The Jonathan Jackson Column

Friday 01 March, 2002

Defending Ashley Ward

Some strong views have been aired at BfB recently about Our Ash, and his demands for a payout to leave.

On the face of it, it does appear that Mr Ward is motivated by the root of all evil and not a lot else. However, I think it goes a bit deeper than that.

Firstly Ashley Ward has a binding legal agreement with Bradford City to pay him (reputedly) £18,000 per week until June 2004.

Secondly, Ashley Ward has not asked for a transfer. Bradford City are seeking to cancel the above contract.

Ashley may not be the most prolific goalscorer in Premiership history, but he has proven beyond all doubt that he cuts the mustard at Division One level. 11 goals in 22 games, many of these games whilst injured or recovering from injury, proves this.

If Bradford City wish to offload him they can only expect to do so if the club who take him on are prepared to pay him sufficient money to make it worth his while to walk away from his contract with us. If they are offering a substantial drop in wages (which I suspect Barnsley are) then Ashley has every right to seek compensation from BCFC to make up the difference.

The only circumstance that would go against this is if Ash had requested the transfer himself. If this were so then he wouldn't have a leg to stand on. Fact is he hasn't.

My view is that if we have £750,00 to throw away by letting him go, and bear in mind we will require an adequate replacement (who won't come cheap) then we should keep him.

Ash has proven that he will give 100%. Most players in transfer talks wouldn't have been playing on Tuesday night, let alone putting in the effort he did. Love him or hate him, he is not a lazy player, and from my memory I recall us playing against him and him giving our defence a torrid time with his hustle and bustle, and I'd rather have him on our team than against it. Ward & Cadamarteri could just be the dream team.

Fine, go out and sign Chris Greenacre, and bring in this Norwegian guy, but neither are proven at this level and are not therefore capable of immediately replacing ward. In any case, Greenacre is not a big "Forrad".

BCFC have got a shortage of strikers. Is Gareth Gates (sorry Gareth Grant!) and Andy Tod your idea of a dream team. I think not.

So, lets keep Ashley Ward. Make him earn his money from us and see where that gets us next year. (Unless of course Nottingham Forest are prepared to swap him for Marlon Harewood, who for me looked very dangerous on Tuesday).

Ashley Ward, goal machine.

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