Chelsea legend Ashley Cole has revealed that he is still hurt by the backlash which he received when he joined the Blues from London rivals Arsenal in 2006.
Cole, who is a product of the Gunners’ youth development system, moved to Stamford Bridge for £5 million in a move which saw William Gallas moving the other way. After breaking into Arsene Wenger’s first team in 1999, Cole went on to make 156 league appearances for his boyhood club, scoring eight goals.
He was a much-loved figure at Arsenal and went on to help the club win two Premier League titles and three FA Cups. Cole was an important member of the Arsenal squad which famously won the 2003-04 Premier League season without losing a game as he went on to make 32 League appearances that season for a squad which also contained the likes of Thierry Henry, Patrick Viera, Dennis Bergkamp and Jens Lehmann.
In spite of once being a much-loved player at Arsenal, Cole lost respect in the eyes of many fans of the club when he left the Gunners to join Chelsea. Many Gunners fans to this day still believe that the move was financially motivated.
The 38-year-old Cole who currently plies his trade for Championship club Derby County has revealed that the criticism which he received over the Arsenal move still hurts him to this day.
When discussing the hurt that he received over the move, he said as reported by the Chelsea website: “It’s still there. It hurts me because it wasn’t just my fault. I didn’t leave for no reason. I didn’t go to Arsene Wenger and say ‘today I want to leave’ – there was more to it.
“It happens in football and I see it happen to a lot of other players. It’s life. I moved on and they moved on, but I do feel sometimes a bit sad because it was my club and I played there since I was nine. To have that ill-feeling from the fans still is hard sometimes.”