Former Newcastle United star Andy Cole has admitted just how much he struggled with the fans on Tyneside during his spell at the club, revealing that he disliked the level of adoration supporters showed him on a day to day basis.
Before his disappointing departure for Manchester United, Cole was a popular figure in the football-mad city that is Newcastle, having scored 68 goals in three seasons at the club – including a stunning tally of 41 goals in the 1993/1994 campaign.
Andy has been involved in a question and answer with fans for FourFourTwo this week and his comments come over a little disappointing to me. Here’s what he had to say:
“It was difficult playing there. I was a young man and struggled to deal with the level of adoration. I just wanted to play football, go home and go out with my mates.
“When I went out, some punters would say, ‘Well done’. That was fine. Others wanted to hold court with you.
“I could be having a meal with my missus and people would come up and want to get involved in the conversation. It did my fruit in.
“I loved my football at Newcastle, but I felt trapped. And the more goals I scored, the worse it got. From the milkman to the bloke in the paper shop, everyone wanted to talk about football, football, football.”
Based on these comments, I’m not sure he quite got what it meant for us fans to see a player score goals for our beloved club.
I’m sure there comes a point where every popular footballer grows a little tired of the limelight or constant attention from fans, but I find it disappointing to hear Cole complain about having such adoring fans. But it comes with the territory when you’re lucky enough to have a prestigious role at a football club, never mind one where the entire city lives for 3pm on a Saturday.
Every player must deal with it differently, but Cole almost makes out as if this love from the fans was a hinderance not a help to him – a bizarre way of looking at it given so many players are surrounded by abuse not adoration in this day and age?