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Barnes: I didn't feel wanted so it was best to go
11:00am Wednesday 15th January 2014 in Sport
ASHLEY Barnes says he felt unwanted by Albion after claiming they only made him one contract offer.
The striker joined Championship rivals Burnley last week on a three-and-a-half year deal for a fee of about £750,000.
He would have been out of contract at the end of the season so the Seagulls decided to cash in rather than risk losing him for nothing in the summer.
Now Barnes has revealed his reasons for his move to Lancashire after four successful years on the South Coast and the contract issue instrumental in his departure.
The 24-year-old, signed from Plymouth for £125,000 in July 2010 following a profitable loan spell, helped Albion to the League One title in his first full season with 18 goals in 43 games.
Barnes scored 11 in 43 outings in the first season at The Amex back in the Championship and eight in 36 last season, when his appearances were curtailed by two red cards including one for tripping a referee.
Barnes remained a key figure right up to his departure under head coach Oscar Garcia following the summer sacking of former boss Gus Poyet for gross misconduct.
He scored five goals in 23 Championship appearances this season and Oscar depended on him to lead the line when Leo Ulloa was out injured for ten weeks.
Barnes told The Argus: “It was a hard decision to leave. I had been there for four years and I’ve classed it as home all the way along – I still do now really.
“But for security and from a family point of view I needed a fresh challenge. I’ve got my wife and our two-and-a-half year old, so obviously I need to look out for them as well.
“It had got to that stage in my life and it was too good to say no. We thought it was the right time to leave, with everything that went on and no contract (agreed).
“But I’ll go away with every happy memory of what I have done for that club. I’ve put them where they are today really.
“I got offered a contract in pre-season but it wasn’t right for me and my family and that was the only one they offered me. They never came back with anything else.
“That’s football and from then I needed to have a new challenge.
“How I felt was do they want me? I knew from the gaffer Oscar Garcia and Jonesy’s (assistant Nathan Jones) point of view that they wanted to keep me for a long time.
“I wanted to stay for a long time, I wanted to be there for the long haul. We were on a dream, a challenge to get to the Prem, and we just missed out last season in the play-offs.
“I’ve come to a great team at a great time of the year, with them sitting in second and pushing to get to the Premier League and that is where I want to be. Hopefully we’ll get promoted here.”
Barnes felt Albion’s offer under-valued his contribution and worth to the club. He finally jumped ship to Burnley after they had three bids turned down in the August transfer window.
He insisted: “It’s not about money, no chance. The move is about trying to get to the Premier League as quickly as possible. That is why I chose Burnley after speaking to the manager (Sean Dyche) and everything, because there was Leeds and Wolves as well.
“But I’ve made the right decision on footballing reasons, not about money. It’s not about money at all, or I would have stayed at Brighton, but it wasn’t right for me or my family.”
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