Andy Cole had everything it took to be a top striker in the Premier League; Pace, skill, vision and an incredible eye for goal.
This makes it no surprise that he currently stands as the all-time second highest goal scorer in Premier League history with a whopping 187 goals. The talented striker also has plenty of success to boast about, as he won five Premier League titles, two FA Cups, the Champions League and a League Cup.
Andrew Alexander Cole was born on the 15th of October 1971 in Nottingham, England and began his football career at Arsenal where he developed as a youth player and signed a professional contract in 1989.
The striker was sold to Bristol City in 1992 and scored 20 goals in 41 appearances for his new club, which attracted attention from bigger clubs. Newcastle United signed the goalscorer for £1.75m in 1993 and he scored 12 goals in 12 games to help them top Division One and gain promotion to the Premier League.
Cole became a regular in the Newcastle side in the 93/94 season and developed a partnership with Peter Beardsley which helped the striker score 34 goals in 40 games in his first season in the Premier League.
This included a stunning hat-trick against Liverpool in a 3-0 win over the Reds and it was no surprise that Cole was named PFA Young Player of the Year in 1994 as he helped Newcastle finished 3rd in the league.
Cole scored nine times for Newcastle in their first 18 games of the 94/95 season but Manchester United swooped in and signed the striker for £7m on the 10th of January 1995.
Cole managed to score twelve goals in 18 appearances for United in the second half of the 94/95 season. The striker netted in a 1-0 win over Villa and scored five times in a 9-0 thrashing of Ipswich Town as United finished the season in second place in the Premier League.
Cole struggled to find form in the 95/96 season as he was seen to be in Eric Cantona’s shadow but he did manage to win his first piece of silverware as United won the Premier League and the FA Cup.
Cole almost went to Blackburn before the 96/97 season as United offered him as part of a swap deal for Alan Shearer, who instead opted to go to Newcastle United. The striker then suffered a massive blow by breaking both legs in a reserve game against Liverpool, which kept him out for a huge chunk of the season. He returned to score nine goals in 20 appearances and win back to back Premier League titles.
Eric Cantona left Old Trafford in 1997 and this left Cole as United’s main striker. He rose to the challenge by becoming the joint-top goal scorer with 18 goals in the 97/98 season. Cole’s stand out moment in the 97/98 season came when he scored an incredible chip against Everton.
The 98/99 season was a huge success for United and Cole as they lifted the FA Cup, the Premier League and the Champions League trophy. It was also an incredible season for Cole individually as he developed an influential partnership with Dwight Yorke, scored the winner in the Champions League semi-final against Juventus and scored his 100th Premier League goal on the 17th of February 1999.
Cole continued to be impressive in the 99/00 season as he was United’s top scorer with 19 goals in 28 league appearances as he won his 4th Premier League title in five seasons at United.
Cole’s influence in the United team began to decrease as he only managed 19 appearances and nine goals in the 00/01 season as United lifted the Premier League trophy again. Ruud van Nistelrooy arrived at United in 2001, which led to limited game time for Cole and he left Old Trafford on the 29th of December 2001, signing for Blackburn.
It only took a few weeks for Cole to win his first piece of silverware at Blackburn as his winning goal helped them defeat Tottenham in the League Cup final on the 24th of February 2002.
Cole also managed to score nine times in 15 appearances as Blackburn finished 10th in the league. Blackburn improved in the 02/03 season as they finished in 6th place and qualified for the UEFA Cup.
Cole scored eleven times in 34 appearances in the 03/04 season but Blackburn slipped to 15th in the league. The striker also reported his manager Graeme Souness to the PFA for unfair treatment, which made his exit from Blackburn unsurprising.
Cole signed a one-year contract with Fulham in 2004 and became the club’s top scorer in the 04/05 season as he scored 12 league goals, including one of the goals of the season against Liverpool. Cole shockingly left Fulham after one season and signed for Manchester City where he scored nine times in 22 appearances before his 05/06 season was ended in March due to injury.
The striker then moved on to Portsmouth on the 31st of August 2006. The move was a total failure as Cole failed to break into the first team and was even loaned out to Wolves for a short spell, which led to Portsmouth releasing him in 2007.
The striker was reunited with Roy Keane and Dwight Yorke at Sunderland for the 07/08 season but failed to score after seven appearances, which led to him being loaned to Burnley. Sunderland released Cole in the summer of 2008 and he signed a twelve-month deal with Nottingham Forest, which was eventually cancelled. This led to Andy Cole announcing his retirement on the 11th of November 2008.
Sarah Fitzpatrick, Pundit Arena