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The end for Ashton. West Ham striker to sue Chelsea?

December 12, 2009

Some sad news for Football, and West Ham United striker Dean Ashton, as the 26-year old has been forced to call time on his professional career after failing to recover from a nasty ankle injury picked up in a training session whilst on England duty.

It was Ashton’s first call up to the National side, one of many highs during a career that possessed so much potential.

The moment that effectively ended Ashton’s career was a tackle by then Chelsea midfielder Shaun Wright-Phillips. The tackle broke Ashton’s ankle, and forced him to miss the entirety of the 2006-07 season. He bounced back the following year to net 11 goals in 35 appearances for the Hammers, but after scoring both goals in a 2-1 win against Wigan, the opening game of the 2008-09 season, Ashton twisted his ankle in Gianfranco Zola’s first training session at the club in September 2008, and he would never play again.

Now, 3 years on from the initial injury, Ashton is contemplating suing Wright-Phillips, and Chelsea for the tackle that put an end to his dream. West Ham boss Zola doesn’t see the logic in that decision though:

He was playing for England but it could have happened at any time. There is no time for regrets or blaming anyone. It seems strange. I don’t think he might want to do something like that.

Of course, Chelsea’s argument is that they were not responsible for their player’s actions at the time, as he was under the watch of the English FA, and the England staff. They cannot control what their player does if they are not present and in control of what he’s doing. An appeal is inevitable should Ashton go ahead with the proposed move.

A very sad end to a very good player’s career then. He started his career at Crewe Alexandra, under the guidance of stalwart manager Dario Gradi. In 5 years at Gresty Road, Ashton bagged 61 goals in 159 appearances, as well as scoring 4 goals in 9 games for the England Under-21 side in that time. He then moved to Norwich City where he played 44 games, notching 17 goals, before he made the £7m move to East London and West Ham United. Alan Pardew was the man responsible for bringing Ashton to the Premier League. He felt Ashton had a lot more to offer.

I always felt, if Dean had stayed fit, I would have stayed at West Ham. I’m sorry it’s come to this, because I had a lot of time for him. He had a lot of quality about him.

Ashton scored 15 times in 46 games for the Hammers, but how many more goals would he have netted should he not suffered that fatal ankle injury? Unfortunately, we will never know.

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