Shock over Ambrose fee

IPSWICH Town are getting barely over a million pounds from Newcastle for Darren Ambrose.The size of the initial fee, for a player who looks set to be coming back to the Blues on loan, reflects the seriousness of the cash-crisis at the under administration club.

By Dave Allard

IPSWICH Town are getting barely over a million pounds from Newcastle for Darren Ambrose.

The size of the initial fee, for a player who looks set to be coming back to the Blues on loan, reflects the seriousness of the cash-crisis at the under administration club.

A Newcastle insider declared today: "Down the years Newcastle United have been very good to Ipswich Town, shelling out £11 million for Kieron Dyer and Titus Bramble.


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"Chairman Freddie Shepperd as got to do what is best for his club. I understand that Ipswich were asking over the £3 million pound mark for Ambrose. But this offer from Newcastle was a take it or leave it one and in the present situation it is one that Town have accepted."

Ambrose flew to Newcastle with his agent David Guise today after initially going to the north-east on Saturday.

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While the size of the fee will shock Blues fans still hoping their side can make the First Division play-offs, it looks as though he will be able to re-join Town for the rest of the season on loan.

The 19-year-old 11-goal midfield player told me today: "I'm going back up to Newcastle with my agent and will take it from there. It's all a bit scary. I don't want to go to Newcastle and play in the reserves. I'd rather be at helping Ipswich try and get back into the Premiership and if the loan situation can be sorted out then that would be good. But I'm confused by everything at the moment and the deal has got to be right."

If Ambrose signs later today then Ipswich and Newcastle will seek permission from the Football League executive board to allow him to finish the season at Portman Road.

Ambrose was on the Town teamsheet early afternoon on Friday and ready to come back into the Blues side after injury again Brighton on Saturday in what was a 2-2 draw.

The England Under 21 international from Harlow explained: "Then much later in the afternoon the boss Joe Royle came to see me and said that a fee had been agreed with Newcastle and that I could talk to them.

"I went up with my agent. We had a look around and I spoke to the manager Sir Bobby Robson and his chief scout Charlie Woods. I was very impressed with the whole set-up as you would expect. I had a medical and now we'll got back and take it from there."

He saw the first half of the Magpies 5-1 win over Blackburn at St James' Park before leaving for the airport.

Meanwhile, Hermann Hreidarsson, Town's Icelandic international central defender, is today going down to Portsmouth for talks with manager Harry Redknapp.

Town are believed to have agreed a fee of around the £800,000 mark for a player bought in a club record deal from Wimbledon in August 2000 for £5 million.

He is one of the biggest wage earners at Portman Road, believed to be on a £17,000 a week deal.

Portsmouth are top of the First Division and looking almost certain to be playing in the top flight again next season.

Getting that figure off the wage bill is a major concern to the administrators.

Last August. Hreidarsson turned down West Bromwich Albion after the Blues had agreed a £3 million fee.

Hreidarsson told me today: "I like it here at Ipswich but will speak with Portsmouth tonight. I want to play Premiership football again with Ipswich, but have to look at the whole picture. I will weight it all up in my mind before making a decision."

MEANWHILE, striker Darren Bent, who came on as a second half substitute to miss his second penalty of the season in the Brighton draw said today: "If another penalty comes up I'd be right up there to have another go."

Bent also missed against Norwich at home earlier in the season.

Town reserves are at home to Nottingham Forest reserves on Wednesday afternoon at the training ground. Royle may give striker Pablo Counago a run-out.

Counago, not long back from a four-game suspension, was taken off in the second half against Brighton.

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