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Dan Ashworth reveals how he found diamonds for West Brom

Former technical director Dan Ashworth has lifted the lid on his remarkable time at Albion.

In an exclusive interview with the Express & Star, Ashworth discussed his incredible journey from arriving at The Hawthorns as a youth team coach in 2004 to becoming the most in-demand sporting and technical director in the country.

Speaking to our Baggies Broadcast podcast, the 51-year-old discussed how he completely transformed Albion’s academy.

He also revealed why former owner Jeremy Peace promoted him to the role of technical director despite Ashworth, at the time, knowing little about the role.

And he also touched on his relationships with manager’s Tony Mowbray, Roberto Di Matteo and Roy Hodgson.

It was Ashworth’s success in the transfer market, though, that most fans remember him for.

The head of an outstanding recruitment team, he helped sign cult heroes including Peter Odemwingie, Graham Dorrans, Claudio Yacob, Gonzalo Jara and Gareth McAuley all for bargain fees.

And speaking to the Baggies Broadcast, Ashworth explained how he did it.

“All our signings were done in a similar way during that time,” Ashworth said. “We had a small, cupboard-like, room that we called the Shire and we put some satellite boxes in there to record games from all around the world.

“Every day Lee Darnborough (chief analyst) would record 12 games before he went home.

“We put six or seven cinema seats in there and we’d just sit and watch games.

Peter Odemwingie

“And then we’d go to Tony (Mowbray) and say: ‘I think we’ve found one, come and look at this one’.

“If he agreed, we would then back it up by going out to watch them.”

One of the deals Ashworth discusses at length on the Baggies Broadcast was the capture of striker Odemwingie.

The Nigerian international officially arrived for an undisclosed fee from Lokomotiv Moscow in 2010.

And a day later he scored an 81st-minute winner to inspire Albion to a 1-0 victory over Sunderland in the Premier League.

“Every signing has there own story and that is why this is such a fantastic job,” Ashworth continued.

“Peter Odemwingie was first spotted playing for Nigeria.

“We thought we had done a loan deal but Lokomotiv changed chief executive and said they would only sell him so we ended up paying 1.5million euros which was still a brilliant deal.

“He scored the next day but I was in Germany watching another game. We agreed the deal and then I flew out because we were still in the transfer window.

“I was at the game and I was checking my phone. It was 0-0 against Sunderland and then it came through – 1-0 Odemwingie.

“They must have thought I was an idiot in the crowd because I just shouted ‘yes.’ It was a massive buzz, a massive buzz. It doesn’t get any better than that.

“I remember negotiating Peter’s deal and he thought what he was getting in wages was net – which is how you negotiate in Russia.

“But it was gross so we had a problem right at the end.

“Peter is a bright guy and realised he was going to lose 40 per cent in tax. So we had to have a handshake that if he scored the goals to keep us up we would re-negotiate his contact which he did and we did.

“He wanted to come by that point, but he actually came for less money than he was earning in Russia.”

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