'I wanted to go back to Ipswich' - Ambrose reflects on Newcastle move

Darren Ambrose says he didn't want to leave Ipswich Town for Newcastle back in 2003. 

Darren Ambrose says he didn't want to leave Ipswich Town for Newcastle back in 2003. - Credit: talkSPORT

Former Ipswich Town star Darren Ambrose has revealed he didn't want to sign for Newcastle back in 2003.

The Essex-born midfielder had burst onto the scene at Portman Road, scoring 11 goals during the Blues' first season back in the Championship after relegation, but soon had to be cashed in on after the club went into administration.

Reflecting on his £1m switch to St James' Park, Ambrose said on talkSPORT: “When I first signed for Newcastle, I wasn't going to.

“I was young, I kind of wanted to go back to Ipswich, so they said ‘go out, get some dinner, come back and we’ll discuss it again’.

“So I went to an Italian restaurant in Newcastle and Alan Shearer walks in with a few people. He comes up, introduces himself and I’m thinking ‘blimey – Alan Shearer knows who I am!’ 

Darren Ambrose

Darren Ambrose burst on the scene at Ipswich Town in 2002/03, scoring 11 goals for the recently relegated Blues. - Credit: Archant

“He says; ‘When are you signing? Are you going back to sign now?’ And nervously I said ‘yeah – I’m going back to sign now!’

“At the end of it, I asked for the bill and the waiter said 'Mr Shearer had sorted it out'. He was that powerful. 

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"He dealt with the bill, I went back and I said 'Alan Shearer has told me to sign, so yeah I'm going to sign'."

Ambrose added: “I was 12 when I watched Euro ‘96. Six years later, I’m walking into the dressing room and he’s there.

“I wish I wasn’t in awe of players like Shearer. I was too young to handle it mentally.”

After making 18 Premier League starts in two years for Newcastle, Ambrose went on to play for Charlton, Crystal Palace and Birmingham. Twice he returned to Ipswich - the first time a loan spell in 2008/09 and the second time a short-term contract during the 2014/15 campaign.

Newcastle's Darren Ambrose (centre) celebrates after scoring the equalizer in the 1-1 draw with Leic

Darren Ambrose (centre) celebrates scoring for Newcastle United - a club he was persuaded to sign for by star striker Alan Shearer (right) - Credit: PA