Yossi Benayoun has not flourished in his second spell at Upton Park and so has returned to a career sitting on the bench at Chelski. I wish him well but in terms of who is coming back to Upton Park I could not be happier, it is Joe Cole, a midfielder who can run with the ball, pass and who will add both skill and also attractive play to the side. We now have genuine options in the middle of the park.
I remember a bloke who sold flowers outside Finchley Road tube station telling me about his nephew who was a 15 year old at the Academy and who would be better than Rio, Fat Frank and the others of that era. That was Joe Cole. Unlike the others Cole was not keen to leave Upton Park in the years we struggled. And this week he could have gone to rejoin ‘arry at QPR but instead came home. Of course that is largely as Redknapp himself admitted – because Rangers will, notwithstanding the Chelski result, almost certainly still go down in May.
But Cole has always been liked by the supporters. And he clearly regards West Ham as his home club – we must hope that he plays out his career in East London. In signing him, the board shows that it has ambition. This does not change my view that Fat Sam Allardyce needs to go in May and di Canio also needs to come home as manger. But it means that the next few months should not be quite as grisly as I had feared.