Ireland hits a new low

Corkman has shot himself in the foot with irrational rant

THAT's the end of that. Stephen Ireland put a bullet through his own football career with a mind-boggling and irrational rant against a range of targets stretching from Giovanni Trapattoni to Roberto Mancini.

Ireland also trained his gun on Ireland, Cork, Birmingham and Gerrard Houllier in an interview with French football magazine but he has done the greatest damage to himself.

Trapattoni is dismissed as arrogant: “I have never seen anyone so arrogant. I met him once, he was on the phone every two minutes and he left me hanging around in this office for a quarter of an hour.”

“In the end, he said, 'If you want to come and play, fine, if you don't, no problem'.

He did that in reality just so the media would leave him alone,” said Ireland before offering his remarkable take on the financial crisis.

“Ireland is only reaping what it has sown. They have put buildings up just for the sake of it and, in the end, no one lives inside them. That has cost a huge amount of money.

“But I don't give a damn for Ireland. Live in Cork? Rather shoot myself. I prefer Los Angeles.”

“Even at youth level, it p****d me off to go there,” he said. “Everyone came from Dublin. I was the only guy from Cork. I had to take the train on my own, pay for a taxi, there was no hotel, no grub. It was handled so amateurishly.

“National teams don't interest me. I have more to do than go off for three days to play Andorra. And when you are Irish, you are well aware you'll never win the World Cup.

“I feel nothing for the team. I absolutely don't feel guilty when they lose and, when they win, at no time do I think I could have been there.

“Even if Ireland had qualified for the World Cup, I wouldn't have gone. People call for my return, but I have only played five times for them. The national team and me are ancient history.”

Next for the chop was Houllier. “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 your coming, you are not in the team',” he said.

“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. Apparently that didn't matter to him. I was stuck with being paid for doing nothing at all. I was left to myself. I had to pay out of my own pocket for medical treatment. Can you believe that?”

Ireland claims he was the only player asked to move house from his Manchester mansion to somewhere closer to Birmingham.

“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,” Ireland said.


“For a start, Birmingham is a c**p 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. I don't bear Houllier any grudges, it wasn't him who chose me after all.”

He has a less benign view of Roberto Mancini: “Mancini never liked me, he wanted his own players, and that's fair enough. But he's gone too far, he's got rid of everyone, even the cook left. The family club I spent nine years with does not exist any more. What's going to happen when Mancini leaves? Will he take the 50 people he brought in with him? And ever since he's been there, City's matches have become as boring as hell. The club has lost its soul.”