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Town reject 'derisory' bid for teen duo

PUBLISHED: 07:00 15 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:17 24 February 2010

IPSWICH Town have rejected what they regard as an "opportunistic and derisory" offer, reported to be £2.5 million, by Newcastle United to sign England Under-21 international teenagers Darren Ambrose and Darren Bent.

IPSWICH Town have rejected what they regard as an "opportunistic and derisory" offer, reported to be £2.5 million, by Newcastle United to sign England Under-21 international teenagers Darren Ambrose and Darren Bent, writes Tony Garnett.

Amazingly Newcastle made the bid (they claim it was higher) directly to Ipswich Town's administrators. Geordies' chairman Freddie Shepherd by-passed the common courtesy of dealing through either Town manager Joe Royle or chairman David Sheepshanks.

"The offer was rejected by the administrators, who are not looking for offers for our players. Their terms of reference are to achieve a CVA (Company Voluntary Adminstration)," said Sheepshanks.

"I am very disappointed that Newcastle United have found it appropriate to make an offer to the administrators with no contact either to me, Joe Royle, or anyone else at the club.

"It was an opportunistic and derisory move on their part. It was a pity they did not make a move in January when the transfer window was still open."

Sheepshanks was not prepared to enlarge on a report that Newcastle United also made contact with Ipswich Town's bankers.

"I want to make it clear that we are trying to achieve promotion through the play-offs. The last thing we want is to sell any players. Only an extremely tempting proposition can get us to do anything different.

"There is no question of any cut-price deals just because of our current financial plight," said Sheepshanks.

It seems extraordinary, even making allowances for the dog-eat-dog attitude prevalent in modern football, that Sir Bobby Robson should allow his club to behave like vultures against a club that he has always claimed to be dear to his heart.

Some may think it represents shrewd dealing but many will consider the approach to be both underhand and lacking in anything approaching decent manners.

Newcastle United yesterday claimed that they had not acted improperly and that there was no slight intended to the Ipswich Town Board by their decision to approach the administrators directly.

"A good relationship has always existed between Newcastle United and Ipswich Town, clearly demonstrated in the past through the transfer dealings between the two clubs," was the main message from an official club statement from St James's Park.

Then Newcastle United also tried to cloud the issue by saying they were "very disappointed that Ipswich had seen fit to divulge confidential information to the press."

Ipswich fans will judge for themselves on how to interpret the way Newcastle United tried to go about this business. It's all a question of standards.


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