Former West Ham United striker Carlton Cole has shed some light on his relationship with the club’s fans, in an exclusive interview with Football FanCast.
Cole spent nine years at West Ham between 2006 and 2015, managing 68 goals in 293 appearances in all competitions.
During that time he built quite a relationship with the fans and he remains a supporter himself to this day.
Speaking exclusively to Football FanCast, he said the relationship was at its best during the club’s 2011/12 promotion campaign.
Cole said: “The fans knew I had taken a 50% pay cut just to play that season [2011/12 Championship season] and I knew that if I’d stayed and gave my all they’d respect me for that.
“I always gave my all, I always tried my very best. I wasn’t the captain but I tried to be a captain in my own way, I tried to leave everything on the field and even played through injury. That’s when I think the fans realised I was with them through thick and thin.
“I realised as well, as long as you give your all the pitch for the club, because that’s what any fan would do, then they’ll take you in as one of theirs. It’s all they ask.
“No matter what any footballer says, they always want a home. I’d left West London with Chelsea, that was my main home, but when I came to West Ham I had it good. I put in the years there as well, so I didn’t want the fans to think I was only there for the money – I’ve got too much pride to do that.
“The West Ham fans soon realised I was one of them, I had a good rapport with them. I always tried to speak to them, sign autographs, I did a lot in the community with the locals. I’m one of the fans now and I don’t think that’s ever going to change because I’m like part of the furniture!”