Dean Ashton was a wonderful talent.
Unfortunately, though, his career was cruelly cut short by injury.
Indeed, in December 2009 at the age of just 26, Ashton was forced to hang up his boots having struggled to overcome the severe ankle injury that he suffered in August 2006.
In all, he struck 19 times in 56 appearances for the Hammers in all competitions, but it would be fair to say that number would be much, much higher had he managed to stay injury free.
There is no question that Ashton – capped just once by the English national team in 2008 – is still highly regarded by the West Ham fans and many have been on social media lavishing praise on the club’s former centre-forward.
A selection of the Twitter reaction can be seen below:
We now see how good he was compared to our current strike force. Great player cruelly retired.
— Nigel Wright (@NWOK) March 20, 2019
Our best EVER striker , if that dumb guy Shawn Wright Philips didn’t injure him in England training we would have had another legend at the club , guy was immense for me , u could see his quality . #Baller
— ⚒Don Raphael⚒ (@Reeko007) March 20, 2019
What a player Dean Ashton was. Such a shame injury cut him down in his prime.
— Edward Jacobs (@Edward_Jacobs_) March 20, 2019
He was pure class
— Harry Penfold (@_HarryPenfold) March 20, 2019
Could have been one of our greatest ever strikers #coyi
— ⚒ Marky Perkins ⚒ (@Supagrova1973) March 20, 2019
Missed Ashton so much ⚒
— Dunc9 (@WHU99) March 20, 2019
good player who got hurt and got finnished because of it
— andrew westrop (@andrewwestrop) March 20, 2019