Cole: Spurs strike made up for Hammers blow
Former Manchester United striker Andy Cole admits his Premier League-winning goal against Tottenham Hotspur in 1999 brought back memories of a devastating final-day four years earlier at West Ham United.
In 1995, the centre-forward was denied on numerous occasions by inspired Hammers keeper Ludek Miklosko at Upton Park as the Londoners held out for a 1-1 draw, meaning Blackburn Rovers pipped the Reds to the championship despite losing 2-1 at Liverpool.
After starting on the bench, Cole replaced Teddy Sheringham at the interval and, within a couple of minutes, latched onto a Gary Neville pass to lob Ian Walker and edge United into a 2-1 lead over Spurs, ensuring there was no way rivals Arsenal could replace us at the summit.
“It took me back to 1995, when we played West Ham,” explained Cole.
“It brought me back to when we should have won the league but Ludek Miklosko was unbelievable that day. A lot of fingers were pointed at me, saying I cost United the Premier League. So I walked away from that season disappointed as I knew I tried my best, but sometimes it just doesn't work out for you.
Cole on his 1999 winner against TottenhamVideo
Thankfully, it was a happy ending on this occasion as Cole's winner completed the first leg of what was to become a historic Treble.
After missing out on a place in the line-up, it was perfect for the former Arsenal man to score against their north London neighbours when the pressure was on.
“It was a frustrating one,” he admitted.
“Basically, I'd played all season and my form had gone up and down, as you would imagine.
”The manager pulled me the day before the game and said I have to go with Teddy and leave you on the bench. I was disappointed as I knew we had to win the game and I thought, obviously, I was the man to start the game. But the manager took the decision and I had to get on with it.
“It was just a case of getting behind the team and hoping we'd get the result we were looking for. I remember when Les Ferdinand scored, I looked at him and saw the surprise on his face, as if he'd said: 'Gosh, what have I done here'. But Becks [David Beckham] makes it 1-1 and gets us back in the game and half-time comes.
”The manager goes: 'Coley, get ready, you're going on,' and I said: 'Okay, not a problem.' I remember saying to Jaap [Stam], when I was watching the first half, if I score when I come on, I will run over to you and celebrate because Jaap was on the bench as well. We were having a laugh and a joke about that.
“My first touch, Nev [Neville] knocks it in behind Sol Campbell and I take a touch to pull it out of the sky, let it bounce and lob the keeper. All hell breaks loose when the ball goes in the back of the net.
“In the replay, you can see me running off towards the bench but I never made it as one of the boys collared me around the neck. It was a great feeling just to be involved with it and, to know it possibly could be the goal to win the Premier League, after playing so well and working so hard all season, with it being so tight.
”It was the start of something very special.
Andy Cole will be at the Treble Reunion game against Bayern Munich at Old Trafford on 26 May - tickets are still available and you can find out more information and book your place by ringing 0161 800 868.
Reading this in our app? If not, you might miss some exclusive features not found on ManUtd.com. Download the Official App here.