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Opinion

Surely Andy Cole couldn’t embarrass himself more than singing Kevin Keegan song – I was wrong

11 months ago
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Andy Cole was an inspired signing by Kevin Keegan.

Having failed to make it at Arsenal, the striker was playing in the Championship with Bristol City.

With Newcastle United heading towards promotion, Kevin Keegan broke the NUFC transfer record to sign Andy Cole for £1.75m in February 1993.

The 21 year old had not exactly tore the Championship up, scoring 12 goals in 29 Bristol City appearances in the first six months of that 1992/93 season.

However, Kevin Keegan knew what he was doing.

KK paying a similar transfer fee after promotion to sign a 32 year old Peter Beardsley in summer 1993.

Arguably the greatest Newcastle United partnership any of us have ever seen that season, as between them, Andy Cole and Peter Beardsley scored 55 Premier League goals between them in 1993/94, 65 goals in all competitions. The Magpies finishing third in the league in their first season up.

Andy Cole was at Newcastle United for 23 months, leaving in January 1994 for Man Utd, Les Ferdinand was (sadly) only at Newcastle United for around two years as well (both seasons Newcastle finished PL runners-up). Yet their lasting legacies are very different.

Both of them loved for what they did on the pitch BUT very different when it comes to their behaviour off it. Sir Les really got Newcastle United and the city / region / fans, Andy Cole not so much.

For fans who had loved him at St James Park, to see Andy Cole later at Wembley with Man Utd singing the derogatory ‘Cheer up Kevin Keegan’ song…well, you just wouldn’t have seen a classy individual such as Les Ferdinand doing that. Disrespecting the manager and club who had transformed his career, as Kevin Keegan might have said, Andy Cole went a long way down in our estimation that day…

Up to the present day and Andy Cole is trying to have a career as a media pundit.

When speaking, he will usually be seen as representative of the views of both Newcastle United and Manchester United, the two clubs where he shined most brightly at.

When asked to speak about NUFC, the idea is allegedly that he knows what he is talking about having been a Newcastle United player etc etc and will be reliable in terms of giving a valid insight into his old club and have a handle on what the NUFC fans think…

“I think Brucie [Steve Bruce] always tries to do the right thing.”

***Warning – Andy Cole played alongside ‘Brucie’ for Manchester United

“When he first go the job at Newcastle, the fans didn’t accept him because he wasn’t Rafa Benitez.”

Hmmm, I think you will find that Newcastle fans weren’t keen on him because he was Steve Bruce, not because he wasn’t Rafa Benitez.

“If you look at his record, it is just as good as Rafa Benitez.”

Comparing the two managers is something that the vast majority of Newcastle fans have long left behind…however, if Andy Cole is wanting to compare records, well, the last three seasons and this part season so far have Newcastle between 10th and 13th in the Premier League. However, Rafa had to cope with a net spend of around zero in his three and a bit years at Newcastle, whilst Steve Bruce has been given a £100m+ net spend in the three windows so far.

If Andy Cole really really wants to talk about respective records then it does then allow us to get to the main reason why Newcastle fans were so disappointed when Mike Ashley forced Rafa Benitez out and replaced him with Steve Bruce. Bruce has never won anything as a manager, never had a team finish top eight of the Premier League, one European campaign that ended before Hull got to September. Rafa on the other hand has won Champions League, La Liga twice, two Europa Leagues, FA Cup, Italian cup and so on.

“What Newcastle [fans] have got to understand is, that they are not going to be in with a chance of winning the Premier League any more.

“I think a lot of the fans still think that yes, we have got a great opportunity to compete and try and win the Premier League.”

These though are the killer lines above.

Even the most clueless random pundits know that this isn’t the case. Newcastle fans aren’t believing we are anything remotely close to title contenders, unless the club we support was a very different one under new owners, even then it would take monumental transformation to achieve that.

Sadly, it feels like ex-players who are desperate to get media work, such as Andy Cole, almost feel obliged to trot out total nonsense like that, portraying Newcastle supporters as absolutely deluded and believing winning regular silverware is only out of reach because of having the wrong manager.

Whilst we all are desperate to see Mike Ashley sell the club, until that happens, like fans of every club, we just want to see NUFC have the best managers and players possible.

It is such a stupid thing to have to justify but if we are forced to have this Rafa Benitez or Steve Bruce argument, is there a single fan of any football club who would claim they would rather have Bruce over Benitez and / or claim that if say they were given five years to do their best at a club, that they would be better off after five years of Steve Bruce, rather than five years of Rafa Benitez?

Andy Cole speaking to Talksport:

“I think Brucie [Steve Bruce] always tries to do the right thing.

“When he first go the job at Newcastle, the fans didn’t accept him because he wasn’t Rafa Benitez.

“If you look at his record, it is just as good as Rafa Benitez.

“But his name is Steve Bruce.

“His name is not Rafa Benitez.

“And I think he has done a great job there.

“What Newcastle [fans] have got to understand is, that they are not going to be in with a chance of winning the Premier League any more.

“I think a lot of the fans still think that yes, we have got a great opportunity to compete and try and win the Premier League.”

Talksport presenter:

“Well they [Newcastle fans] say that is not their motivation for not falling in love with Steve Bruce. They say that it is actually they just want to have ambition as a team, but I think Steve does have ambition.”

Andy Cole:

“Yes, I think he does.

“There is no way he [Steve Bruce] would have took that job believing, I’ve got no ambition, I’m just going to keep Newcastle up.

“No, I genuinely do believe that Newcastle deserve more than that.

“You know, I think Steve will try and take Newcastle as far as he can do, considering the funds he has and the players he can bring into Newcastle United.”

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