A talented product of the famous West Ham youth system, Joe Cole was hailed as a child prodigy by no less than Harry Redknapp and made his first-team debut for the club at the age of just 17. His dedication to the Hammers saw him receive the captain's armband while still in his early 20s and he made his England debut at the age of 19. All of this caught the eye of rivals Chelsea and the promise of football at Stamford Bridge was just too much to resist, as Cole signed for the Blues in 2003. Since then his record has been enviable - scoring in the Premiership, the Champions League and for England, most spectacularly with a volley in the 2006 World Cup. But while he has worked hard to stay level-headed, his maturity off the pitch has not prevented his involvement in some colourful incidents over the years. He's taken it all in his stride, and looks set to become a major figure at the top of English football. This is the ultimate biography of the Hammers' and Blues' enigmatic dangerman.
Ian Macleay has been a football fan since the days of Jimmy Greaves in the late 1950s. He has co-authored several acclaimed books including "Chelsea: A 100-Year History," with former Chelsea chairman Brian Mears, and "The Working Man's Ballet" with Alan Hudson. He is currently writing a novel. The author lives in Surrey.