Magpies fail with Town bid
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
NEWCASTLE UNITED have failed with a bid for Ipswich duo Darren Ambrose and Darren Bent and Town manager Joe Royle has confirmed his intention to keep hold of the pair.
The Magpies have been following the Suffolk club closely in recent weeks and both Sir Bobby Robson and chairman Freddy Shepherd watched their game at Bradford City earlier this month.
The North East outfit have seen Town go into temporary administration over the last week and so Shepherd made an offer to the club's administrators Deloitte and Touche for the talented duo.
It is not known if Newcastle wanted the two players now or would have waited until the end of the current season. The Tynesiders are not allowed to sign any players at the moment - like all clubs in the top-flight, however Ipswich's current financial problems mean that they can get special dispensation to sell their players to a club in The Premiership during the closed period of the window.
However, the bid - believed to be around £2.5 million for the duo - was rejected as selling the club's players is not part of Town's plans.
"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 Administration)," said an annoyed Town chairman David 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.
"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."
Shepherd defended his own tactics, saying: "I made a bid to administrators, who thought we were being cheeky.
"Far from being cheeky, I would have thought that any interest for the sort of money we are talking about would be interesting to a club in Ipswich's position."
Newcastle are likely to keep monitoring Town and sources are suggesting they could come back in with renewed bid which could inculde another Town youngster in the shape of England youth international Matt Bloomfield.
However, Town boss Royle spoke to planetfootball.com about the bid and stressed that he wanted to keep Ambrose, Bent and Bloomfield.
"We did not look too keenly on the bid," he said.
"Our view was that it was derisory and opportunistic. We are not looking to sell.
"They are very talented players and we want them to stay.
"We want them to be playing in The Premiership with us next season."
Ipswich are currently just two points adrift of the play-offs and have improved dramatically since Royle took over from George Burley in October.
Hopes are now high at Portman Road that they can make an immediate return to the top-flight