||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2013)|
With Birmingham City in 2012 pre-season
|Full name||Darren Paul Francis Ambrose|
|Date of birth||29 February 1984|
|Place of birth||Harlow, England|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Current club||Birmingham City|
|2008–2009||→ Ipswich Town (loan)||9||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 08:16, 18 September 2013 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).
Darren Paul Francis Ambrose (born 29 February 1984) is an English footballer who plays for Birmingham City. Ambrose is an attacking midfielder. He started his career at Ipswich Town, and played for Newcastle United, Charlton Athletic and Crystal Palace prior to his move to Birmingham City. He also made ten appearances for the England under-21 side, scoring twice.
Born in Harlow, Essex, Ambrose started his career at Ipswich Town and made his debut as an 18-year-old against Arsenal on 21 April 2002, replacing Martijn Reuser during a 2–0 defeat at Highbury. Ipswich lost their Premiership status the following month, though Ambrose started brightly in the next campaign, scoring on his full debut in a 2–0 victory against Walsall at the Bescot stadium, and went on to score ten more goals in 37 appearances, combining superbly throughout the season with his close friend, striker Darren Bent. In March, however, with Ipswich having fallen into administration, Ambrose was sold to Newcastle United for what was considered a bargain £1m. The sale was ordered by the administrators, and completed at Newcastle by former Ipswich manager Bobby Robson.
After returning from a short injury lay-off, Ambrose made his début for the Magpies against West Bromwich Albion on 11 May 2003, the final day of the 2002–03 Premier League season, and became a success during his first full season with the Toon. He scored three goals in 37 appearances, including one on his European début, against NAC Breda in the UEFA Cup, and another during a thrilling 3–3 draw with Southampton at St. Mary's Stadium in May. Ambrose scored another three goals in 2004–05, scoring a notable long-range effort against Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium, however moments like these were sparse as he made only 12 Premiership appearances for the club under new manager Graeme Souness. After being in and out of the team for most of the season, Ambrose was called back into the starting line up for a match against Manchester United at Old Trafford on 24 April 2005. In a game that Newcastle eventually lost 2–1 thanks to Wayne Rooney's memorable strike, Ambrose was his team's outstanding performer and capped the performance with a fine solo goal. Many pundits claimed that this was the sort of form that convinced previous manager Sir Bobby Robson to fork out a seven-figure sum for the player, though he would ultimately fail to gain a regular place in the starting line-up.
Eventually he voiced his frustrations at the lack of first team opportunities, declaring that while he had warmed to Newcastle and its fans, he was in need of regular games and starts, something that Souness couldn't guarantee the player. A number of clubs expressed their interest in him, including Aston Villa and Blackburn, although he eventually signed for Alan Curbishley's Charlton Athletic, stating on his arrival at the London club that his lack of chances in the Newcastle first team were a big contributor to his decision to join up with the Addicks. In total, he scored 6 goals in 56 appearances for United.
He joined Charlton Athletic on 8 July 2005 for a fee estimated to be in the region of £1.5 million, stating that he was delighted to move to as big an ambitious and determined club as the Addicks and believed that Alan Curbishley was the perfect man to develop himself into a better player and further his footballing education. Things started well at his new club, as they won their first four matches of the new Premier League season, with Darren Bent (who had joined up with Ambrose once again after moving from Ipswich in the summer) in particularly good form. Ambrose scored his first goal for his new club on 22 October 2005, against Portsmouth at Fratton Park, in a 2–1 victory for his side. However, Charlton's form dropped dramatically as the season progressed and despite the player scoring three more goals against Manchester United (a brilliant 25-yard effort in November that levelled the scores at 1–1), Blackburn (in the 4th round of the League Cup) and Sunderland at The Valley respectively, the team eventually slumped to an 11th place finish in the table, despite Bent's 22 goal haul and Ambrose's impressive form in midfield. Things got worse for Ambrose as Curbishley left the club after 15 years of service.
Iain Dowie was named as Curbishley's successor, joining from London rivals Crystal Palace (a future club of Ambrose), after much controversy surrounding his departure. The 2006–07 season got off to a dismal start, with only two league wins by November. On 13 November 2006, the Charlton hierarchy had decided enough was enough, and relieved Dowie of his post. After youth team coach Les Reed had a short stint in charge, Alan Pardew was unveiled as Charlton's third manager of the season and fourth of the year, on Christmas Eve 2006. The club's results miraculously improved under the stewardship of the former West Ham manager and Ambrose began to regain the promising form he had shown in glimpses at Newcastle and during his first season with Athletic. Ambrose grabbed his first goal of the season against Fulham at The Valley on 27 December 2006, though the team were held to a 2–2 draw after a last minute Cottagers equaliser. Ambrose also found the net in a 4–0 defeat of Pardew's former club, West Ham at The Valley, on 24 February, rounding off the scoring after the team had led 3–0 at half-time. Ambrose scored a crucial goal in the very next match, a 2–2 draw with fellow struglers Watford at Vicarage Road, pulling a goal back for his team after the Hornets raced into an early 2–0 lead. Despite further improving results, the early season poor form of the team ultimately proved to much to gain points back on and after a 2–0 home defeat to high-flying Tottenham on 7 May, the team were relegated to English football's second tier for the first time since 2000.
