The former West Ham starlet joined the Blues in 2003 and won three Premier League titles, scoring their title-clinching goal against Manchester United in 2006.
Cole also lifted the League Cup and FA Cup (twice) during his seven-year spell at Stamford Bridge, before spending three unsuccessful years as a Liverpool player.
But the 37-year-old admits he could have hopped to White Hart Lane instead of heading north to Anfield, but didn’t think he’d be welcomed back at Stamford Bridge.
Speaking exclusively in the May 2019 issue of FourFourTwo magazine, Cole says: “Staying in London would have been the logical thing to do. Harry Redknapp was the manager there, too, so it was a very easy fit.
“But I just didn’t feel it was right, being a West Ham and Chelsea player and then going to play for Tottenham. It would have tarnished everything I did at Chelsea.”
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Cole, who also turned out for Lille, Aston Villa and Coventry before calling time on his playing career with the Tampa Bay Rowdies last November, also admits that Chelsea were the club he enjoyed playing for the most, and now hopes to inspire the next generation as a coach with the west London outfit.
“West Ham will always have a special place in my heart, but as a kid you dream of winning trophies,” he says. “Playing for Chelsea was really special.
“It’s a good place to learn, I feel very comfortable there and they’ve been great with me ever since I left in 2010. The chairman, Bruce Buck, always stayed in touch, and they wanted me back in the building.
“In the same way as when I signed for West Ham as a kid, I just felt like this was the right place to start.”
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Read the full interview with Joe Cole in the May 2019 issue of FourFourTwo magazine, in which we hail Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Marcelo Bielsa’s transformative impacts at Manchester United and Leeds United. Plus, we reveal the top 51 players in the Football League, chat to Ajax’s Barcelona-bound midfielder Frenkie de Jong, remember when Bobby Moore played against England, visit Turkey to watch Istanbul Basaksehir take on Fenerbahce, and reminisce with Kevin Keegan about his time in charge of Newcastle.