Celtic trialist’s hopes greatly enriched by West Ham connections
The countdown is on for Carlton Cole, as the 31-year-old striker strives to impress Celtic boss Ronny Deila on a week’s trial in order to secure a permanent deal and, interestingly, his past employment bodes particularly well in this quest.
Cole spent the lion’s share of his time in English football at West Ham and down the years the crossover between Celtic and Irons players has proved particularly fruitful.
The list of shared icons north and south of the border is a healthy one. Players to have donned both the famous hoops and claret and blue garb include striking royalty Frank McAvennie, John Hartson and Paolo Di Canio.
Cole may not have been as prolific as McAvennie during his two stints at the Boleyn Ground, but his attitude and conduct booked him a place in Hammers hearts.
Over 50 goals, some of them crucial, also helped endear Cole to the east London masses, despite beginning his career on the opposite side of town at Chelsea.
Glasgow-born McAvennie arrived at Parkhead for a then club record fee. That was off the back of the more prolific of two West Ham spells, where he struck up the Irons most famous strike partnership to date with Tony Cottee.
McAvennie bagged 26 goals during the 1985/86 campaign helping the Hammers to their highest ever finish of third in the English top flight, before firing the Bhoys to league and cup glory the very next season.
Meanwhile Hartson is a legendary figure at Celtic having decimated defences in white and green en route to 109 goals in 201 appearances, accumulating six major trophies in the process, including three Scottish titles.
Di Canio’s Celtic cameo over one season very nearly saw the Italian crowned as champion too, though his career hit the heights at West Ham, where he’s a genuine hall-of-famer for his goals.
Cole will have some way to go to emulate these guys, even if he does earn a deal, but he’s not short of role models should he convince Deila he’s good enough to aid the Hoops’ title defence, with Aberdeen on the charge.
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