Wednesday night marked the coronation of Luis Suárez, Crown Prince of the Kop. Meanwhile, Joe Cole sat in an empty castle cursing his wretched fate. As servants hurried away the remnants of the evening’s feast, Lord Cole mused on fickleness and fortune.
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July 2010 was a period of great uncertainty in the Scouse Kingdom. The Spanish Duke Benitez had been deposed and the Machiavellian barons, Hicks and Gillett, were trying to auction off the crown jewels. There had been little fanfare when the House of Hodgson took the new throne; indeed many questioned its legitimacy. But one event drew the people together and offered an optimistic future – Joe Cole signed. The most technically gifted midfielder of his generation, the English Ronaldinho, had thrown his endorsement behind the new regime. Even the Duke of Gerrard modestly described him as better than Prince Consort Messi.
However, Cole’s start was an ignoble one, dismissed in the opening battle against Arsenal after an anonymous 45 minutes. Upon his return, he took up a regular position, beginning six straight skirmishes, before being felled in Bolton. He survived, but the regime did not. During this crucial time, a constitutional crisis arose questioning the legality of the Barons’ rule. After much protestation, the Court decreed Liverpool were to be ruled by the Knights Who Say NESV.
It was a period of increasing optimism, as the Red Empire appeared to be rising once more. However, Lord Cole was becoming increasingly marginalized; absent from affairs of State due to ill health. Rumours also began regarding his monarch’s own health. Specifically that he was suffering from a peculiar case of leprosy, whose symptoms could only be relieved by intense rubbing of the hands and face. His condition grew worse until he could no longer carry on.
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When Hodgson abdicated (by mutual consent) the clamour was for a return to the old lineage, namely King Kenny of the Dalglish clan. A descendant of strong boot room stock, many view him as the rightful heir. Unfortunately for Lord Cole, he is not known to suffer fools gladly. Despite belief that Cole’s infirmity continues, he has sat behind King Kenny on three out of five occasions. Yet, in each one, the young squire Jonjo Shelvey has featured in his stead.
It is apt that Lord Cole’s last contest was also the last of Hodgson’s reign (a dismal rout at Blackburn). The promise of both quickly evaporated as circumstance contrived to undermine them. Both have become intrinsically linked to the old regime. Although there is still a glimmer of hope for Cole, there is a sense that it’s only a matter of time before he too is exiled. History does not remember the losers and on Wednesday night Cole’s visage faded a little further.