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Alarm bells sounding for Everton


Cole diffuses tension over tweet

Ashley Cole has issued a statement stressing that that he is "good friends" with Rio Ferdinand after the Manchester United defender appeared to mock his decision to support John Terry in court.

• Terry found not guilty

Cole appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court in support of his Chelsea team-mate after Terry was accused of a racially aggravated public order offence towards Ferdinand's brother, QPR defender Anton.

Terry was found not guilty on Friday.

A Twitter user subsequently wrote a message to Rio Ferdinand suggesting Cole, who told the court he was a long-standing friend of the Ferdinand brothers, was a "choc ice". The term is commonly understood to mean "black on the outside, white on the inside".

The Twitter user said: "Looks like Ashley Cole's going to be their choc ice. Then again he's always been a sell out. Shame on him."

Ferdinand tweeted in response: "I hear you fella! Choc ice is classic! hahahahahahha!!"

The Manchester United player then responded to criticism of his remark by writing: "And if I want to laugh at something someone tweets....I will! Hahahahaha! Now stop getting ya knickers in a twist!"

Cole, who has played regularly alongside Rio Ferdinand and Terry for England, then issued a response through his lawyers.

It read: "Ashley Cole has been made aware of the discussion following comments appearing on Twitter and wishes to make it clear that he and Rio Ferdinand are good friends and Ashley has no intention of making any sort of complaint.

"Ashley appreciates that Tweeting is so quick it often results in off-hand and stray comments."

On Sunday morning, Rio Ferdinand wrote on his Twitter account: "What I said yesterday is not a racist term. Its a type of slang/term used by many for someone who is being fake. So there."