Manchester United legend Andy Cole has expressed his concerns with the disrespectful comparisons between the club’s 1999 treble-winning team that he was a part of and the current Manchester City side.
Man City are on track to win a treble. United’s rivals have already been crowned Premier League champions and are in the finals of the FA Cup and the Champions League.
United have the chance to stop City from winning the treble by ensuring they beat them at Wembley on June 3rd.
Cole spoke to The Daily Mail and took issue with the constant revisionism of United’s achievement in 1999 and the possibility of Man City emulating that feat.
The 51-year-old said, “The craziest thing is everyone’s trying to forget about what Manchester United achieved and the possibility of another team doing it and how this other team is far superior to the United team that actually achieved it.”
On whether he would back the ’99 team to beat Pep Guardiola’s men, Cole said, “Of course, I’m going to sit here and say United. The eras are totally different, too. What you have to look at, too, is out of our ’99 team, how many were home-grown talents? Six? So, you don’t pay £50m, £60m, £70m for these players.”
“If you look at how much money Man City have spent to find themselves in this position. In ’99, that couldn’t have been done. And because we had so much home-grown talent we didn’t have to spend that money.”
Cole pointed out that he would not put any Man City player in a combined starting XI with the ’99 team. He remarked that he wouldn’t change what his side achieved and everything else being talked about is “nonsense.”
“What makes me laugh is they talk about this ’99 team as if it was bang average. That’s just the disrespect people have for Manchester United and even more so that team.”
The former United striker was questioned about Erling Haaland breaking his goal-scoring record that has stood for almost two decades.
Until Haaland came to England this season, Cole held the record for most goals scored in a Premier League campaign – 34.
“I couldn’t give a f***,” Cole said. “I’m being honest. I am not anal in any way, shape or form about someone breaking goal-scoring records because records are set to be broken. Now, some people might be p*ssed. But people say I must be disappointed. Why? Because someone has scored more goals than me?”
“It’s taken 20 years for someone to get that close. Am I going to rock myself to sleep and think, Oh God, someone has broken my record? No, I’ll take my hat off to him. I’ll salute him. He’s done it in a team that creates chance after chance. At some stage, your record’s going to be broken.”
Cole, however, noted that he feels he does not get the praise his stellar career deserves.
When asked whether he gets the credit and recognition he is rightfully due compared to other ex-strikers of his calibre such as Alan Shearer, Cole honestly replied that this is not the case.
He told The Mail, “It’s a game. People have played this game with me for many years. If you look at everything I’ve achieved in my career, there’s no striker I played against who achieved what I achieved and doesn’t get the accolades I should be getting.”
“Not one. If you talk about numbers, which everyone does, they stack up. If we’re talking about achievements, there’s no one achieved more than me. So, how can people talk about me as if I was very fortunate to be able to achieve what I achieved?”
“People talk about Haaland finally breaking the record. Unbelievable. He’s been a breath of fresh air to the Premier League. ‘People talk as if I wasn’t the first to do it. I was the first to do it and in a newly-promoted team. How hard would that be to score 34 goals in a Premier League season with no penalties? I get why people do it. I know what it is.”
He stated that there is an obvious agenda against him and it likely has to do with race. He expressed his opinion that since he refused to give interviews during his playing days, the media thought he was arrogant.
As per Cole, he felt the media were out to get him, not only as a player but also now, going by how regularly they misconstrue his words and alter what he says.