Former Newcastle United ace Darren Ambrose reveals ex-Chelsea man ‘broke’ his heart with European masterclass against the Magpies

Former Newcastle United midfielder Darren Ambrose has revealed that the 2004 UEFA Cup semi-final defeat to Marseille was the defeat that ‘hurt’ him the most.

By Joe Buck
Wednesday, 23rd February 2022, 6:00 am

Ambrose had a 15-year playing career that started with Ipswich Town in 2001, before he made a £1.5million move to Newcastle United in May 2003.

And it was on Tyneside that Ambrose enjoyed the most successful time of his career, as the Magpies reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup during that period.

Newcastle would taste defeat in both games, however, it is the loss to a Didier Drogba-inspired Marseille in the UEFA Cup, a tournament that the 37-year-old believes the Magpies ‘should have won’, which still haunts Ambrose:

MARSEILLE, FRANCE - MAY 6: Shay Given of Newcastle United tries to stop the melee as Marseille players argue with Lee Bowyer after his tackle during the UEFA Cup Semi-Final, Second Leg match between Olympique De Marseille and Newcastle United at the Stade Velodrome on May 6, 2004 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

“I don’t want to talk about Marseille, no, it does [still hurt],” Ambrose told TalkSport.

“You know what, I got to three semi-finals in my career, four actually, counting the Under-20 tournament for England, and lost them all, but that one hurts the most.

“Newcastle supporters will tell you, the squad we had then we should have won that tournament, and Didier Drogba broke our hearts, I’m telling you.

“I was third penalty taker or fourth penalty taker so I was a bit nervous then and he came on and scored so potentially did me a favour!”

Marseille would become losing finalists in 2004 after being defeated 2-0 by Valencia, inspired by future Magpies manager Rafa Benitez.

Newcastle’s last appearance in European competition came almost a decade ago in 2013 when their Europa League run was ended by Benfica in the quarter-finals.

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