Ashton urged not to sue as career ends

PFA ask retiring striker not to sue Wright-Phillips over tackle that broke ankle

It is an ill wind that blows nobody any good and the sailors' maxim also applies to the wreckage of a footballer's career. Dean Ashton's long struggle with injury has been a windfall to the medical community, now it could be even more lucrative for the legal profession.

Ashton, a strong and mobile centre-forward who, if he had remained fit, would have been in the running for a World Cup place, confirmed his retirement yesterday, more than three years after suffering an ankle injury on the eve of what was to be his England debut. The 26-year-old made several comeback attempts, one of which was successful enough for him to finally make his international bow, but was never the same player. Having been warned that he risked disability later in life if he did not retire Ashton has given in. It is understood he will undergo another operation next week.

Attention will then turn to the issue of compensation, both for Ashton and his club, West Ham. In normal circumstances the Football Association's insurers would recompense a club for the loss of a player injured on international duty, as Ashton was in August 2006. His value then was claimed to be £7m, the fee West Ham paid Norwich City for him eight months previously. However, the FA's insurers (actually, their previous insurers) will note that Ashton played 32 matches in 2007-08, including one for England, scoring 11 goals, before suffering further injury. They may thus argue other injuries contributed to his retirement.

A similar defence will be used should Ashton sue Shaun Wright-Phillips, or his then-club Chelsea. Wright-Phillips committed the tackle which led to the injury while the pair were training ahead of an England international with Greece.

Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, yesterday urged Ashton not to sue Wright-Phillips. "I hope it doesn't come to that because nobody would think that Shaun Wright-Phillips was a malicious player at all," said Taylor. "At the moment we've been speaking to his representatives and the situation is about looking to get proper compensation without discussing any player v player action. It's complex."

Soundings from legal experts suggested it would be difficult for Ashton to sue successfully. He would already have some insurance against loss of earnings through injury, so any additional action would centre on proving Wright-Phillips, Chelsea, or England (the FA) were negligent.

Ashton, who signed a new five-year contract last year, is expected to agree a pay-off with the club in the region of £3m, cash West Ham can ill-afford even if they will be grateful for a reduction in their wage bill. Tony Cottee, a predecessor in the Hammers attack, said: "Cynics will point out he will get paid millions of pounds but that doesn't replace the fact he has lost his footballing years and also has to deal mentally with the problems of retiring."

Current Hammers' manager Gianfranco Zola, who was never able to pick Ashton, said, "I feel for him and I feel for me as well as I wonder what it would have been like to have a player like him in my squad. He would have made a big difference for us. That is my sorrow."

There was sympathy also from Crewe manager Dario Gradi, who gave Ashton his debut at 16 before selling him to Norwich. Gradi said: "The saving grace is that he will have made enough money not to have to work again, but it is a great shame."

Taylor added: "It's extremely sad. He was a great talent, but injury is one of the hazards of the profession."

Broken dreams: Ashton's injuries

*August 2006

Broke left ankle in training before England match with Greece. Missed entire season.

*October 2007

Damaged knee ligaments, again on England duty. Out for six weeks.

*September 2008

Leaves field injured during match at West Brom, his final game. Injures ankle again in training later in the same month.

*December 2009


Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashionThe supermodel on her career, motherhood and Cara Delevingne
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments