United were blessed with many great players during our swaggering 90’s pomp, but for a number of reasons, Andrew Cole’s huge contribution to that success is often overlooked. Perhaps it’s something to do with the fact he never sought the limelight (barring a brief crack at pop stardom) unlike a number of his peers. Other players had the haircuts and the headlines whilst he quietly got on with the job of scoring goals and winning trophies.
It was therefore something of a surprise to learn that Cole was working on a new book due to be published in late 2019, (his previous effort being rush released back in 1999 following the treble season). Pulled at the last minute for reasons unknown, Fast Forward (Hodder & Stoughton, £20) finally appeared with little fanfare in November, a full 12 months later than originally planned.
So whether the delay was due to lawyers getting involved or other more banal reasons is anyone’s guess. Nevertheless, there’s a disappointing lack of MUFC-related revelations to be unearthed within its pages. Much of the content is a no-frills career retrospective on a par with the overwhelming majority of ghost-written player autobiographies. There’s very little detail that hasn’t been documented elsewhere. Yes, Cole was surly and impulsive in his youth, he unsurprisingly has little time for Glenn Hoddle and the oft-rumoured feud with Teddy Sheringham was 100% true.
The most affecting part of the book comes in the final chapters where Cole candidly details how his previously enviable footballer life unravelled once his playing career ended. Against the backdrop of his marriage falling apart, first his daughter overcame serious illness before he himself suffered renal failure which ultimately led to a kidney transplant in 2017. It’s a stark change in tone as Cole soberly reflects on his life now, tentatively looking towards the future whilst dealing with the after effects of life changing surgery and the impact on his mental health.
Copyright Red News – March 2021