Cole felt things changed for homegrown players at City after the Abu Dhabi takeover in 2008. He'd been with the club from the age of seven.
"I had a choice, them or United. I picked City because I enjoyed it more and it was the best place for youngsters," he told the Daily Mail. "They'd brought through players like Micah Richards and Shaun Wright-Phillips.
"Then they got their money and everything changed straight away. They started buying foreign boys for the academy and all the English lads got pushed to one side. As you got older, you realised you wouldn't get a chance of progressing no matter what you did.
"Some players were picked regardless of form because they'd had millions of pounds spent on them. It wasn't fair on the ones who'd come through the ranks."