November 13, 2018
Sir Alex Ferguson sent Joe Cole a Manchester United shirt with his name on the back in order to tempt him to sign for the club.
The former West Ham and Chelsea midfielder announced his retirement from football on Tuesday afternoon, after an illustrious career which saw him represent England at the World Cup and win three Premier League titles.
Sir Alex Ferguson tried three things to sign Joe Cole for Manchester United
However, Cole's career could have taken a different path when he was scouted by Ferguson prior to his move to Chelsea in 2003.
Former West Ham manager Harry Redknapp revealed in his autobiography back in 2013 the extreme lengths United had gone to try and recruit him.
Ferguson sent Cole a customised shirt with his name on the back, as well as inviting the youngster onto the team bus for an FA Cup Final and invitation for the midfielder to train at the club.
“Sir Alex Ferguson sent him a Manchester United kit with COLE 10 written on the back,” Redknapp explained in his book .
“‘This is what your shirt will look like when you play for Manchester United,’ read the message. Alex was desperate to get him.
“He even invited him to travel on the team bus when United got to an FA Cup Final. Arsenal were into him, Chelsea were into him, but I knew Joe was happiest playing for West Ham. So I gave him space.
“When George [Joe’s dad) said Joe had been invited up to train for two weeks at Manchester United, I let him go.
Sir Alex Ferguson tried three things to sign Joe Cole for Manchester United
“I could have got annoyed, said that he had signed schoolboy forms with us and threatened to report United, but what good would that have done? It would just have antagonised George and we’d lost the player.
“‘Great, George,’ I told him. ‘Let Joe go, let him have a look around, but never forget, we’d love him here. he’s going to be in the first team in no time, you know. But Manchester United? What a great experience. Tell him to enjoy himself.’
“So we’d lose Joe for two weeks, but he wouldn’t have as much fun as he did at West Ham where he knew everybody and got on with all the boys, so he’d come back more in love with our place than ever.”
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