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Interviews

ACADEMY TRIO ON PLAY-OFF GLORY IN 2000

27 May 2020

What it was like being a youngster at Town when Blues made it to the big time

The Club website and Town’s social media channels are turning the clock back this week to the year 2000 and Play-Off glory when Blues beat Barnsley 4-2 at Wembley.

Videos from former players have been published on the Club's social media channels, while Matt Holland and Richard Naylor's memories have also featured on the website.

Now it's the turn of three youngsters who were at the Club's Academy when Blues secured Premiership status - Darren Ambrose, Darren Bent and Dean Bowditch.

Darren Ambrose:

"I was 16 and in the Academy but to be honest I don't remember too much. What I do know is that being around the place and involved in the Football Club at that time was great. It was one of the best times I've had in my career - being a young lad and seeing the team achieve what they set out to do and get promoted. I made my debut in the Premiership, thanks to the guys in 2000. I remember the players at the time and I was lucky enough to train with and play with most, if not all of them. George Burley gave me my chance as well and that's something I'll always be grateful for. What a fantastic group of players they were, with fantastic ability. They had unbelievable team spirit, and considering the bond they had, they deserved everything they got. It really was a brilliant achievement for the Football Club."

 

Darren Bent:

"What an occasion it was. I remember a few of us from the youth team were sat watching it, and obviously hoping that the team would get promoted because everyone wants to play in what was the Premiership (now Premier League) back then. I always fancied Town as the better team but Barnsley worked so hard and stayed in the game. The big moment though, for me personally as well, was when Martijn Reuser got played through right at the very end. I was sat there thinking 'please score, please score, just put the game out of reach' and it was a great finish. You still hear the fans sing his name nowadays because of how iconic that goal was. It really was a great experience for me personally just being at the Club and around that squad, hoping to progress and be a part of it and George Burley said to me 'if you keep progressing and working hard you'll get your shot in the first-team'. It was just a fantastic time for Ipswich Town Football Club."

 

Dean Bowditch:

"It was one hell of a day. I was with my dad sitting in the crowd, just 13 years old and part of the Academy and all I could think was 'wow - I want to be a part of something like this when I'm a bit older'. Who'd have thought three years later I'd have made my debut for the Club. That was the moment, though, where I really knew I wanted to become a professional footballer. It's an incredible moment in the Club's history and one that will no doubt live long in the memory. I still love the Football Club and everyone there that I keep in touch with - stay safe everyone and take care."


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