Hammers fans will always hold Joe in high esteem

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The biggest transfer chase of the close season ended when Joe Cole signed for Liverpool in perhaps the best free signing ever made in the Premier League.

Joe is the prodigal son to many West Ham fans, one of only a handful of players to live up to the hype. I was there the day Joe signed his professional contract on the pitch at Upton Park when the tannoy announcer said ‘you can tell your grandchildren you were here when Joe Cole signed for West Ham’. If ever pressure was heaped on a player it was that day.

Yet even two years before that I was at Q&A with Harry Redknapp where he waxed lyrical about a schoolboy who was probably the best young footballer he had ever worked with - true praise indeed considering a young Rio Ferdinand was sitting next to him.

When Joe left West Ham for Chelsea he never said a bad word about the club and hoped that one day he could return to play for West Ham again. This situation arose this year when it was announced that Chelsea were not going to renew his contract.

The West Ham owners were swift to offer Joe a name your price contract, whether he was tempted only Joe will know, but the lure of a return to West Ham and the supposed big wages that he was after was declined.

In my opinion he was right to because in signing for Liverpool he put the chance to achieve success and medals above money. I know he is likely to be well paid by Liverpool but if rumours are to be believed he turned down the opportunity to 33 per cent earn more at West Ham than at Liverpool.

When we hear footballers say that at the end of their careers they want to be judged on their medals than their bank balance it’s hard for us fans to believe them, yet Joe has made that choice.

Whether the chairman really believed they could entice Joe back to Upton Park is debatable. I believe it was just a statement of intent from the owners to the fans that, after last season's poor showing, they will not allow it to happen again.

Say what you like about the two Davids but they have invested a lot of time and quite a lot of their own money in saving West Ham which, in my book, does allow them to shout about it every now and then.

The signings they have made already will improve the first team, not just the squad, and they still seem to be actively pursuing more players despite inheriting a club which was in debt to the tune of £100 million.

We must either have a really understanding bank manager, or the chairmen have dipped into their own pockets for some of the money they are paying out. More likely that some of the saleable assets will need to be sold which, as long as it’s for the good of the club and does not leave us short of players like last season, then so be it.

As long as the likes of Scott Parker and Rob Green are not sold off we should progress.

Disclimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
Joe Cole
Scott Parker
Premier League
West Ham United

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