keep him.

The England defender wanted 60,000 a week but says the Gunners board were only prepared to offer him 55,000.

"I don't believe the board gave a damn about keeping me, it preferred to haggle over a difference of 5,000," said Cole in his new book, My Defence.

After weeks of wrangling, Cole, 25, eventually signed for Chelsea just before the transfer deadline shut.

As part of the deal, William Gallas moved the other way, with Arsenal receiving an additional 5m from the Blues.

Cole, who is thought to have agreed a five-year deal with the Premiership champions, claims in his book that Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein had initially agreed to the wage demand with his agent, Jonathan Barnett.

The 25-year-old left-back was told of the board's refusal to sanction the deal while he was driving his car and says he "nearly swerved off the road".

The truth is that the Gunners had done nothing all season to hold on to me

Ashley Cole

"I was trembling with anger. I suppose it all started to fall apart for me from then on," he added.

At a subsequent meeting at Dein's house, Cole told the vice-chairman: "I feel betrayed and let down by a club I've given my heart and soul to."

Cole said his relationship with the club further soured when fitness coach Tony Colbert suggested the defender was faking an injury.

He told Colbert he was feeling OK as he walked into the changing rooms at Arsenal's training ground one day only to feel a sharp twinge in his thigh shortly afterwards.

When Colbert heard Cole now complaining of an injury, he said: "What do you expect me to do, Ash, when you tell me you're OK and then come in here like you've just been shot?

"Be honest with me, are you just making out that it's worse than it actually is because you've got an eye on the World Cup?"

Cole also felt he had been poorly treated in comparison to striker Thierry Henry, who eventually signed a new deal with the Gunners despite interest from Barcelona.

"The club made Thierry feel wanted and special, wooing him, wining and dining him, speaking in public about how much they wanted him to stay, going on a deliberate charm offensive," stated Cole.

Is it his fault? Is it our fault? Is it his agent's fault? That today is not really important

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

"But me? I didn't have one dinner, one meeting or one phone call from anyone.

"That's not sour grapes, it's just a sad truth. The truth is that the Gunners had done nothing all season to hold on to me."

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has refused to be drawn into a war of words with Cole over his controversial exit.

"We wish him well," said Wenger. "He is a good guy but he was in a situation where his feelings towards the club changed.

"Is it his fault? Is it our fault? Is it his agent's fault? That today is not really important.

"At the end of the day the most important thing is that he is happy and the club is happy."

SEE ALSO
Blues beat deadline to sign Cole
01 Sep 06 |  Premiership


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