There was much speculation regarding a transfer exodus during the summer transfer window, with Ambrose's name mentioned as one of those players in the exodus. However, Pardew and Ambrose stayed loyal to the club and despite the inevitable sale of Darren Bent, who moved to Spurs for a fee in excess of £16.5 million, many of Charlton's key player's remained with the Addicks. At the beginning of the 2007–08 season, Charlton were widely tipped to bounce straight back up the top flight, however, just as in the previous season, the team made a less than impressive start, with mixed early results piling pressure on Pardew and his job. Despite Ambrose's team boasting among one of the best squads in the division, and results against the bigger teams in the division proving this fact, inconsistency proved the teams biggest downfall, and they despite Ambrose hitting nine goals in 42 appearances, he could not prevent the club from finishing in a disappointing 11th place.
After failing to gain promotion back to the Premier League in 2007–08, Ambrose was sent to former club Ipswich Town on loan in the first half of the 2008–09 season due to financial reasons, (ironically under similar circumstances to that of when Ambrose first moved from Ipswich in 2003) with rumours that Ipswich were reportedly interested in making the deal permanent in January 2009 for an estimated fee of £250,000, although no deal eventually materialised. He made nine appearances with no goals for the club, making his debut against Doncaster Rovers on 15 November 2008 and playing his last match on Boxing Day in a 1–0 defeat to Birmingham at Portman Road. On 2 January 2009, Ambrose returned to Charlton, who by now were fighting relegation for the second time in three years. Pardew had left the club by mutual consent in October and former Colchester and Hull boss Phil Parkinson was now in charge of improving the Addicks fortunes. He scored the winner in a 1–0 FA Cup Third Round Replay win over Norwich City, and played in most of Athletic's remaining fixtures. He ended his four year stint with the club with a total of 17 goals from 127 appearances in all competitions.
With his contract at Charlton ending at the end of that season, Ambrose was free to leave the club, and decided to remain in South London, joining local rivals Crystal Palace. He set a career-best record of 12 goals in 20 games by November, a run that saw him named as the division's Player of the Month for the November. Ambrose ended the season with a goal against Sheffield Wednesday that saved the club from relegation and subsequently from extinction as well. He finished the season with 20 goals in all competitions. With Crystal Palace in administration, it was looking certain that Ambrose was going to leave at the end of the season, and was set to join Queens Park Rangers, but he signed a new three-year contract with Crystal Palace on 26 July 2010.
In the 2010-11 season, Ambrose did not play much due to injury. Although he still scored some important goals for the club to help them in the battle against relegation. Some of these goals were his trademark long-range goals. These include against Preston North End, Watford and a spectacular volley against Sheffield United.
In the 2011-12 season, Ambrose was again more of a squad player, featuring more from the bench than his first season at Palace. On 30 November 2011, in his 99th game in all competitions for Crystal Palace, Ambrose scored a 35 yard long range shot at Old Trafford and then got an assist for Glenn Murray's goal in the 2-1 win over Manchester United in the League Cup quarter final. United legend Gary Neville described the strike as the best goal scored by an away side ever at Old Trafford.
On 13 July 2012, Ambrose signed a two-year contract with Birmingham City for an undisclosed fee, reported by BBC Sport to be in the region of £250,000. He scored on his competitive debut on 14 August, in the 5–1 defeat of Barnet in the League Cup, and kept his place for the opening match of the 2012–13 Football League season, in a 1–1 draw at home to former club Charlton Athletic. He labelled his contribution to a poor team display in a 5–0 home defeat to Barnsley in September as "the worst performance of my career". Following that game, Ambrose picked up a knee injury which kept him out for most of the season, in which he made just six league appearances.
Ambrose is a former England U21 national after becoming a regular in England's youth teams, but has never played at senior international level. He is also eligible to play international football for the Republic of Ireland through a grandparent, although he is yet to receive a call-up.
- As of match played 17 September 2013
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Other||Total|
|Ipswich Town||2001–02||Premier League||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Ipswich Town total||30||8||2||1||2||1||4||1||38||11|
|Newcastle United||2002–03||Premier League||1||0||—||—||—||1||0|
|Newcastle United total||37||5||2||0||2||0||15||1||56||6|
|Charlton Athletic||2005–06||Premier League||28||3||3||0||2||1||—||33||4|
|Charlton Athletic total||112||13||8||2||8||2||—||128||17|
|Ipswich Town (loan)||2008–09||Championship||9||0||—||—||—||9||0|
|Crystal Palace total||110||29||5[b]||3||9||5||—||124||37|
|Birmingham City total||7||0||0||0||3||1||—||10||1|
- November 2009 Championship Player of the Month
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- "Games played by Darren Ambrose in 2008/2009". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
- "Games played by Darren Ambrose in 2009/2010". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
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- "Games played by Darren Ambrose in 2011/2012". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
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- "Profiles: Darren Ambrose". Crystal Palace F.C. Archived from the original on 23 May 2012.
- "Games played by Darren Ambrose in 2013/2014". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 28 August 2013.