Cole at last Bridging gap with Stamford faithful

ASHLEY COLE seems to be winning over the Chelsea faithful and it’s about time. He was a very unpopular signing for a number of reasons. Obviously the long-term association with Arsenal was never going to make him an instant hit; that he was seen as taking the place of the popular Wayne Bridge also made some dislike him, which is hardly fair.

Ashley’s high-profile marriage and frequent appearances in the show-biz pages of the tabloids haven’t helped the public’s perception of him either, but I think he has become somewhat of a target by the red-tops. I’d wager that on at least a couple of occasions the so-called incidences he has been involved in have been largely engineered by the aforementioned journalists. But supporters need to put any pre-conceptions behind them and just recognise that the first season apart, he has been an outstanding signing. He has contained some of the greatest players in the world and in doing so has hugely contributed to our win ratio. It’s a contribution that has not gone unnoticed by his team mates as they voted him player of the season last year even if the supporters did not (I did!).

I have met him briefly on a couple of occasions and I can only speak as I find; he was polite, modest and more intelligent than your average player.

If Ancelotti can also add the additional dimension which allows Cole to score a few goals a season, especially of the quality of the one last Saturday, then his Gooner past may once and for all be forgotten and he could be accepted as a born-again blue by the Chelsea faithful.

Apparently “Shevchenko’s Chelsea Nightmare Is Finally at an End.” Which nightmare would that be then? Must be awful to earn in a week what the average man earns in four years, be married to a supermodel and receive adulation and encouragement from tens of thousands of people even when you are not contributing much. What an absolute disaster the signing of Shevchenko has been for Chelsea, probably the costliest mistake the club has ever made.

My only hope is that it has taught Roman Abramovich a valuable lesson – that he has no business buying players for experienced managers. Leave them to the footballing matters and you contain yourself to supporting the team and ensuring that the business side is taken care of. Paying £30m for a nine goal return in three years is very bad business and he needs reminding of that if ever again he is tempted to interfere in team affairs.

Now I am going to do something very unlike me – I am going to stick up for Arsenal and Arsene Wenger!

This Eduardo diving witch hunt is ridiculous and once again indicative of the fact that UEFA have it in for English clubs because of their dominance on the world stage. Are they trying to convince anyone that there was not another diving incident in any other game during the qualifying stages of the Champions League? Has anyone actually checked? What happens now – are they going to charge anyone else that charges in any other European game from this moment onwards? Are they going to have special “diving task-forces” to identify the perpetrators and bring them to justice? Or only those that are highlighted by the media? And those that are saying that Wenger should have come out and publicly denounced Eduardo’s actions – are they serious? Public humiliation led by the man charged with developing a team of individuals into a winning group – trust and mutual respect would be straight out of the window – for what? A pat on the back by the masses? It’s not going to happen. Just as Ferguson wouldn’t denounce Ronaldo and Mourinho wouldn’t denounce Drogba and that is exactly how it should be.

And before I get dozens of outraged letters – no, I am not condoning diving – I hate it, but all this self indulgent moral outrage is equally nauseating.

So we now go into the international break at the top of the table and unbeaten – couldn’t be better but we won’t know how sustainable this is until we have played one of the big boys as these games seem to have decided the league in recent years so I will keep my powder dry until then, but even so – happy days. But just to end on a sour note – John Terry gets a new five-year contract with a substantial pay rise – but it was never about the money was it John? Yeah, righto...

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