West Ham Striker Dean Ashton Set to Announce Retirement

Striker forced to hang up his boots.

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Sports - September 25, 2007

West Ham striker Dean Ashton expected to retire from football
Dean Ashton is this week expected to announce his retirement from football after losing a long battle to recover from a broken ankle suffered on England duty more than three years ago.

The announcement is also likely lead to a multi-million pound compensation claim being lodged by the striker’s club, West Ham United, who have been deprived of the services of a player who cost them £7.25 million when he signed from Norwich City in January 2006.
Ashton, who will be 26 later this month, has desperately tried to regain fitness but has not played a senior match for 14 months. It’s understood that West Ham’s insurance claim may be as much as £7 million – the amount the player is believed to be covered for.

Ashton himself, who was marked out by Fabio Capello, when the Italian was appointed England manager, as a first-choice for his country, is also considering making a damages claim. This could also be lodged against the FA although there is also the possibility that Ashton could take action against Shaun Wright-Phillips, who tackled him during the England training session in August 2006 that caused the injury.

Ashton is suffering from chronic degeneration to his ankle. Although he can run, and is believed to be in outstanding physical shape apart from his ankle, Ashton cannot twist or turn or take any impact on the joint and is also in constant discomfort. Indeed he has been warned that he may end up being unable to walk properly if he continues to try and play football and may require further surgery in any case.

After the initial injury, which ruled him out for 11 months, Ashton did play again and made a further 35 appearances for West Ham, scoring 11 goals and earning himself a new five-year deal at the club last summer which placed him among the highest earners. However he broke down once more in September 2008, just four games into the season, and has been unable to play since despite manager Gianfranco Zola hoping he would eventually make a recovery.

The announcement is a severe blow to West Ham although the club will be hopeful of, at least, recouping some money through its compensation claim which may eventually be used to bolster Zola’s attacking options. (Daily Telegraph)

This is sad news for both the player and his club. Dean Ashton is the kind of old fashioned forward that you love to see playing for your club and he battled manfully to make his way from the lower leagues to international recognition.

His strike rate was impressive at whatever level he represented and he will be sorely missed by West Ham who do not have a great many options up front as it is. Having impressed under Dario Gradi at Crewe, Ashton got his move into the Premier League where Norwich purchased the Swindon born frontman. Dean was unable to prevent the club from being relegated a few months after his arrival even though he managed 7 goals in his 16 top flight appearances for the Canaries, including a great header during the club’s win over Man United. After just over a year at Carrow Road he was sold to West Ham and helped them to the FA Cup Final, which they lost on penalties.

In three and half years at Upton Park he managed 43 starts in all competitions but still managed to net 19 times. We wish him well in the future.

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