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Chris Coleman defends Andrew Cole

last updated Thursday 05th May 2005, 3:02 PM
Andy Cole
Andy Cole

Fulham manager Chris Coleman has jumped to the defence of Andy Cole.

Cole was jeered by some sections of the crowd during Fulham's 3-1 defeat to Newcastle on Wednesday.

The former Manchester United striker endured a disappointing night against his old employers at Craven Cottage and Coleman blamed a lack of fitness for his below-par showing.

"It's not just our crowd, it's crowds all around the country that have this thing about Andy Cole," said Coleman.

"There is nothing I or Andy can do about it.

"He has scored 12 goals in all competition and is one of the highest scorers in the Premiership in a team which is at the wrong end of the table. His goals have been incredibly important to us.

"He was not on form against Newcastle but neither were the other 10 players.

Andy's fitness is not what it should be but we have not really got any alternatives at the moment so we had to play him.

Manager Chris Coleman may have all the latest technology needed to analyse football games however he appears to be lacking an up-to-date understanding of customer relations.

To claim that Fulham fans have "a thing" about Andrew Cole is thoughtless to say the least and at worst is an attempt to ignore the problem by shifting the blame to the customer. It should be noted that managers who lose touch with their customers don't tend to last long in the entertainment industry.

Fulham fans like to see a player trying and early in the season the vast majority were pleased and impressed with how Andrew Cole played. However a run of 10 games with one goal, against the backdrop of most of the squad under achieving and the club struggling against relegation, would understandably make paying customers short on forgiveness.

Andrew Cole's performance against Newcastle was arguably his worst of the season, appearing to be behind the pace and generally uninterested. Now there may be a perfectly acceptable reason for his poor performance but the customers cannot be blamed if they are unaware of the reason. The level of abuse Andrew Cole drew was made worse by his substitution being an opportunity for the fans to express their general dissatisfaction with the squads' performance, certain other players would also have received a hostile farewell if they had been chosen as the first sub. Chris Coleman may not like it but if he wants to retain his position even into the medium future he should at least try to give the impression that he respects and values Fulham's fanbase.

As far as Andrew Cole is concerned he should know by now how easily pleased football fans can be. All he has to do is to increase his work rate during games, hopefully score a few goals, and "the thing" Fulham fans will have about him is admiration and adulation.

The Fulham Pundit

Source SkySport by Peter O Rourke
Since 1998
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