The Emirates FA Cup makes historic first visit to Singapore, SportPlus.sg speaks with Chelsea football legend Joe Cole on the significance of the world's oldest football trophy
Saturday, 28 January 2023 - Joe Cole was greeted by fans of various English Premier League supporter clubs during the tour of the FA Cup Trophy via a zoom call at a private event at the Soccer Bar in Singapore.
Fans even posed next to the prestigious trophy that would greet the winners of the old club competition in England at Wembley.
Singapore national players Isa Halim, Hassan Sunny, Ernie Sontaril, and Izwan Mahmud were also present to share their views on their FA Cup memories and their predictions for this season’s cup competition.
Kevin Keagan was quoted as saying he could never remember anyone aged 17 who has got it all. Good pace. Good control. Good skill with a nice amount of confidence without arrogance.
Fast forward 22 years, and the English playmaker can look back on a career that saw him gather a host of accolades, including three Premier League titles, two FA Cup winners’ medals, a FA Community shield medal, a FA League Cup medal and a runner-up Champions League medal.
It was a pleasure being able to catch up with the Englishman with the skills of a Brazilian in the eyes of Pele to ask him 10 questions about his career and his take on the FA Cup.
We started off with some quickfire finish the sentence questions:
I knew I would make it as a football professional when…
When I was walking out on the pitch on my first game.
You never know when you are going to make it. There are so many things that could go wrong. As a kid, you must keep your head on your education. Until it happens, you cannot believe it, and it’s like, WOW, I’m a professional now!
I have never told anyone this, but… I played for Everton as a schoolboy on a few occasions.
If I could choose one thing about the beautiful game, it would be…
Just to play. Play with joy. Play with freedom. Everyone enjoys it.
My biggest regret in football is… Injuries.
If you could not go for that tackle, not make that run, not get into those injuries. That would be it.
If not a footballer, then…
I would probably be working on the market in Camden Town. My family was in the fruits and vegetables greengrocers in market stalls. I’d probably gotten into the family business.
What does the FA Cup mean to Joe Cole?
The FA Cup means everything. It was the biggest competition growing up. Bigger than the Premier League. Bigger than the Champions League, believe it or not.
That is hard for younger people to believe that. But as young English kids, that’s what it means. We looked forward to Cup Final day, and it was romantic. It added to history, and it means everything to me.
Biggest Personal Glory at the FA Cup
Lifting the trophy for the first time when we beat Manchester United. It was great, and it was an honour. It was the last of the domestic trophies that I wanted to win. It was just amazing to lift that trophy. Walking up those steps at Wembley and lift it is what dreams are made of.
Who is Joe Cole's One Football Hero?
Paul Gascoigne. He is the reason why I play football. He plays with a smile. He was someone I tried to emulate. Great player, and still one of the all-time greats of the English game.
Who do you feel would be the Dark Horse of this season’s FA Cup?
West Ham United, I feel like they are just set up for Cup football. They’ve underachieved so far in the season. They would probably end up in the middle of the table, not quite relegation. I think everyone else would have a lot to play for so I think West Ham might have their eyes on a cup competition this year.
Joe Cole's Best Starting Eleven from the FA Cup
1. Petr Cech
2. Gary Neville,
3. Bobby Moore ©
4. John Terry
5. Ashley Cole
6. David Beckham
7. Steven Gerrard
8. Frank Lampard
9. Ryan Giggs
10. Eric Cantona
11. Didier Drogba
A very traditional England formation, the 4-4-2. I think that would be the team that would be able to take care of anybody.
The FA Cup kicks off this week with a mouth-watering clash between Arsenal and Manchester City before the rest of the clubs from across all the divisions try their best to create some form of history for their badge. It doesn’t get any better than this!