Cole inducted into Premier League Hall of Fame

Ashley Cole holds the Premier League trophy and the FA Cup

Ashley Cole has become the latest former Gunner to be inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame.

Our former left-back and member of our famed Invincibles side has been bestowed with the honour by the division, having lifted the league title on three occasions, and is the 22nd player to be included.

Ashley came through our academy and after making his first-team debut back in November 1999, his first Premier League appearance came on the final day of the 1999/00 season.

That would be the first of 385 games he played in the competition, 156 of which were in our colours. He was part of an Arsenal side that clinched the league title in 2001/02 as part of a domestic double, and two seasons later he was involved in 32 of the 38 games we went unbeaten in during the league campaign.

He moved on to Chelsea in 2006 where he would win one more league title in 2009/10, before stints at Roma, LA Galaxy and Derby County. He also represented England 107 times across 13 years.

"I’m honoured to join the Premier League Hall of Fame," he said. "It’s humbling and fulfilling to be rewarded at the end of your career.  

"Being a boyhood Arsenal fan, I was living out a dream just pulling on the shirt and playing for the first team. Playing in front of amazing fans so close to the pitch at Highbury, so intimate and for me one of the most beautiful stadiums. 

"Winning my first Premier League title was certainly special. To lift that trophy in front of my friends and family and celebrate with your teammates after a gruelling 38-game season is amazing.
That feeling is hard to explain. Growing up, all I knew was loving Arsenal Football Club."

Reflecting on the Invincibles campaign of 20 years ago, he added: "We played with a finesse and a freedom within the team, but we certainly had some fighters in there who never gave up. You need something special to come back when you’re 1-0 down, or 2-1 down or 2-0 down. 

"To show that focus, the mentality, the grit and determination to actually get over the line and do it is historic. For me, as an Arsenal fan, you can't fathom it. You can't believe we actually did that, and we went through the whole season without losing a game."

Commenting on Ashley's award, Arsene Wenger added: "He has spent a lot of time in the Premier League and always with success, so overall he has his just rewards.

"He's honestly one of the few players who I always say that moved on and continued to develop, and that shows remarkable intelligence and remarkable consistency in the effort. It's always difficult to make a hierarchy, but he's certainly the best left-back."

The Premier League launched its official Hall of Fame in 2021, recognising and celebrating the players and managers who have graced the competition. It is the highest individual honour awarded by the division.

Ashley is the eighth former Arsenal alumni in the Hall of Fame. Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp were inducted in its first year, while Patrick Vieira and Ian Wright were added 12 months later.

Last year saw Wenger, Tony Adams and Petr Cech also enshrined in the division’s history.

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