Former Chelsea and England winger Joe Cole has revealed that he rejected an approach from Sir Alex Ferguson in favour of an extended stay at West Ham. The 38-year-old was a target for the club but has insisted he has no regrets over the snub.
Cole left his childhood club West Ham in 2003 to join Chelsea but according to the man himself, Manchester United were interested in bringing him to Old Trafford before his move to the Blues happened.
The former Lille attacker even recalled times when Sir Alex Ferguson would get in touch with his parents in a bid to convince the then-promising youngster to commit to a career at Manchester United.
“Him (Sir Alex) and Harry (Redknapp) used to be ringing my mum and dad,” Cole told The Greatest Game Podcast, via kumpb.com. “It was Alex Ferguson ringing you up. So we went up there, I had a trial and they were great. We did all the usual things, got the shirt, had a look around and everything.
“But at that time, I’d made my mind up that I wanted to go to West Ham because my pals were there and we were a good side. We went on to win the Youth Cup.
“So I politely declined because I didn’t want to take something for nothing, effectively. That would have been a good experience as a kid as you can imagine, but that’s why he’s the best. He was thinking about four or five steps ahead. It was amazing.”
Despite rejecting a move to Old Trafford as a youth player, Cole went on to have a stellar career – although it was at times blighted by a series of bothersome injuries.