Interesting to see Avram is now insisting that Carlton Cole is going nowhere. If I was Cole, I would feel that this statement came at least two weeks too late, however, especially given the speed of Sullivan's insistence that Parker was going nowhere as soon as Tottenham put in an offer. Avram also waited for Pulis to deny Stoke interest before he made his statement.
It seems pretty clear that the Remy deal is now dead in the water and that this is the reason why Carlton is once again our main man. For as long as the signing of Remy appeared a live possibility, we were happy for Cole to be linked with Stoke, with no threats to refer the matter to the Premier League for tapping up whatsoever, even when Etherington was explaining to journalists why the move would be good for Cole. Then, suddenly, Pulis came out and said the rumours were rubbish and Avram has announced that Cole is staying. Stoke appear to be saving face whilst Avram is reverting to Plan B.
It is to Cole's immense credit that he has kept his head down and remained loyal to the club through all this. Many, in his position, would have spoken out and "demanded reassurances or a move". Had he done so, nobody could have blamed him, especially given the way he is treated by a section of the Upton Park "faithful" who still seize on his every mistake as an opportunity to groan and howl insults. Cole's frustration at his treatment boiled over after the Stoke game, of course, when he went for somebody in the crowd. Grumpy from the Org has never scampered away so quickly!
The truth is, Cole has been a great servant of the club under three managers already - Avram is now his fourth! He was happy to wear the number 12 shirt, even when being linked with Juventus, Liverpool and Tottenham, and has shown great commitment to the cause, even surrendering his World Cup place by playing whilst carrying an injury. He may remain something of a rough diamond but his detractors would be well advised to focus on Carlton's strengths rather than on his weaknesses. When fit, he is pacey, strong and has surprisingly good ball control. True he is not a natural scorer but he has improved in that area already and may yet get better.
I am delighted that Cole is staying. He now needs support, not criticism, because he is an important key to our success next season. He must realise that he is not Avram's first pick but he wasn't Curbishley's nor Pardew's first choice either. Not being a Champagne Charlie, Carlton didn't let that upset him, he just got on with the job!