After teasing us with poorly written serialised excerpts and attention-seeking hints at stunning revelations on his departure from Arsenal, Ashley Cole has finally gotten to the good stuff.
Let’s get one thing out of the way first, this book is as terribly written as the next footballer book. The most bizarre part is that this abomination to literature has come about WITH the help of a professional writer and editing team. Yes it’s supposed to sound conversational and cater to the kind of people would buy a book by a footballer, but all we’re asking is to at least match the standards of your average Hardy Boys novel if you’re going to charge Â£18.99.
Anyway, childish writing aside, the latest revelations from Ashley Cole – while predictable – are actually not bad. Although he maintains a pathetic victim complex throughout, at least he points the finger directly at certain people at the club and provides plenty of details with each grievance. Of course there’s no way to know whether he’s telling the truth, but the accusations he is making are severe enough that Arsenal will likely respond.
As far as we can tell, here’s a quick breakdown of Mr. Tweedy’s revelations:
– He’s not greedy, but asked to leave because he didn’t get the wages he wanted.
– Cole loved Arsenal sooo much that he didnt consider Chelsea, Arsene Wenger planted that seed.
– David Dein is a prat.
– Arsene Wenger is the best.
– He didn’t understand why the fans got on his back, despite secretly meeting with Chelsea.
– He thinks he should get the same respect as Thierry Henry from the fans and club, despite secretly meeting with Chelsea.
– In fact, secretly meeting with Chelsea is barely mentioned at all. Strange…
We’ve put some of the best (and cringe-worthy) bits after the jump, or you can read the full serialisation here.
MY HEART AND SOUL WAS TIED TO Arsenal with a fishermanâ€™s knot. I donâ€™t think even Houdini could have unravelled it. Not for one minute did I see myself leaving. There was only ever one club in England, let alone London, and that was the Arsenal. That was before the 2004â€“05 season. That was before something precious was smashed into tiny pieces.
The deal he offered was a Â£10,000-a-week increase to Â£35,000. A hell of a lot of money. But, when taken in the context of football wages and his own estimated value of me of Â£20 million, and when placed next to those other Arsenal wages of between Â£80,000 and Â£100,000 a week, his offer was a piss-take. It was a slap in the face, not a pat on the back.
But I loved Arsenal, couldnâ€™t imagine playing for another club and wanted to stay. â€œSo get me Â£60,000 a week and Iâ€™ll be happy with that,â€ I said. The next thing I know, on December 20, Jonathan (Barnett) is on the phone with good news: â€œAsh, Iâ€™ve just met David Dein for breakfast at Claridgeâ€™s; weâ€™ve shaken on Â£60,000 a week.â€
At a board meeting held two days before our 1â€“0 away defeat at Bolton in January, it was decided the maximum offer should be Â£55,000 a week. I donâ€™t believe the board gave a damn about keeping me. It preferred to haggle over a difference of Â£5,000.
For me it was one more person at the club doubting my loyalty. And it was the final straw. Iâ€™d had a vice-chairman and board who had thrown my loyalty back in my face, fans whoâ€™d questioned my faith for a year, a dressing-room I didnâ€™t recognise any more and now someone seemingly doubting my professionalism.
MY WORST FEARS WERE CONFIRMED when, as Thierry (Henry) and I sat in the centre circle after the final whistle, his name was sung from the rooftops while my contribution was recognised by a deafening silence. As his chants faded away we waited for mine. And we waited. And there was nothing.
Even after the Thierry deal had been sorted, Arsenal still didnâ€™t approach me. The truth is I felt that the Gunners had done jack-shit all season to hold on to me.
When I got back it became clear that Arsenal were late to open up negotiations, Madrid were nowhere and all the paper talk was about Chelsea. Peter Kenyon made a Â£16 million offer but David Dein wanted Â£30 million; the same man who had told the FAPL inquiry that my value was between Â£15 and Â£20 million.
Iâ€™m not asking for sympathy â€” just an awareness of whatâ€™s gone on, how I didnâ€™t want to leave and how I feel the board messed things up. Not me. This situation couldnâ€™t have just been my fault. Iâ€™m not disloyal. Iâ€™m a loyal and honest person and Iâ€™ve got principles. I can wake up in the morning and look at myself in the mirror knowing that Iâ€™ve done no wrong. I tried to be fair. I tried to be decent. I wonder if the Arsenal board could say the same?