Ashton: Playing Career Went Downhill After Real Madrid Debut
Tuesday, 1st Jun 2021 15:36
New Blues CEO Mark Ashton admits he wasn’t the greatest goalkeeper in his days as a young player under Town legend Brian Talbot at West Brom and says his career when downhill after a defeat to Real Madrid which led to coaching and then into the boardroom.
“I made my debut with Brian Talbot at 17,” Ashton, now 49, recalled. “You’re going to love this. Against Real Madrid. It’s true! They all laugh.
"We played in the US in San Francisco against Real Madrid and they had Bebeto, [Rafael] Gordillo etc playing.
“How Brian had arranged this tour, I’ve no idea, but Brian did, and that was my debut. We got stuffed 5-1 and my career went downhill like a rocket from that.
“I wasn’t good enough, it’s as simple as that. I had some injuries but I wasn’t going to be good enough to be playing at the top end.”
He says he subsequently returned to the Hawthorns taking on a variety of roles: “I went back to West Brom as a 20-year-old working in community and spent 16 years then doing a variety of roles, I was youth team coach, goalkeeper-coach, but realised that I didn’t really want to go down the coaching route, I wanted to run the business.
“So I was an utter pain to all of my CEOs, John Wile, who was the CEO for a long time, Mike O’Leary [now Town chairman] was my CEO for a couple of years, trying to learn every bit of the business. I wanted to be a CEO, I wanted to run a football club.
“And ultimately made the transition into the business side. You talk about being a player, I’ll get it in before others do, I was a bad player because everyone else will tell you that.
“Football’s in my blood, I’ve been very privileged to work with some amazing clubs and amazing people over the years.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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