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Cole was found guilty of making contact with league rivals Chelsea over a possible move, without informing Arsenal.
He was fined £100,000 by the Premier League on 2 June 2005 for a tapping-up meeting at a hotel in January 2005.
On 15 July 2006, Cole launched a verbal attack on Arsenal; in his autobiography, quoted in The Sun, he claimed that the Arsenal board had treated him as a "scapegoat" and that they had "fed him to the sharks" over the tapping-up affair while Arsenal, from their part, insisted that they were legally obliged to punish Cole for his illegal contact with Chelsea.
Cole allegedly also "turned his back on the referee" and the episode renewed debate in the media over the game's rules on dissent towards officials.
After starting Chelsea's first six games in the league, Cole scored his third, fourth and fifth Chelsea goals at home to Burnley, Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland respectively.
When Sylvinho, Arsenal's established left-back, suffered an injury in the autumn of the 2000–01 season, Cole took the opportunity to establish himself in the first team and remained first-choice even after the Brazilian's recovery.
With Arsenal, he won the FA Premier League twice (in 20), and the FA Cup three times (in 2002, 20, scoring in the penalty shootout in the final of the latter).