The Cole conundrum

Go on admit it; you breathed a sigh of relief when Cole’s move to Stoke fell through.

The enigma of Carlton Cole is a far reaching topic, one which splits many Hammers fans… some see him as a player with immense ability but who lacks consistency and confidence and there are those who are convinced he is devoid of all talent and is stealing a living as a footballer.

I admit it I’m very much a card-carrying member of the former.

I don’t know if the club can afford to keep Cole; I’d suspect not but if there is any way that we can keep hold of him, I think it could possibly be the best bit of business the club could do this summer.

In fact I’ll go as far to say that if we keep hold of Carlton Cole it will virtually guarantee promotion.

I do laugh when I hear through social networking sites all the fans that slate Cole and are desperate for him to leave. I’d like to ask those very fans if Cole was sold just who on earth do you reckon we could get in to replace him? Fans slag him off but go on I ask you; name somebody better we could get to play for us in the Championship?

Sam Allardyce won’t admit it due to the fact there’s still a chance that Cole could leave but I guarantee he’d love to work with him. I ask you all to think back to the summer of 2003 Kevin Davies had just been released by Southampton and a certain Big Sam brought him to Bolton Wanderers…where he moulded and shaped Davies into one of the most feared strikers in England. (One who’s continued to haunt us over the years with his perennial headers at the near and far posts)

Ask Sam Allardyce what he could do with Cole; a player far quicker, mobile and who’s just plain and simply a better athlete and the result could well be the Didier Drogba of the Championship.

I see West Ham next season playing a 4-3-3 system as it perfectly incorporates our strongest department which is midfield with Collison, Nolan and Noble pulling the strings, breaking up play and starting attacks; with Sears and Stanislas operating down the wings and of course with Carlton Cole as the focal point.

Last season Cole spent the majority of the season isolated as Grant didn’t deploy the right players into his three man attack. Instead of playing out and out wingers he would favour playing strikers in the shape of Piquionne, Ba or Keane thus Cole never got the width or the service that was needed for him to thrive.

Next season (provided we can afford keep to him) with two out-and-out wide men supplying the ammunition - not to mention the aforementioned midfield trio picking him out at every opportunity - and with Sam’s words of wisdom still ringing fresh in his ears there is no reason why Cole couldn’t go on and bag himself 25-30 goals.

When you consider that the club were looking to sign Craig Mackail-Smith as a probable replacement for Coley (a striker who forged his reputation in League One) I think it shows the limit of our ambitions at this level.

It’s fair to say that over the last few years we have truly seen the best and worst of Carlton Cole; we’ve seen him score some absolute wonder goals that if a certain Scouse geezer playing in Manchester red had scored they’d still been shown on Sky Sports adverts and we’ve also seen him miss virtual tap ins.

Somewhere between these two sides of our enigmatic front man lies the real Cole; his problem has always been with consistency and confidence and never with his ability, if you ask me.

If you look at what Sam Allardyce did with Kevin Davies all those years ago (can anyone even remember him pre-Allardyce?) I can’t help but believe that Sam could do even more with Cole

When you factor in that instantly you would expect him to score more goals at a lower level, that next season he will be utilised properly with dynamic and pacey wingers around him and of course with Big Sam’s proven track-record of getting the best out of the players at his disposal and add to the fact that if he was sold we couldn’t possibly get anyone better in to replace him… I think we’ll all agree that if we can afford to keep Cole we can’t afford to lose him.

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