Robson hits back over Ambrose
SIR Bobby Robson today defended his bargain swoop for teen ace Darren Ambrose.The Newcastle boss was speaking for the first time since the youngster's £1 million move from Ipswich in March.
By Mel Henderson
SIR Bobby Robson today defended his bargain swoop for teen ace Darren Ambrose.
The Newcastle boss was speaking for the first time since the youngster's £1 million move from Ipswich in March.
Some Town fans were incensed that such a promising player, who scored 11 times before his departure for the North East, appeared to be picked up on the cheap.
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They were further riled that an ex-Ipswich manager should appear to be taking advantage of the club's financial crisis.
But Sir Bobby, in town for last night's dinner to mark the 25th anniversary of the club's FA Cup win, hit back at claims that he had cashed in on his former club's misery.
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He said: "I watched Darren and my scouts saw a lot of him before we decided he was a player to enhance our squad.
"I said to my chairman 'There's a young player we should have here' and he went off to do the best deal possible for Newcastle United.
"That's how any chairman would handle it, isn't it? I didn't get involved in negotiations myself – that's the chairman's job.
"From what I have been told, Newcastle were the only club to make an offer for the kid. I know Aston Villa liked him, but they didn't come up with the money.
"He was there for Tottenham, Arsenal, Manchester United or whoever, but the truth is that only one club followed up their interest by offering hard cash."
Portman Road chairman David Sheepshanks has confirmed that Newcastle's bid was the only one received for 19-year-old Ambrose.
Ipswich, deep in debt, were under pressure to raise money to see them through to the end of the season and also allowed defender Hermann Hreidarsson to join Charlton for £800,000.
Meanwhile, Sir Bobby is satisfied that Ambrose will prove an astute capture once he is fully fit.
He explained: "When we bought him he was injured and he has only managed three reserve games for us.
"He was playing against Manchester City last night and if I receive a good report about him he could be on the bench on Sunday for the first team game at West Bromwich Albion.
"We like the lad, both as a player and a character, or we wouldn't have brought him to Newcastle. He looks good in training – he definitely has quality – and he's settled in well.
"But he is 19 and he has joined a very big club with very big players. He is actually one of what I believe to be the best crop of young players in the country.
"On Saturday, when we beat Birmingham, we did it with the youngest team in Newcastle's history. The average was 22 – and that was without Ambrose and Titus Bramble.
"Darren has only been fit for about ten days, so we are talking about next season when he will really make an impact."