One thing I always love about the transfer window is the rumours, the people who claim to be in the know that feed salacious gossip to all and sundry. Ricky Miller? Done deal mate. My old man’s barber knows his cousin’s chiropodist’s sister-in-law and he assures me it’s signed sealed and delivered. Alex Woodyard? Signing for Luton, £1m. His girlfriend’s beautician told my sister’s accountant so I know it’s true.
This week the usual ‘famous name’ made an entry into the 2017/18 rumour mill. In years gone by we had numerous instances of Dwight Yorke being spotted at the Bentley chatting to Steff Wright, or Michael Bridges being seen at the ground. Bridges was on the verge of joining us every single transfer window for a decade, if rumour were to be believed. This time around we’ve picked up on a Hammers legend, predictable given that Danny and Nicky are Hammers. “They definitely met him recently,” is what I’m hearing. “He came over in a taxi driven by my mate’s Dad and he told him that he was joining City.”
“No, that’s not true,” whispers another little bird. “He’s coaching now and he brought a lad over from (insert random club here) to discuss terms. He’s an agent now you know.”
Is he? Is Carlton Cole and agent, is he on the verge of a sensational return to football in League Two, or is the Chinese whisper factory making things up once again?
We all know who Carlton Cole is, he played for West Ham and Chelsea as well as England during his career. He averaged a goal every five and a half games for his four clubs and made seven England appearances where he averaged no goals a game. Most recently he found himself rotting away in the West Ham reserve squad, brief appearances at Celtic, Sacramento Republic and Indonesian side Persib Bandung seem to have signalled the end of his career.
He’s still only 34-years old though and in a recent interview with goal.com he spoke of his desire to move into coaching.
However, despite this he has also expressed a desire to keep playing the game for a year or two yet, as he feels he still has a lot to offer.
Cole’s most prolific spell in a West Ham shirt came in 2011/12 when he banged 14 times in their Championship promotion season and there’s little doubt he could offer something to a Lincoln City side, but is there any chance at all he was talking to our management duo and, if he was, would he sign for Lincoln City?
In the goal interview, which I recommend you read in its entirety, he did mention Kevin Nolan at Notts County, proving he has an awareness of the game in League Two despite not having played there himself. Maybe he’s been put in touch with the Cowley’s by Nolan or, more likely, maybe they’ve reached out to him as a Hammers legend. It isn’t beyond the realms of plausibility, but it does stretch the rumours into the ‘beyond believable’ category.
Perhaps more likely is that Cole is advising a young player and accompanied him to a meeting with Dan and Nick. One rumour that has sprung up is Cole is representing younger players at present, one of them being Wolves Nigerian youngster Bright Enobakhare (pictured above). It is possible Cole is looking out for younger players, but the Enobakhare link stretches the imagination a bit. He’s played 14 times for Wolves in the Championship this year and it does look as if someone has sat down, flicked through Cole’s previous clubs and then looked at their young players before fabricating a rumour. Enobakhare scored his first league goal for Wolves in a 2-1 home win against Barnsley in September after coming on as a sub and it is highly unlikely he’ll be at Lincoln City, even more so that London-based Cole would be representing him.
These sorts of rumours are what makes the window exciting and frustrating in equal measure. Everyone has someone on the inside, everyone wants to be the first with a rumour that proves to be true and some people just want to have your pants down for fun. I’m sure that Carlton Cole could do a job, but wages, motivation and of course, desire are all a stumbling block. Would a veteran striker with a record of one every five or six games really add value to the current squad? We have Matt Green, matt Rhead, Michael Bostwick and Neal Eardley who are all very experienced, would DC look to add someone to that list on the basis that he used to play for West Ham?
Maybe, just maybe, Cole represents a consortium made up of Michael Bridges and Dwight Yorke who are looking to take over the club, come out of retirement and help push us through the leagues. If so, don’t bother boys, we’ve already go the right people in charge at he moment, the sort that are unlikely to bring in a player on name alone, unless that name is Miller of course.
Speaking of which, can the last League Two club to be linked with Miller please turn out the lights? Mansfield and Notts County are the latest two to distance themselves with a move for the troubled forward, Danny doing so last week in his press conference. Apparently he doesn’t want to move north and a ‘more southern’ based team are now in talks with him. His Posh dream has turned into a nightmare and he’s definitely surplus to requirements at London Road, but one wonders if teams are being put off by his reputation and price tag.