The Monday Profile: Darren Ambrose

Posted by on May 3, 2010 in The Monday Profile | 2 Comments

Perhaps a predictable choice for the profile this week but anyone who was able to ignore Mark Bright’s constant sledging of those called upon to replace him in the position of striker for Crystal Palace FC on the Beeb yesterday will have had underlined to them once again how much of a fulcrum the Harlow sired player has been for the Eagles this season. One fact of significance that Bright did recount was the midfielder’s notching of a round score of goals: double that of opponents Sheffield Wednesday’s top scorer. It’s no exaggeration at all to state that Palace are still in the division thanks to Ambrose and his purchaser Neil Warnock.

He was a wunderkind of course, debuting at Highbury in Ipswich’s last Premier parade, a match in which a player whose style he resembles, Freddie Ljungberg, proved to be prominent. An ebullient season for an eighteen year old ensued as the Tractor Boys negotiated the next ledge, but financial expediency led to his quitting for Newcastle in March 2003. As Steve Wilson mentioned yesterday, a UEFA Cup semi fnal appearance was perhaps the highlight of a sticky spell of constant benchkeeping, albeit one drowned out by the strains of la Marseillaise. Eventual incoming Magpies’ boss Graeme Souness showed little confidence after one of the most baffling managerial appointments in league history and Ambrose found himself heading for Charlton.

I saw Ambrose play well in a collectively poor Addicks performance at the Mad Stad amidst the dog days of Les Reed’s fleeting reign, but that season was to be the first of two relegations in three years for the south Londoners. Hints of his true abilities had flickered, particularly in a link up with ex-Ipswich sparring partner Darren Bent, but whilst the latter found himself heading to Spurs for £16.5 million, our hero stayed loyal: unwisely as it turns out. A falling out of favour in 2008-9 presaged a new low and only the likely glee anticipated by renowned Charlton hater Simon Jordan provided him with a route out.

Ambrose is still only 26 and will now face a dilemma. His soaring season will leave him happy as larry at Palace and its capping yesterday will present a new high but he might suit the capacious fish-limited pond scenario. Rumours that he was originally distraught to leave Ipswich as well as his staying true to Charlton longer than he perhaps should have done show the mettle of the man. Unfortunately, the financial situation north of Croydon might see him packing his kit bag once again.
Rob Langham
Rob Langham (pen name: Lanterne Rouge) is co-founder of the defiantly non-partisan football league blog, The Two Unfortunates, a website that occasionally strays into covering issues of wider importance. He's 47 and lives in Oxford while retaining his boyhood support of Reading FC. He tweets as @twounfortunates and has written for a number of websites and publications including The Football Attic, The Inside Left, When Saturday Comes, In Bed with Maradona, Futbolgrad and The Blizzard as well as being nominated for the Football Supporters' Federation Blogger of the Year Award in 2013.

2 Comments

  1. Ben
    May 5, 2010

    Ambrose was always a very skilful player for us, but a bit too lightweight in the top flight, and we also had no idea exactly where to accommodate him – on the flanks he'd be peripheral to the action, but in the middle he'd give us a soft centre, especially away from home. Our best memory of him was of a great goal at Old Trafford a week after we'd been thumped by our hosts in the FA Cup semi-final – but that strike was rather overshadowed by a Wayne Rooney volley shortly afterwards…

    http://blackandwhiteandreadallover.blogspot.com/2005/04/pride-but-no-points.html

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