For reasons I am not going to go into here Ashley Cole hasn’t always been the most popular person at The Emirates.
There was a day though when Cole, who will celebrate getting his 100th cap for England tonight, was the toast of North London and one of only small group of Englishmen in Arsene Wenger’s finest Arsenal teams.
It sounds now that Cole is holding out a bit of an olive branch to Gooners too.
At a special event for England sponsors Vauxhall to commemorate his 100th international appearance, Cole revealed that the inspiration behind his career was Arsenal legend David Rocastle.
News 24 reports that he told the attendees that he had a five minute chat with Rocastle and that it was that conversation that spurred him on to become a footballer.
“I supported Arsenal at the time and he was someone I wanted to be like,” said Cole.
“After he spoke to me for those five minutes, it was all I wanted to be.
“Now I look back and think what a great career I have had but I will never forget speaking to him.”
Rocastle, who tragically died in 2001 after battling with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, remains an Arsenal legend with the chorus of ‘Rocky, Rocky, Rocky, Rocastle’ still sung regularly at The Emirates.
Maye Cole, is not just saluting his hero but at the same time acknowledging the key role Arsenal played in his development as a player.
I met Rocastle once in the early 90s. We chatted for a lot longer than five minutes (he was a very genial person) though alas I never made it the Arsenal squad. He did tell me a bizarre story that he was a regular at White Hart Lane!? even when he had signed for Arsenal, and that apart from a bit of banter he even enjoyed hanging out with the Spurs fans. He clearly loved Arsenal though and I imagine that when he was sold a few years later he would have been crushed.