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Carlton Cole - a love/hate relationship

Filed: Wednesday, 23rd January 2013
By: Lucy Woolford

Carlton Cole is in his seventh season at West Ham United, which makes him our second longest-serving player. With rumours of his exit surfacing again in this January transfer window, it got me thinking about our complicated relationship status with the misfiring striker.

There is no doubt that Carlton Cole is one of the nicest men in English football. I donít think anyone can argue with that. Take the Sky Sports interview broadcast last Saturday. He was talkative, smiling, relaxed and able to make a joke as well as take one. Importantly, he was also honest.

When asked about a possible move this January, he was quick to deny any movement. He is happy to stay and prove himself. Ok, it might be argued that anyone would stay if they were being paid to miss open goals that by his own admission his mum would have scored, but Cole strikes me as a tryer.

He clearly loves playing at West Ham. I know thatís a rose-tinted view we have of a lot of our players, but Carlton has been tempted elsewhere many times and probably for higher wages. He is one of the few men in the game who would actually be willing to accept a pay cut, as he did to stay with West Ham after relegation in 2011, and in this day and age that speaks volumes.

To boost the ďMr Nice GuyĒ image Iíve heard countless stories of Carlton staying behind to sign autographs, take pictures and talk to his fans no matter how long it takes. Iíve seen pictures on Twitter of peopleís kids with him saying how he couldnít do enough for them, and if someone as genuine as this wants to finish his career at West Ham, we can only take that as a compliment.

But then thereís the other side of Carlton Cole, the side we all love to hate. His unfortunate failings as a footballer are a big part of why we wouldnít miss him if he did go. His header on goal that hit the keeper and allowed Joe Cole to score against QPR at the weekend was a rarity. It is not often that Carlton can outjump an opponent, which is why I was so shocked that he had managed it. He also knows how to misplace a pass, run into the wrong space and wave his arms around a bit.

Maybe itís a confidence thing. I know we hear it so much in football these days, but it must be a big part of being a professional footballer. If things arenít going your way, youíre obviously not going to have massive self belief. But Carlton has had so many people telling him how great his abilities are on a good day. We might not always listen to what Phil Thompson has to say, but after the previously mentioned interview on Sky Sports last weekend, Phil remarked how many players he would pick Carlton Cole over.

Several West Ham managers have also shown their faith in Cole. He has played under four managers, all of which have had him as their main striker at some point. From the stands, fans have been asking what they all see in him, because from what weíre seeing, heís not making much of a positive contribution, and definitely canít manage as a lone striker. But the confidence that being picked and highly rated by so many managers should give him must be enough to improve his self-belief.

To be fair, and strike a bit of balance, Iíve had a quick tally up of average Premier League games scored in, and compared it to a few other high profile, low confidence strikers. Cole has scored 34 goals in 152 Premier League appearances, which is a 22% success rate. Compare that to Torresí 20% strike rate at Chelsea and Andy Carrollís 14% at Liverpool, then we realise that itís not unusual.

Regardless of his inabilities, I can never excuse booing off your own players, especially someone like Cole who gives 100% even if itís not good enough. I can understand a frustrated shout every time he misplaces a pass or a call to ďcome onĒ when he fails to jump higher than an elephant, but not booing off or even booing on. I know we sing his name really loudly, but at the same time weíre laughing at him.

I know he only has himself to blame really. He needs to work on his passing and movement. His natural striking ability is not in question; he can score some of the best goals in the league with a clever touch, he just needs to utilise this ability. We donít know what goes on in the dressing room, but maybe he also needs an ultimatum. He has competition now from Carroll, Chamakh, Maguire, Maiga and Vaz Te. Maybe he will up his game until he is the best option.

Sorry Carlton, as a man and as a tryer I love you, but I think youíve served your time at this club, and Iíd wish you well wherever else you wanted to go. But if you do see out your career at Upton Park, finish on a high eh?

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

Your Comments

by Daryl Birchall
03:04PM 11th Feb 2013
''I've been saying it for the last two or three seasons, as long as we keep on playing Carlton Cole we will never improve.

He may be a very nice guy but he needs to move on for the sake of both parties. He is very upsetting to watch, as to me he never appears to be switched on. He'd rather fall over and look for a free kick than stay on his feet and attack the goal.

He's a striker, but very rarely shoots at goal. He's just content to hold the ball up and pass. He seems to also have lost his pace and fitness. Those games when he's simply unplayable no longer exist.

He's got to go. A new club might re-kindle his undoubted talent.''

by blocky
07:54AM 30th Jan 2013
''What a totally patronising piece. How nice of the author to balance out her opinions on Carlton's play with stories of what a a nice bloke he is. In summary, the author has little or no idea of how the modern loan centre forward is mean to play.

I agree, he's not scoring goals, but in all the games you've watched him play, did you count the number of ridiculous long passes were just fired at him when he he has little or no support? Numerous times this season, he has bought the ball under control, and looked to make the simple lay off. Where was his support? Nowhere. Who was his support meant to be? Nolan. Simply, you can't sit there slagging off Carlton if you don't also look closely at the tactics neing given to the team, or the supposed support that should be running off of him.''

by keith cockayne
06:22PM 26th Jan 2013
''Totally disagree. Carlton is a great player and I hope we can keep him until he finishes his career.''

by Andy Bint
08:26AM 24th Jan 2013
''Loyalty to one's club is rare these days and I respect those who have it. I have watched the Hammers and Cole for years and although I am sure he is a great guy he simply is not a good striker. He is a big man who gets shunted off the ball and out jumped far to easily. His finishing is poor and spends his life on the floor. He cannot run past any defender in the prem league.

All the other teams above us in the Prem have strikers who are around the 10 goal mark, as they should be at this time of year. His attempt just before half time in last night's embarassment at Arsenal is a good example. Any other decent striker would have buried that easily.

The reason he keeps getting a look in is only because we keep buying a whole lot of rubish like Vaz Te and Maiga. Get rid of Cole and the pile of average front runners and get two quality front men with pace and strength before we get relegated.''

by gingertrickster
07:02PM 23rd Jan 2013
''During his run in the side he has scored twice as many as Carroll has for us.''

by stuart
02:49PM 23rd Jan 2013
''Great comments. I am a Cole fan, every one slates him but hes proven that we do need him. He was on for five minutes last week and he already done more than Chamakh. He made the goal.

Stay Coley, you're claret and blue through and through... West Ham til I die.''

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