Cole issues an Irons apology

By JONATHAN CLEGG CARLTON COLE has issued a public apology to West Ham fans for his arrest on suspicion of drink-driving last week and vowed to learn his lesson following the incident. Cole was arrested in the early hours of Tuesday morning and was immed

By JONATHAN CLEGG

CARLTON COLE has issued a public apology to West Ham fans for his arrest on suspicion of drink-driving last week and vowed to learn his lesson following the incident.

Cole was arrested in the early hours of Tuesday morning and was immediately fined by Hammers boss Gianfranco Zola and warned about his future conduct at the club.

The 24-year-old forward was back in the headlines last weekend after scoring the opening goal in West Ham's 2-1 win at Fulham and Cole has pledged to repay his manager and the club's supporters by making amends for his misdemeanour.


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"It's not been the best of weeks, but I take my punishment," Cole said. "This is a learning curve for me and I've learnt my lesson - I won't make that mistake again.

"I hadn't been out for so long and the one time I went out, I got caught out.

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"It has come back to bite me, but that's what happens in life.

"I'm sorry to the fans and the club who I've let down.

"I'm sorry about what my family has had to go through this week - it's not nice to have calls from so many friends phoning up worried about me.

"But the club have been very supportive and hopefully I can play like I did on Saturday and try to get results for the club."

Cole took his first steps on the road to redemption with a powerful display at Craven Cottage and Zola, who helped England captain John Terry clean up his act during his days at Chelsea, believes the striker can use the experience to improve as a player.

He said: "It was the perfect way to respond. He scored a goal and helped the team so much - and because of this I have allowed him to go out tonight.

"Everybody makes mistakes and that is what I told him. As long as you take it in the right way and realise your responsibilities then you realise your mistake.

"He had to make up for it. He paid a fine and also had to help the team on the pitch. He is a player that wants to improve and become more important."

Now Cole has revealed his determination to justify Zola's faith in him by playing an influential role at Upton Park.

"The manager, I know, has got a hundred per cent faith in me," said Cole. "We've had a discussion, and we had a discussion with the West Ham board as well, and I apologised for being stupid.

"He knows what I can do and he knew me when I was young. He knows that I've changed as a man.

"I'm not an alcoholic - I look after myself really well. Everyone at the club will tell you that I'm the first one in and the last one out, so hopefully I can carry on progressing and see where that gets me.

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