Ashby proud of his son
Ashby proud of his son

There could possibly soon be a familiar name to Kent football donning the famous claret and blue of West Ham United.

The name of Ashby is of course synonymous to Gillingham fans after defender Barry Ashby made over 270 appearances for the club over a seven-year period which of course included two Wembley Play Off Final appearances.

But now it’s his son Harrison who has just signed his first professional contract with the Premier League side. Like his dad, Harrison is a defender, who has been capped by Scotland at under seventeen and under nineteen level.

KSN caught up with a very proud father this week. “Proud Dad, proud family,” Barry told us.

“To see your son put in so much hard work – I think sometimes people think this football game is easy but I can assure you that its not as these boys put the work in from the ages of nine and ten.”

“I know it’s a tough environment to be brought up in. He’s put in a lot of hard work and dedication – he’s a good lad and he’s worked his socks off; he’s got good ability and he’s a grafter as well so we really are very proud and he gives one hundred percent all the time!”

“From a very young age, he picked up a ball and was kicking it around as obviously there was always a football around and from a very young age, he had quite a few offers from clubs around London.”

“He went to Chelsea for a few years. but things didn’t work out there. There were the options of a few clubs but part of the reason for choosing West Ham in the first place was their history and the “Academy” – we’ve spoken about it in football circles for years – your Joe Coles; Rio Ferdinand; Trevor Brooking; Alan Devonshire; they’ve always been a club to work with youth, promote youth and have done well with youth.”

“In terms of the actual club itself, historically it’s one of those clubs who have just got the vibe about it and will always be associated with the World Cup. Harrison went in there to have a look and after the first couple of sessions came back and said it was the place for him!”

“It’s a lot different these days to when I signed my first contract. Back in our day, it was basically put in front of you and told to sign it and you did and that was the end of it!”

“It was different – football’s moved on; there’s a load of stuff around in football today that wasn’t there in my day. There’s still lessons that players, clubs can learn from old school things, but I think that we’re going in the right direction in terms of development – the facilities are much better – and this isn’t aimed at anyone at West Ham – I wouldn’t say that coaching is any better these days.”

“I think that the young lads that I look at in the games that I watch, what I do see is that some of the basics of football are not tuned up as well as they were when we were younger.”

“But in terms of ability of what these boys can do on the ball and the dedication and the way that they are athletes and how finely tuned they are. The game has come on leaps and bounds since my day, but in terms of the actual whole process, it’s a lot different today than it was in my day.”