Joe announced his retirement recently and Premier League Tonight will be the first time he’s been on television with the stage and opportunity to talk about his career since making that decision.
For me, the interesting thing about Joe - and it's possibly something a lot of people don’t understand - is that he was an anomaly.
He was completely different to every other English player coming through the ranks at the time because he didn’t love football like a lot of people do. His dad didn’t like football so didn’t take him to games, instead he would go to matches with a mate and his mate’s dad.
Even Joe wasn’t really interested in watching football, all he was interested in was having a ball at his feet 24 hours a day. It wasn’t about games of football for him, it was just about being with a football.
He then had an opportunity to join any team he wanted – he was training with Man United and Everton – but made the decision to go to West Ham. I think it’s going to be fascinating to hear him talk about emerging on to the scene with the Hammers because he was so highly thought of, the fans were so excited and there was a real desperation to get him into the first team.
I wonder, to what extent did he just want to play football? And to what extent did he feel the pressure? Did he feel like he had to entertain and do something special with the ball?
He emerged in a season when West Ham were really struggling, they’d sold their best players and even ended up with Ian Pearce playing as a striker that year! So it can’t have been an easy time to come through.
I also want to talk to him about the change in English football. These days it’s all about movement and playing between the lines, but when he was breaking through possession was not something that English football was proud of! Back then it was about getting the ball out wide, getting a cross in from the byline and heading it into the net. That was the world into which he emerged.
I wonder how different it could have been for Joe if he’d been coming through now, when football is played absolutely to his strengths and the tricky number 10s are the players most sought after.
His move to Chelsea came just as the Roman Abramovich era was just ramping up and he describes himself as something of an afterthought at Stamford Bridge. What he means by that, is there was so much going on and he was just another player that had arrived in a short space of time at a rapidly changing club.
Interestingly I read an interview with him the other day and for all that he achieved in his career, Joe said he would happily give back all the money and medals just to do it all over again. So I really want to get into talking about whether he felt he realised his potential, what mistakes he feels he made along the way and if he could go through his career again, what would he do differently?
On Saturday night he’s going to be alongside other guests that know exactly what it feels like to step away from football and I want them to speak to him about what it’s genuinely like retiring.
Even though he’s been in the USA for the last couple of years of his career, which we know does not have the intensity of European football, he’s still had to go through pre-seasons and play a game at the end of every week. So right now, for the first time in as long as I’m sure he can remember, his week doesn’t finish in a game of football.
I know he’s helping out at the Chelsea Academy at the moment so I want to know what’s changed there since his playing days, what the atmosphere is like at the club under Maurizio Sarri and what his plans are long-term.
It’s a great opportunity for West Ham fans, England fans and Chelsea fans to ask Joe Cole any questions you’ve always wanted to know the answer to! For me, I’m looking forward to asking what he made of Rio, Frank and Steven’s take on the ‘Golden Generation’ and finding out what he thinks of his time with England.
Send in your questions to Joe by using #PLTonight on Twitter and join us from 8pm this Saturday, BT Sport 1 and 4K UHD!