Ashley Cole Meets Mike’s Knees…A Beautiful Friendship Ensues
XWHY’s Michael Thomas, a good 6’3″ at last measure, meets Ashley Cole – a giant in name alone.
Last week I was fortunate enough to take a little walk down memory lane (a.k.a. Old Street) and into the Hoxton Gallery, where I happened upon the launch of the latest Nike Tiempos. There was a bit of Ashley Cole, some football and the best peanut butter milkshake* I’ve ever had.
*The milkshake really isn’t pivotal to this article, but it was food of the Gods and whoever made it deserves a knighthood.
Now, if you were lucky enough to be born in the 80s, then the 1994 World Cup is probably the fist international football tournament that you can remember clearly. On the news there was constant chatter about the world’s greatest show being taken to a nation of people that didn’t even refer to it by it’s proper name, the mercurial talents and dubious recreational choices of a Mr Diego Maradona and one of the worst penalty kicks ever taken by a rat tailed, footballing pro.
It was also here that the Tiempo Premier boot rose to prominence, as it was worn by arguably the biggest star of the tournament – Romario – and several other major players in the World Cup Final.
Baggio Penalty miss video
Since then, the Tiempo range has gone from strength to strength and this year celebrates its 20th anniversary with the launch of the Tiempo ’94, a shoe for everyday wear that draws from the heritage of the boot that started it all; and the Tiempo Legend V, a modern twist on a classic boot. Both trainer and boot will have you rolling back the years to a time where you ate, slept and breathed football.
After being taken down the road for a quick kick about/masterclass with the guys from the Nike Academy, we were back at Hoxton Gallery to be shown the boots itself and given the chance to pose some questions to Ashley Cole.
Well I think it all started when he made me do the splits. He mugged me off and after that I couldn’t let him do it to me again. I was determined not to let him do it again and I think that came through in that game.
I would say him and Messi. But obviously I played against him a lot more times.
When I was 19, I had competition around me too. I had Warnock, Wayne Bridge, Paul Koncheisky. I’ve always had competition throughout my career, but of course the older you get, people talk about it a little bit more. If I play well for Chelsea then hopefully I’ll be in there for England. The most important thing is that the team does well, and if I’m part of that, even better.
I would have liked to have stayed up front, but in hindsight I’d have never made it. I only have a left foot and to be a great striker you need a bit more. I got put to left back when a guy got injured and it all kind of worked out from there.
I met David Rocastle at 10 years of age and he actually took the time to talk to me and after that I was kind of obsessed with him. After I got moved to left back and got older it was Nigel Winterburn.
Well first of all I had to clean it! There was no getting around it, if you were in the youth team, you had to clean the first team’s boots. But it was an iconic boot worn by all the rebels and true footballers, so I have fond memories of it even despite the cleaning.
To get back into the team, hopefully go to the World Cup and win some more trophies… and then chill on the beach.
I have always had a begrudging respect for Ashley Cole. The type of player that every supporter loves if he’s in their teams colours, but loathes if he happens to be shooting the other way. When you put his physical stats up against those of CR7, it make his success against this year’s Ballon D’or winner that much more impressive. Perhaps not the flair player usually associated with the Tiempo, but if ever there was an english full back to be held in the same esteem as your Ronaldinhos, Romarios and Ronaldos of the world, then Ashley is that man.
The new Nike Tiempos are available now from Nike.com
WORDS: Michael Thomas