THE Chairman of Hartlepool Football Club, Coun. John Curry, the man who introduced both Brian Clough and Len Ashurst to football management, today gave a polite but firm “hands-off” warning in reply to speculative report that Ashurst could be regarded as favourite to fill the role vacated by Alan Brown at Roker Park.
He reminded everybody concerned that Ashurst, as player-manager and not just manager, is on a player’s contract at the Victoria Ground, Hartlepool, so any move for the former Roker full-back would need to be conducted like a player’s transfer.
This suggests that Hartlepool would almost certainly want a transfer fee for the young manager who has created more interest in his 18 months with Hartlepool than anybody since Brian Clough.
Coun Curry told the Echo: “To those national newspapers who have suggested that Len is the man for the Sunderland job, I would say they should do their homework before they make such suggestions.
“Let anybody touch Len Ashurst and they will have to answer to me. He is on a player’s contract with us and, therefore, any talk about a move would have to involve a fee.
“Half those who have quoted Len’s name in connection with Sunderland wouldn’t even know he is on such a contract with us.
“But if anybody approaches a player before he approaches the club, which holds that player’s contact, he is in trouble. That applies at all levels of the game.
“I am quite convinced that if Brian Clough and Peter Taylor had not already signed their new contracts with Derby County they would have been favourites. I brought Brian to the Victoria Ground and I feel certain that he would have been glad to join Sunderland given the opportunity.”
Ashurst, himself, who was training with his players this morning and destined to play his second game of the season in place of the suspended centre half Bill Green at home to Aldershot on Saturday, had no comment to make.
Story taken from the Sunderland Echo on November 2 1972.