Burnige confirms Ward deal

Last updated : 27 May 2005 By Charlie Roper
Jeff Burnige
Does he know what he's doing?
After days of speculation, the news that Darren Ward is finally on his way was confirmed by Millwall Football Club this afternoon.

With several clubs rumoured to be interested in the player, Chairman Jeff Burnige has decided to take the unpopular step of selling The Lions' Player of the Year to rivals Crystal Palace. And in a statement on the club's official website, the increasingly unpopular chairman tried to explain why he took the decision.

"I made it abundantly clear to Darren, his advisors and many enquiring clubs that Millwall were not seeking to make him available for transfer.

Despite our position, at the end of last week, it emerged that at least three clubs were considering bids of around £1m. One of these was a Premiership club, and Darren seemed quite determined to move on.

At the last minute, Crystal Palace made their offer, which threw a spanner in the works, to say the least. I am sure that all Millwall fans would have preferred him to move to a Premiership club, and certainly not to one of our fiercest rivals. However, once Darren had made his decision, the board had to accept the situation and the fee agreed represents good business for our club.

The positive side of this deal is that it will greatly benefit our finances and the new manager, when he is appointed, will therefore be operating with a clean slate. He will now be able to start work knowing that he can shape the squad to his own vision, without the need to generate money first."