Guest Post

Former West Ham record signing Dean Ashton has told Blowing Bubbles how painful it was to watch 2007’s Great Escape from the sidelines, knowing he was powerless to do anything about it.

In an exclusive interview to mark nine years since the final appearance of his injury-curtailed West Ham career, Ashton said it was ‘tortuous’ to watch the team he had been a part of one year earlier go through such torment – before their dramatic final day victory at Manchester United to ensure Premier League survival.

“When I broke my ankle [in summer 2006], obviously that was huge disappointment, but I thought I’d come back stronger than ever, but when six or seven months later I had to go in for another operation and it was clear that wasn’t going to happen, it was infuriating,” he said.

“Once I knew I needed a second operation, that ruled me out completely – there was no way I could have played a role in the Great Escape. I took myself off into my own bubble, away from the club, so I was quite isolated but that didn’t make it any less tortuous, watching and knowing I was powerless to help.”

Read more from Dean Ashton on West Ham, England, the injury that changed his life – and his fairytale farewell – in the latest edition of Blowing Bubbles