Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Whirlwind Two Years in Black and White for the One That Got Away

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Whirlwind Two Years in Black and White for the One That Got Away

Article excerpt

DEPARTING Tyneside in a bombshell transfer less than two years after he arrived, Andy Cole managed to condense 68 goals into his 84 games as a Newcastle United striker.

It was a whirlwind Toon career for a player idolised during his time in black and white and, despite dividing the crowd somewhat since his departure, the frequency and quality of goals is impossible to ignore.

Of course it would have to be to Manchester United that he travelled, his January 1995 transfer famously drawing Kevin Keegan out onto the St James' Park steps to justify a sale which had the club's legion of followers asking one simple question. Why? A British record fee of PS7million (PS6million plus Keith Gillespie) might well have had something to do with it and, for all that Alan Shearer and Les Ferdinand eventually picked up the cudgels, Cole's absence from the Newcastle armoury delivered a much truer picture of what he was worth.

Pointing into space and latching onto through-balls, his spinning finishes and ruthless touch in front of goal would become commonplace in an era when Newcastle was simply rocking.

It was a heady time to follow the club, Cole surfing onto the black and white wave just at the point when it was gathering serious speed in February 1993.

The goals of David Kelly and Gavin Peacock had fired United to the top of the second tier, but in Cole they had another element.

A junior with Arsenal who had failed to make the Highbury grade, the Nottingham-born front man had been farmed out to the West Country to make his name, Bristol City getting more than their money's worth with a PS500,000 swoop.

In the blink of an eye that turned into PS1.75m when Newcastle came calling, two hat-tricks in the 92-93 promotion run-in helping Cole average a goal a game in his 12 Toon run-outs.

Notching Newcastle's first Premier League goal it would not be the last time he would net at Old Trafford, a ground at which he would enjoy greater successes in the red of Manchester United. …

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