Monday, January 23, 2006
Pardew bullish about £7m Ashton price-tag
Alan Pardew has insisted the £7million signing of striker Dean Ashton was not a 'gamble' - but revealed the West Ham board had questioned his commitment
to the club-record deal.
The Hammers smashed their record transfer fee to sign the England Under-21
international after emerging as the only club willing to meet Norwich's asking
Ashton, 22, has agreed a four-and-a-half-year deal with the east-London club,
but Pardew admitted he had to fight long and hard to convince everyone his gut
instinct was worth following through.
'My board were to some extent questioning it themselves, and I pushed them
because I was so sure Dean fitted perfectly into what we were doing,' said the
'They have backed me, and I thank them for that.'
Pardew reflected: 'When you look at a player who is 22, plays in the
Championship and then look at the fee, I think they are quite right to question
it to some degree. I just pushed them.
'I related it back to a story I heard from Bobby Robson, when he was going to
try to take Ronaldo at PSV, and he kept saying 'go again, go again'.
'I just kept saying the same, because I felt Dean was the right man for West
'For me, I have no doubts he is going to be a big player for us.'
Pardew insisted: 'I do not see it as a gamble.
'You are talking about an England Under-21 international, who has had more
shots on target than any other player in the Championship and had a good record
in the Premiership.'
Ashton only joined the Canaries from Crewe for £3million last January, but
despite scoring seven goals in 16 appearances he could not help save the Norfolk
club from relegation.
The 22-year-old has netted 11 times in a Coca-Cola Championship campaign
hampered by injury and yesterday agreed personal terms before undergoing a
West Ham will pay an initial £7million, plus a conditional £250,000, while a
15% sell-on clause has also been negotiated by the Norfolk club, who had to pay
Crewe around £1.5m under the terms of the deal which had brought the striker to
Carrow Road in Norwich's club record deal this time last year.
The England striker was looking forward to testing himself in the top-flight
'I am sorry to leave Norwich, because they gave me the opportunity, but when
West Ham came along I jumped at the chance to get back in the Premiership,'
'It has always been my ambition to play in the Premiership regularly, and
hopefully I can do that here and improve.'
West Ham's club record signing insisted the price tag would not weigh heavy on
'I put pressure on myself to perform anyway, so I don't really think about
the fee,' Ashton declared, 'I just want to improve.
'I am flattered by the fee, but I am going to work hard to repay that.'
Ashton hopes the move will spark his England ambitions.
'It is definitely a club who is moving forwards, you can see that by how they
have been performing this season,' the striker said.
'Hopefully I can play as well as I can and you never know where that is going
to take you.'
Ashton is not cup-tied after missing the third-round clash between Norwich
and, ironically, West Ham because of a groin problem.
And the striker said: 'I have played a lot of games this season and have got
that basic match fitness.
'I will be working hard this week and hoping to be fit for Saturday.