Chelsea fans love Ashley Cole. Arsenal fans can’t stand the bloke.
We all know why, but just in case, let’s refresh our memories. Cole, who was one of Arsenal’s Invincibles, came through the youth ranks at Highbury and was a boyhood fan.
But in 2006, Cole decided to leave Arsenal to join Jose Mourinho at Chelsea. As you could have imagined, it wasn’t the most popular decision among Gooners.
Cole’s move was a rushed and clumsy deal, with Chelsea paying Arsenal £5million on deadline day in summer 2006, plus William Gallas going the other way.
At Chelsea, Cole won his third Premier League title in 2010 and added four FA Cups to the three he won as an Arsenal player. He reached his domestic zenith in 2012, when he won the Champions League with the Blues.
When Cole left Arsenal for Chelsea, he became to many one of the most maligned people in football, a man so willing to make as much cash as possible, that he’d sell out his boyhood club for the new-money Stamford Bridge. To others, he made a great decision, adding pots to his trophy cabinet that he wouldn’t have won if he’d have stayed with Arsene Wenger.
Here’s a great shirt from one of Cole’s more difficult periods as a Chelsea player. In the 2008-09 season, Luiz Felipe Scolari failed to make a Chelsea side brimming with talent click. The likes of Michael Ballack, John Terry and Frank Lampard simply couldn’t deliver under the great Brazilian coach, who eventually was canned in favour of Guus Hiddink.
The biggest blow for Chelsea that season was the defeat by Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final. Barca were fortuitous (to say the least) and managed to wriggle through to the final after Andres Iniesta scored a sublime winner at Stamford Bridge.