Former Aston Villa midfielder slams ‘ridiculous’ £50,000 Newcastle United transfer agreement

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The former Manchester City and Aston Villa midfielder cost Newcastle United £50,000-a-game.

Former Premier League midfielder Stephen Ireland has opened up on his “ridiculous” loan spell at Newcastle United. The Irishman joined from Aston Villa on the final day of the 2011 January transfer window but made just two appearances

The Magpies signed Ireland despite recovering from a knee injury. He didn’t make his debut until April and by that point had already angered manager Alan Pardew when he and injured teammate Leon Best were spotted in Tup Palace nightclub the night before United were due to face Stoke City.

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Ireland eventually made his first appearance as a substitute in a 0-0 draw against Manchester United at St James’ Park before his outing at Blackpool four days later was his last in black and white after he picked up an ankle injury.

Former Newcastle United loanee Stephen Ireland. (PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)Former Newcastle United loanee Stephen Ireland. (PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Former Newcastle United loanee Stephen Ireland. (PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

But had the former Republic of Ireland international been available, it’s likely he would have been overlooked anyway. According to Ireland, Pardew was restricted to playing him four times because it was costing Newcastle £50,000-a-game.

“Alan explained he was going to have to be smart with how he used me because he was limited to just four appearances,” Ireland told Ladbrokes Fanzone. “It was honestly just ridiculous. I was just like, ‘What am I doing here?’ It was the most ridiculous deal I’d ever heard in my life.

“They brought me on for my debut at home, against Manchester United, with about 20 minutes to go. We drew the game 0-0. I should have scored to win it for us. Don’t get me wrong, the experience was incredible, the fans were amazing, but all I was thinking was, ‘That’s £50,000 there and I’ve got three appearances left.’

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“I played in the next game, away at Blackpool, and I came on again for something like 20 minutes. That was two appearances, about 40 minutes, costing Newcastle £100,000. What was happening? How is that right?”

Ireland was back at St James’ Park last month after playing a part in Cathal Heffernan’s move to the under-21s set up from AC Milan.

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