'I knew absolutely nothing' - Andy Cole opens up on 1995 Newcastle exit to Manchester United

Former Newcastle United striker Andy Cole has claimed that he knew “absolutely nothing” about the deal that took him from Tyneside to Manchester United in 1995.

By Jason Jones
Monday, 4th January 2021, 12:39 pm
Andy Cole. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Andy Cole. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The former England hitman was signed by Kevin Keegan for a then-club-record fee of £1.75 million two years prior, and would go on to establish himself as one of the most prolific strikers the Magpies have ever had.

Cole scored 68 times in 84 matches for the Toon Army, and his strike rate of 81% is the second-highest in the club's history – bettered only by the legendary Hughie Gallacher.

The 49-year-old also holds Newcastle’s record for the most goals scored in a single season, finding the back of the net 41 times across all competitions in 1993/94.

At the time, the £6 million Manchester United paid to secure his services was a British record, but Cole has admitted that he was kept in the dark about the transfer until the very last minute.

Speaking to talkSPORT, he said: “I knew absolutely nothing about the deal.

"To be fair, Newcastle has just played in the Fa Cup on the Sunday against Blackburn – we drew 1-1 at St. James’. Monday morning, I went in for my warm down, everything seemed fine.

"I went home, chilled for the afternoon, sat down in the evening just about to watch Sheffield United vs Manchester United in the FA Cup and I got a phone call from my agent saying he’s coming up from Manchester to come and collect me, the deal’s on for me to move to Man United. I was like, ‘What do you mean?’.

"He goes, ‘Yeah, the deal has been agreed. £6 million and Keith Gillespie is going to Newcastle’. I thought, ‘No, that can’t be right’.

"I put the phone down and he phoned me straight back. He said, ‘I’m not messing about, the deal’s on, it’s been done. Pack yourself an overnight bag and you’ll be at Old Trafford first thing in the morning’.

"It reminded me a bit of the NBA and getting traded. You don't find out, you get a letter in your locker, and you’ve got no say in it.

"I always said for me, personally, if I was ever to leave Newcastle, I only wanted to go to Man United. Man United were a team I always wanted to play for, so when the opportunity did come around, it wasn’t for me to turn it down.

"I’ve always said, once a manager makes his mind up, you’ve got to move on.”

Cole went on to achieve great success at Old Trafford, scoring 121 times in 275 matches as well as winning five Premier League titles, two FA Cups, and the 1999 Champions League – securing a historic treble for the Reds.

His total of 187 Premier League goals remains the third-highest in top flight history, and the former Toon striker’s tally is bettered only by Alan Shearer and Wayne Rooney.

Cole also enjoyed fruitful spells with Blackburn Rovers, Fulham, Manchester City, and Portsmouth before hanging up his boots in 2008.