Andy Cole tears up in emotional interview as ex-Manchester United striker discusses his health struggles after kidney transplant
Andy Cole has described dealing with his mental and physical health as his ‘toughest battle’ in an eye-opening interview.
The former Manchester United striker suffered kidney failure in 2015 after contracting Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSG) during an ambassadorial visit to Vietnam.
His life was saved by his nephew, who donated his kidney in a seemingly successful transplant in 2017.
But the 47-year-old told talkSPORT he is slowly, but surely, coming to terms with how his life has changed.
“It’s been the toughest battle that I’ve ever endured,” Cole said on Kick Off. “It’s a battle that, for the rest of my life, I know that I’ll have and you try and appreciate it.
“But I think what really touched home for me the other day was when I went up to Newcastle and I went up to the Transplant Games.
“To watch those guys play football, knowing they’ve got the same problem as me and some have had it from very young and some stumbled across the problem like me, it brought tears to my eyes.
“To know that; I am still something, I can still go out there and play a little bit of football. I’m going to struggle and it is tiring when you do things like that.
“But just to be there with them and know we’ve all gone through the same thing and it finally home that I am not the only one with this problem.
“I’m not the only one who struggles with this thought process, worrying about letting people down or tired.
“The craziest thing at the moment is I have to get to 12 o’clock. If I don’t get to 12 o’clock, I feel like I am missing out a day because I am not sure what tomorrow is going to bring.
“The weekend was a phenomenal weekend for me just to realise there are many, many people with this problem, but it’s one big family.”
During the trip to Vietnam with United, Cole became exhausted and his body and face began to swell.
Like most men, Cole shrugged off the fatigue as nothing until his condition worsened considerably.
He went and saw a doctor, who discovered his kidney function had reduced to 7% of its usual capacity.
And when asked if he knew just how difficult the rest of his life would be, the England international was brutally honest.
“It has, because I didn’t believe it was going to be this difficult,” Cole added. “My though process is ‘Just do what you did when you were playing football – just work hard.’
“Unfortunately, it didn’t work that way.
“It’s a daily process, it’s not easy. I have good days, I have bad days, but I just try my best to work with it as best I can.”
At his best, Cole was practically unplayable. His partnership with Dwight Yorke helped steer United to their famous Treble in 1999 and his prolificacy in front of goal was the stuff of legend.
He still remains third on the all-time top scorer list in Premier League history, but nothing from his glittering career prepared him for the toughest battle of his life.
He added: “No, totally different battle because you are constantly fighting yourself mentally and you’re tormenting yourself.
“I wanted so much from myself; I wanted to stay fit, I wanted to do this, to do this. And when your body tells you ‘You can’t do it anymore’, I kept fighting myself.
“And when I finally half-conceded defeat, I realised my body was never ever going to be the same and that’s been very difficult because being a sportsman all your life and being fit and doing what you want to do.
“It’s very, very tough.”
Source: SportsLatest TS