Ex-Gunners star Cole made the switch in 2006 to west London rivals Chelsea, but a year before the Blues and several parties were hit with hefty fines over claims of a secret meeting to discuss a move between Cole and Chelsea.
The FA fined Cole and Mourinho a reduced figure of £75,000 after appeal, while Chelsea were hit with a £300,000 fine and a suspended three-point deduction; Cole’s agent Barnett was fined £100,000 and had his licence revoked for 18 months – with nine months suspended.
However, more than 15 years later, Cole has once again refuted the claims during a candid interview with Jamie Redknapp for the Daily Mail.
“My contract was running out at Arsenal,” the now-Chelsea youth coach said. “I went to speak to an agent who represented Spanish clubs.
“I didn’t hide. I didn’t hire a private room. It was a meeting room in a hotel, and the meeting before was Jose and Kenyon meeting an agent about another player.
“I walked in. Then someone serving sandwiches came in and, wanting to make money, said there were contracts on the table. It was lies. There was no conversation with Chelsea.
“They said I was cheating on Arsenal. I’ve been caught in a ‘secret meeting’ which wasn’t that at all.
“It sold papers and painted me in a bad light with the fans. They had signs that said I was a ‘traitor’ when I hadn’t done anything wrong.
“I talked to David Dein and Arsene Wenger. ‘No Ashley, this is not right, you can’t do this…’ That fuelled more anger in me.”