Carlton Cole has left West Ham United for the second time in his career, after the club decided against renewing his contract at Upton Park.
The 31-year-old has been with the Hammers since 2006, when he joined from Chelsea via loan spells at Wolverhampton Wanderers, Charlton Athletic and Aston Villa. After two fairly unspectacular seasons Cole found his form at the start of the 2008/09 Premier League campaign which he finished on 10 goals, a number he would go on to repeat the following term.
It was at around this time when he earned his first call up to the full England squad, and he would go on to win seven caps although he failed to register a single goal during this time. When his contract at West Ham expired in the summer of 2013 the striker was released, but he was invited back to the club to train and eventually persuaded them to offer him a fresh deal.
Cole went on to play a further 56 times for the capital club, scoring nine times. His latter appearances came after he was denied a January deadline day move to West Bromwich Albion, when his employers pulled the plug on the move having failed to find a replacement. But he will now be free to take up any offers which come his way, after being told he is free to leave.
“I’ve been at West Ham United for quite a long time and I’ve enjoyed myself here, with all the ups and downs, the heartaches and everything that came along with it,” he told the official club website. “At the same time, I’ve grown from being a boy to a man here and everybody has treated me like a part of the family. It is heart-warming to know that I have got such support.
“I have done my fair share for the club and been part of the history as well, which is very important for me. I’m very happy to have been a part of it and, wherever my future may lie, West Ham will always have a special place in my heart. It means a lot to me to have been at West Ham for so long. A load of players have come and gone, but I’ve stayed around and enjoyed it.”