Soon after he had signed for Aston Villa Stephen Ireland launched a barrage of abuse at Manchester City after one of the most acrimonious transfers of the summer involving James Milner. Ireland did not pull any punches and his assessment of his former club was scathing, The Guardian quotes the midfielder as stating,
“I don’t think loyalty is much in anyone’s mind at Manchester City. I felt like I would be next (to leave). A lot of players felt like that as well.”
His words are in stark contrast to those of Craig Bellamy, who perhaps surprisingly was respectful and did not have a bad word to say about Manchester City, it is true that he is still a City player of course but it would not have been a shock had Bellamy torn into those at Eastlands. More often than not the best way to respond to a perceived injustice is to do it on the pitch rather than sounding off about the situation in the media. Stephen Ireland obviously takes an alternate view however in his acerbic criticism of the club.
The Guardian also quotes Ireland as stating “I’ve really landed on my feet here (Villa). I think it’s a family club and one that will get the best out of me…Even the young lads are so polite. I’m actually quite shocked with that. At City they’re not like that. They’re coming in with £10,000 watches on their wrists and walking around as if they have played 200 Premier League games.”
This might be a valid critique, but coming from Stephen Ireland it reeks of hypocrisy. The Irishman is certainly no miser and ostentatious displays of his great wealth are not rare events, this is the man after all who said he wanted a shark tank installed under his kitchen. Ireland is one of the most ‘blinged’ up players in the Premiership so for him to moan about others doing the same is somewhat ridiculous.
Stephen Ireland has never had any problems with self-esteem, and in The Guardian he is quoted as saying “I can easily say I’ve got, if not more ability, as much ability as any player they have signed this year”.
Given the standard of players that City have signed this year, this is no mean feat but surely if he had such skills he would have been a regular last season. Ireland will point to the manager in this regard, whom he also slams for having no relationship with the players. As well as claiming Milner is in for an unpleasant shock when his Man City career gets underway, Stephen Ireland also publically stated that Shay Given should leave the club, on Tribal Football the Irishman is quoted,
“I would like to see Shay go. He needs to be playing every week.”
Stephen Ireland then, is definitely not short of a word or two on the subject of his former club. But whilst he claims he is delighted to be at Aston Villa, his words have a whiff of bitterness about them and one gets the impression that Ireland is very disappointed to have left Manchester City. Ireland has made these comments now, and they cannot be taken back, they may not have been totally advisable but he is an outspoken character. In the future though, perhaps he should be a little more reticent on the subject, and let his football do the talking. This by far the best way to show Manchester City what they are missing this season.