Andy Cole gave a heartfelt interview this week where he describes his struggles with depression and his battles against suicidal feelings, following his kidney transplant.
It was an incredibly brave move from the former Manchester United striker and his honesty was received warmly by the football community.
Bizarrely, former Liverpool defender, Neil Ruddock, chose this week to speak out about the game where he broke both of Cole’s ankles. At the time he claimed the injury must have been down to the way he fell. In 2010, Cole claimed he thought Ruddock had been reckless, but insisted he would have to be messed up in the head to intentionally break the bones of a fellow professional.
We disagreed on how it happened. He claimed it was an honest challenge and that I fell badly, while I said late and reckless. But even in my fury back then, which was also fuelled by frustration at being out of action, I never thought for a moment that Ruddock had maliciously taken me down with the intention of breaking my bones. No professional would do that to another unless there was something awry in their head.
However, Ruddock has confirmed that he meant to break Cole’s leg and revealed the joy he felt at doing so.
Basically, I loved kicking Andrew Cole. I know this is not big and it’s not clever, but in one tackle I did break both of his legs. I didn’t mean to break both of his legs if I’m honest. I only meant to break one… it wasn’t even a free-kick, it was play on. It was excellent because he let the ball run past him and I absolutely destroyed him. Again, I know it’s not big and it’s not clever, but it was great.
Ruddock played professional football for almost two decades but has just one trophy to show for it, the League Cup. Cole, by contrast, won five league titles, two FA Cups, one European Cup and one League Cup. Cole is the third highest scoring in the history of Premier League football and Ruddock, er, was voted the 17th hardest player in a poll in 2009.
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