Doncaster: Ashton should have gone earlier

Canaries chief executive Neil Doncaster yesterday admitted that mistakes may have been made over the sale of star striker Dean Ashton - for the sake of ambition.

Canaries chief executive Neil Doncaster yesterday admitted that mistakes may have been made over the sale of star striker Dean Ashton - for the sake of ambition.

City turned down big-money bids for Ashton last summer but, instead of cashing in and reinvesting, they decided to go the other way and persuaded their record signing to stay on.

However, six months down the line Ashton wanted out of Carrow Road in order to pursue his Premiership ambitions and joined West Ham in January for a club record £7.25m.

Doncaster says in his weekly column for the EDP that, in hindsight, not selling the club's prize asset might have been a mistake, but insists it was done for the best of reasons.


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“With the benefit of hindsight, would we have done some of the things we did this season? When we turned down bids in the region of £6million for Dean Ashton from Manchester City and Wigan Athletic last summer, was this the right thing to do?” he writes.

“Persuading Dean to stay and signing him up on a longer, improved contract was done absolutely for the right reasons, and if we had sold him then we would no doubt have been accused of a lack of ambition.

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“But, with the benefit of hindsight, it would perhaps have been better to cash-in and reinvest last summer, rather than in January, when Dean was making it very clear that he no longer saw his future with us.”

Ashton had signed a three-and-a-half-year contract in January last year after signing for £3m from Crewe. The striker then put pen to paper on a one-year extension in August as City hoped to get back into the Premiership at the first attempt.

“Those are the sorts of decisions that the management and board of this club have to make,” Doncaster added.

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