Dean Hammond made a dashing exit from Colchester United, shortly after ex-manager Paul Lambert yesterday, to Southampton amid the revelation he was prepared to run down his contact.
Talisman Hammond, 26, left the club after discussions with Chirman Robbie Cowling and a £400,000 bid from the south coast club, which was reluctantly accepted because Hammond`s deal at Colchester had less than a year until expiry.
The U`s offered the player they signed for just £250,000 from Brighton in January 2008 a two-year extension, which he declined to accept.
Cowling confessed in a statement yesterday in the absence of a manager that he had taken the decision to sell Hammond after Alan Pardew’s interest, which began privately with as many as four previous bids starting a foughtnight ago, according to the Colchester Gazette.
“It would be easy for me to claim that Dean`s impending transfer was the last act of a departing manager, but that would be totally untrue,” he said, in one of three official announcements at the club over the past day.
“Just as it would be untrue for anyone to claim that Paul left because his best players were being allowed to leave.”
The honesty of both Hammond, who could be replaced as team captain last night`s superb stand-in by Pat Baldwin, and Cowling in this situation appears to have paid dividends for the U`s.
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