Cole and Ferdinand used to be team-mates in a Hammers squad that also spawned Frank Lampard, Michael Carrick and Jermain Defoe. All five went on to enjoy success elsewhere, whilst West Ham twice lost their top-flight status in 2003 and 2011. Now Cole is looking to rebuild himself though, accepting the chance to re-sign for West Ham on a free transfer to escape the difficulties he was experiencing at Liverpool. Though there will be no sentiment on show at Old Trafford on Wednesday evening when Manchester United look to dump West Ham out of the FA Cup, Ferdinand is hopeful Cole will prove to be an inspirational signing.
"The era we had there will be part of West Ham's history forever now, with so many players who went on to play for England and win league titles with other clubs," said Ferdinand.
"It is unfortunate for West Ham those players did not stay there and their presence get built upon."
"That is all history now I suppose. But Joe Cole has gone there to rewrite a bit of his own history in the coming months."
"It would be good to see him do something positive, but not this week. We want to get through this round."
Though it is 12 years since Ferdinand left Upton Park, first for Leeds, then, a couple of seasons later to Manchester United for a then British record £29.1million, his attachment to the London club remains strong. Indeed, Ferdinand can see strong similarities between the close bonds forged within the Hammers' inner sanctum and those that exist at United.
"West Ham is special," said Ferdinand. "I look at West Ham as being similar to Manchester United in terms of their history and the way they keep all their people for so many years."
"It is a club that is close to my heart because I came through the ranks there.
"After Manchester United, they are the first result I look out for and I am sure it will always be that way."
After grinding his way through the full 90 minutes of United's Premier League victory over Liverpool on Sunday, Ferdinand seems unlikely to be risked for the cup clash, with a vital trip to Tottenham looming at the weekend.