Andy Cole.

Why did Andy Cole not take penalties?

Thursday 14 April 2022 10:00

Andy Cole remains one of the greatest goalscorers in Premier League history and is rightly extremely proud of his record of 187 strikes in the division.

It places him third on the all-time list, behind Alan Shearer and Wayne Rooney, although fifth-placed Harry Kane, the Tottenham striker, is now only nine behind and closing fast on the Treble winner.

An impressive 93 league goals, from 195 games, is testament to his success at Old Trafford after a prolific spell at Newcastle United but Cole only ever took two penalties in his entire career (scoring one), and never stepped up from 12 yards for the Reds after signing in 1995. 

When we caught up with Andy ahead of the Legends of the North clash with Liverpool on 21 May, when he will be assisting Bryan Robson in managing the side, the 50-year-old explained his reasons behind not taking them, unlike almost all of his striking peers.

We also asked him about a post he made on social media of a picture with Arsenal icons Thierry Henry and Ian Wright, two stellar names that he managed to outscore in terms of Premier League goals.

"It's always nice to catch up with fellow pros or fellow ex-pros and chat about the the old days," Coley told us. "Good days. We all have respect for each other's careers and what we achieved and what else. For me to catch up with Thierry and Wrighty is always nice; very, very nice.

"I've always said I'm extremely proud of my record. Talking this morning with my PT [personal trainer], and like fact-checking from him, he were messing about and he said you know, if you took penalties, you would most probably be number one. I just laugh at him but have been taking a little bit of flak from a few people recently for not taking penalties.

"Where would I be had I taken them and whatever. But, like I say, I am very proud of what I achieved. If people don't want to talk more about what I achieved after taking no penalties, I cannot help it can I?

Fans' favourites in for Legends of the North


Some more stellar names have been added to the squad for the charity game with Liverpool.

"It is what it is," he continued. "It wasn't even that [others wanted to take it more], I wanted to score goals in open play. I genuinely said that to myself. If I didn't think I could do that, I don't think I'd be good enough, that was a simple way to look at it.

"You can say that's arrogant but I'm not arrogant. Football is played in open play and to have a penalty, I suppose it's that simple, if you can't score goals in open play, you're not good enough to play at the elite level. That is the way I looked at it, even more so now, and I'm proud of my record."

Cole played for United at a time when there were some brilliant penalty-takers around, including Eric Cantona and Denis Irwin, and is certainly not bitter that the leading all-time Premier League marksman Shearer racked up 56 goals from the spot.

Andy Cole looks forward to the Legends of the North encounter with Liverpool.

"In any good team, it's about teamwork," he explained. "If you got fouled for a penalty and someone obviously wanted to take it, it was all about being part of the team.

"Of course, if that's the way other strikers want to get more goals, knock yourself out. You can't condemn anyone for getting more goals from penalties and, in that case, adding another 10-12 goals to your season's tally. You know what, it's fair play."

Andy Cole will be helping coach United in the Legends of the North game against Liverpool on 21 May. Tickets are still available for the Old Trafford match.