Poor Stephen Ireland. Couldn’t get a game at Aston Villa and having moved to Newcastle he still hasn’t played. But, talking to So Foot magazine in France Ireland decided enough was enough and he ended up pretty much blabbing on about his whole life story. Frustration got the better of him I say, after spending the majority of his last few seasons on the bench. At On The Noggin HQ we’ve decided to let it slide just this once since we feel slightly sorry for the poor lad and his equally poor pimped out Land Rover.
On A Possible National Team Return:
“I won’t come back,” Ireland told So Foot magazine. “I feel nothing for the national team. I don’t feel at all guilty when they lose and when they win I never say ‘oh dear, I could have been there’.
“Even if Ireland had qualified for the World Cup I wouldn’t have gone. People are calling for me to return, but I only ever played five games guys!”
“International soccer doesn’t interest me,” he said. “Going away for three days to play in Andorra – I’ve got better things to do.
“Also, when you’re Irish you know you’ll never win the World Cup. Even when I played for the youth teams, I got fed up at having to go away. Everyone else was from Dublin and I came from Cork. I had to get the train on my own, pay for a taxi, there was no hotel, no food. The organisation was amateurish.”
On Giovanni Trappatoni:
“I’ve never seen anyone so arrogant,” Ireland scorned. “I met him once. He was taking calls every two minutes and made me hang around for 15 minutes in his office.
“In the end, he said, ‘if you want to play then come, if not, it’s no problem’. He did that mainly so the press would leave him in peace.
“Foreign coaches, they’re no good,” Ireland added.
On Roberto Mancini:
“Mancini never liked me. He’s doing everything wrong. He got rid of everyone at the club – even the cook left. The family club I spent nine years with exists no more. What happens when Mancini goes? He takes his 50 recruits with him. Also, since he’s been there City matches are incredibly dull.”
On life at Aston Villa and Birmingham as a city:
“After 15 matches on the bench Houllier told me to stay at home. I trained during the week and on Fridays he told me, ‘no point you coming, you are not in the team.
“Yet I was the best player in training. It was my team that won in every session. One of the few times he played me, we drew 0-0 at Chelsea and I ended up man of the match.
“Houllier asked me to come and live in Birmingham because it was taking me 75 minutes to come to training. But there were 15 players in the same position as me. Some came from London and took more than two hours, but he only asked me to move.
“For a start, Birmingham is a crap city and I wasn’t going to make the effort, especially as I wasn’t playing. Might as well be in Manchester if I had to stay home on match days.”