Ashton: Contract will infuriate duo

Persistent ankle problems forced Ashton to retire at the age of 26

last November, bringing a devastating end to a career which

promised so much, with the former Crewe and Norwich man tipped to

be an England regular when Steve McClaren began reshaping the squad

after the 2006 World Cup. Ashton’s problems began when he was

injured in a training session before an August 2006 friendly

against Greece, but he fought his way back to fitness and after

scoring 10 goals in 31 games in the 2007-08 season, he was rewarded

with a new five-year deal by the east Londoners in June 2008.

Ashton revealed the compensation process for him and the club is

still “going on” but accepts Sullivan and Gold, who revealed West

Ham were in debt to the tune of £100million when they took

charge, must have questioned the wisdom of awarding a long-term

contract to someone who did not play a single minute in the 2006-07

season. Ashton said: “In hindsight I’m sure they’re ripping their

hair out. At the time I felt I was not going to have any more

problems and that I’d got back to somewhere near my best and

obviously (the previous owners) felt that as well. “At the time

West Ham didn’t want to lose a striker. “At the time five years

seemed a lot. I had got back and played really well and was in the

team every week, and I felt like I deserved a new contract,” he

told BBC Radio Five Live. “It wasn’t up to me but I felt like I’d

earned my place back in the team.” Ashton revealed he had not

received an insurance pay-out following his retirement because he

had returned to action after his first ankle injury, and thereafter

his insurance did not cover him for future problems with his ankle.

“My insurance is void,” he said. “There are a lot of things in your

insurance where they don’t have to pay you out. If you are injured

when you renew it, they can obviously exclude your ankle (from

cover). “But I’m not going to harp on about insurance companies

trying to fleece people. If they were insuring a house and the roof

was knackered then obviously they wouldn’t insure your roof.”

Ashton also insisted he had no hard feelings towards Shaun

Wright-Phillips, whose challenge led to the injury he suffered in

the England training session in 2006. “I really haven’t (got any

resentment towards Wright-Phillips), there’s no point thinking

about that at all,” he added. “I’m pretty sure he didn’t want to

break my (ankle), whether it was a bad tackle or not I’m sure he

didn’t think that. “That was three years ago and there is no point

dwelling on that. It could have happened to anybody, it might have

been somebody else, it just so happened to be me and there is no

point keep going on and thinking about it.”