The title of this was going to be "And then there was none", but despite how I tried to massage the figures I couldn't quite get there.
What am I talking about?
That list are the only survivors from our Premier League days. Of that list only Matt Holland was signed for a fee and has played in the first team in the Premier League. There is also a question as whether any of them would be good enough for the Premier League, although I suspect that the first two on the list could end up there next season if they are available on a free transfer in June.
Thus the point of this is that with the sale of Darren Ambrose we now have just a 34 year old in our squad that we signed (for a fee) in the Premier League. This is probably not such a bad thing, I mean, after all, we are not in the Premier League, and don't expect to be there again anytime soon.
The wages that Darren Ambrose was earning are almost certainly too high for the division he is playing in, and in my view, he has found his level. I guess he, like the rest of us at the moment, has to accept that the plentiful days are gone. I could be wrong of course. Ipswich may see something in the next two months that will tempt them to offer him Premier League wages in our division, but I doubt it. I also have a few concerns that if the permanent deal is not already signed, and the loan is a technicality to enable him to move outside of the transfer window, he could be back in January. For this reason I am reluctant to be too critical of him.
Having said that.....
My personal view of Darren Ambrose is that he was expected to develop more than he did, both at Newcastle and with us. The return he gave is probably below what we have received from other players (pound for pound) but more than some. As New York Addick pointed out Francis Jeffers, Marcus Bent and Dennis Rommedhal all provided a lot less for a lot more money, and they also made it clear that they thought little of the club.
What Darren Ambrose thought of Charlton is unclear, but his PR has been good. One could argue that on relegation he was unlikely to secure a better financial package by leaving, and could have always intended to run his contract down and leave on a Bosman. However, he was the only (or one of a small few) player(s) that came out and committed himself to a season of trying to win promotion.
Overall I have a few disappointing memories of Darren Ambrose, but I also have a few great memories. I fear that it could be a few years before we sign another England U21 international, and we may well have a lack of the real class that he showed from time to time. It is, however, really sad that the best thing I can think he brought to Charlton was an association with another Darren who subsequently signed for us in the summer on 2005. I have no idea if Darren Bent's decision to join us was influenced by his long term friend, but I can't help thinking that if it was, the transfer fee we paid to Newcastle for Ambrose was well worth the money.
We now all wait with baited breath to see who the replacement will be. It could be argued that we are more in need of a regular goalscorer, than a lightweight utility player that seems to be a jack of all trades, and a master of none, across the midfield. Time will tell, but in the meantime I would like to wish Darren Ambrose all the best for the rest of his career. Despite what he did (or didn't) bring to our team I never felt that he gave less than his all. He was not a tackler and he was asked to play in various positions that were not his best, but I think he was a good professional. Even if he wasn't ultimately worth what he was costing us, he did, I believe, do his best.
Up the Addicks!