The Roland Harris Column

Thursday 28 February, 2002

Ward stays until the price is right

You had a feeling that it was not 100% in the bag. That if a guy can play twice after a deal had been sealed then he could carry on. It's no surprise that Ashley Ward's move to Barnsley has fallen apart. No surprise why it has either.

Ashley has not stayed at City for love of the club, nor has he stayed because he sees the future of the club as rosy. He has not failed to agree terms with Barnsley or decided that he had been at Oakwell long enough in his previous spell and that he did not want to go back.

No Ashley Ward will not be joining Barnsley because City will not give him £750,000 to leave.

No where in football did you expect this to happen. When you grew up watching Gary Lineker and Gazza for England in 90 you would never have thought that a creature such as Ashley Ward existed. For Ashley Ward football is not about the shirt, playing for pride, for heart, for the guys who struggle to earn a living and would give an arm for the ability that he has. For Ashley Ward football is not about being the best you can be or achieving medals and glory.

For Ashley Ward football is business.

And not just in that modern, isn't the game gone to the dogs because of the green backs way. No Ward's devotion to the dollar is more cut and dried than that. Basically he puts it at the front of everything. It does not matter how well or badly the team he plays for is doing, as long as he gets paid as much as he can.

He would happily play for Halifax Town if they gave him £18,001 a week.

I could be misreading Ward here, perhaps I am, perhaps he is a great guy, but this is how it seems to me. Ashley Ward seems like most disgusting of creatures. The mercenary footballer playing for the wage, not the shirt. We know that all footballers have money in the back of their minds, the horrible thing about Ashley Ward is, it seems that money is at the front and football at the back.


City fan reader Mike Hitch

I read with interest Roland Harris's column regarding Ashley Ward. He less than happy that Ashley Ward has refused to move unless he is adequately compensated by Bradford City Football Club for the remainder of his contract. Whatever my feelings regarding the ability of Ashley Ward and the usefulness to the squad, I have to say I probably would've acted the same in his position.

He was due to move to a 'lesser' club taking a significant cut in salary and expected to take this lying down.

If Bradford City were stupid enough to pay £18,000 a week for a striker who was clearly out of his depth at Blackburn and then expect him to perform at Premiership level then they must pay the price.

Taking loyalty aside, in the business world, moving to a 'smaller' company for less money would never be tolerated, so why should it be different in football.

Loyalties in football these days are nearly non-existent and players have to make as much as they can, in what is a short career. I honestly think that Bradford City should cut their losses and run. Write it off as a bad investment and start again. After all, this is not Ashley's fault.


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