Friday 04 January 2013
Joe Cole has completed his return to his boyhood club after agreeing to join West Ham United on a free transfer from Liverpool.
The 31-year-old, who graduated from the West Ham youth academy to make his first-team debut in 1999, has signed an 18-month contract at Upton Park after passing a medical on Thursday.
"It is a great move for me,” Cole told the club’s official website. “This is where I learnt my trade and I'm happy to have another chance to be here. I've always loved West Ham and I hope I can give the club a few memorable seasons."
"I've always loved West Ham and I hope I can give the club a few memorable seasons"
Capped 56 times by England, Cole has been given the same No 26 shirt he wore during his first spell at the club, when he helped West Ham win the FA Youth Cup in 1999, broke into the first team and was crowned the club's Player of the Year in 2003.
The attacking midfielder moved to Chelsea in the same year and went on to spend seven seasons at Stamford Bridge, helping the club win three Barclays Premier League titles in 2004/05, 2005/06 and 2009/10, as well as three FA Cups and two League Cups. He also scored a memorable long-range volley for England during a 2-2 draw with Sweden at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
Cole moved to Liverpool on a free transfer in July 2010, signing a four-year deal, but struggled to settle at Anfield, where an inauspicious debut against Arsenal on the opening day of the 2010/11 season resulted in a red card.
After struggling to hold down a regular first-team place on Merseyside Cole spent last season on loan at Ligue 1 side Lille, where he made six UEFA Champions League appearances. He returned to the fringes of the Liverpool first team this season, but after six appearances in the Barclays Premier League this season the Camden-born midfielder decided to return to London.
"It is a great move for me," added Cole, whose last Barclays Premier League goal for Liverpool came against West Ham in a 3-2 victory for the Reds on 9 December. "Coming back here brings back all the memories of the pitches I learnt how to play on.
"This is where I learnt my trade and I'm happy to have another chance to be here. I've always loved West Ham and I hope I can give the club a few memorable seasons. The timing was right for me to come back and I'm happy. I'm back in London and I'm delighted to be here. I want to be here and I want to make an impact.
"The place has not changed much to look at, but Sam [Allardyce] has done a great job with the team. A few years ago, the club was in a bad way and Sam has done brilliantly. All in all, it will always be West Ham and the history will always be here and everywhere I go around the world, people love West Ham. Everywhere I go, people know me for having started here.
"I feel like I owe the club a little bit as well because if it wasn't for West Ham I wouldn't be a footballer. This club's great youth-team coaches taught me the trade"
"Sam didn't have to sell me the club for me to come back. For me, I have had 18 months at Liverpool where I haven't played much football and Sam wants to play me. I'm going to need games to get back to my best, but I want to play football and come here and help the team to make an impact.
"I could see from the outside what a great bunch of lads we have here and there is a great spirit. I'm excited.
"I feel like I owe the club a little bit as well because if it wasn't for West Ham I wouldn't be a footballer. This club's great youth-team coaches taught me the trade."