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Darren Paul Ambrose (born 29 February 1984) is an English footballer who plays for Crystal Palace as a midfielder.

Club career

Ipswich Town

Born in Harlowmarker, Essex, Ambrose started his career at Ipswich Town and made his debut as an 18 year-old against Arsenal on 21st April 2002, replacing Martijn Reuser during a 2-0 defeat at Highburymarker. 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 a total of thirty-seven 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. Ambrose was reportedly upset to leave Ipswich.

Newcastle United

After returning from a short injury lay-off, Ambrose made his debut for the Magpies on 11th May 2003 against West Brom, the final day of the 2002-03 Premier League season, and became a success during his first full season with the toon, amassing three goals in 37 appearances, including one on his European debut, against NAC Breda in the Uefa Cup, and another during a thrilling 3-3 draw with Southampton F.C. at St. Mary's Stadium in May.Ambrose scored another three goals in 2004–05, scoring a notble long-range effort against Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium on Halloween, 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 24th April 2005. In a game that Newcastle eventually lost 2-1 thanks to Wayne Rooneys memorable strike, Ambrose was his teams outstanding performer and capped the performance with a fine solo goal. Many pudits 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 would eventually sign with 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.

Charlton Athletic

He joined Charlton Athletic on 8th 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 22nd Ocotber 2005, against Portsmouth at Fratton Park, in a 2-1 victory for his side. However, Charltons 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 succesor, joining from London rivals Crystal Palace (a future club of Ambrose's), after much controversy surrounding his departure. The 2006-07 season got off to a dismal start, with only two league wins by November. On 13th November 2006, the Charlton heirarchy 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 27th 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 24th 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 strugglers 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 7th May, the team were relegated to English football's second tier for the fisrst 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 sell of Drren 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 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, inconsistincy proved the teams biggest downfall, and they despite Ambrose hittimg 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 similiar circumstances to that of when Ambrose first moved from Ipswich in 2003) with rumors 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 15th 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. Unfortunately, Ambrose once again could not stop the club from suffering relegation, this time to the Coca-Cola Football League One. This was one relegation too many, and Ambrose began searching for a new club. He ended his four year stint with the club with a total of 17 goals from 127 appearances in all competitions.

Crystal Palace

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 had a fantastic start to life with Neil Warnock's club, setting a career-best record of 12 goals in 20 games by November. His first came in a League Cup First Round clash with Torquay United of the Coca-Cola League Two, opening the scoring after 65 minutes, before adding his second in the same game, from the penalty-spot, after United had forced an equaliser. His first two league goals came in the same match aswell, a brace against former club Ipswich Town at Portman Road, establishing a 2-0 lead for his current club. As of 1st December 2009, he has so far scored 57% of Crystal Palace's goals this season (12 out of 21 in all competitions) - 1/12/09. Ambrose also matched Palace's post war record of 6 games for consecutive scoring matches with his goal against Watford on 29/11/09, matching club legend Ian Wright's record, which he set in 1989.

Career statistics

As of 1 December 2009.
Club Season League Cup Europe Play-Offs Total
Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Assists Apps Goals Assists
Ipswich Town 2001–02 1 0 0 0 0 0 - - - - - - 1 0 0
Ipswich Town 2002–03 29 8 0 4 2 0 3 0 0 - - - 36 10 0
Total 2001-2003 30 8 0 4 2 0 3 0 0 - - - 37 10 0
Newcastle United 2002–03 1 0 0 0 0 0 - - - - - - 1 0 0
Newcastle United 2003–04 24 2 1 2 0 0 11 1 0 - - - 37 3 1
Newcastle United 2004–05 12 3 0 2 0 0 4 0 0 - - - 18 3 0
Total 1997-2002 37 5 1 4 0 0 15 1 0 - - - 56 6 1
Charlton Athletic 2005–06 28 3 2 5 1 0 - - - - - - 33 4 2
Charlton Athletic 2006–07 26 3 2 4 0 0 - - - - - - 30 3 2
Charlton Athletic 2007–08 37 7 5 2 1 0 - - - - - - 39 8 5
Charlton Athletic 2008–09 21 0 0 2 1 0 - - - - - - 23 1 0
Total 2005-2009 112 13 9 13 3 0 - - - - - - 125 16 9
Ipswich Town (loan) 2008–09 9 0 1 0 0 0 - - - - - - 9 0 1
Total 2009 9 0 1 0 0 0 - - - - - - 9 0 1
Crystal Palace 2009–10 18 10 1 2 2 0 - - - - - - 20 12 1
Total 2009-present 18 10 1 2 2 0 - - - - - - 20 12 1
Career totals 206 36 12 23 7 0 18 1 0 - - - 247 44 12

Personal life

Ambrose married his wife, Rachel, in a ceremony in Clearwatermarker, Floridamarker in May 2007. They have two daughters; the eldest is Jessica, who was born in September 2007, and the younger is Lily, who was born in January 2009.


  1. Sky Sports - "Ambrose wants to play" SkySports Joins Charlton
  2. Ambrose Back With Addicks
  3. Includes FA Cup, League Cup and FA Community Shield

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