Saturday 24 March 2018

€3,000-a-minute Ireland out for season

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Stephen Ireland is out for the rest of the season - but the misfit midfielder has still earned over €3,000 for every minute he has spent on the pitch.

The Irish exile is on loan at Newcastle from Aston Villa, with the Magpies confirming that he will miss the remainder of the campaign with an ankle problem.

He joined Newcastle in January on a pay-as-you-play deal, yet it's understood that parent club Villa were still paying him €17,000 a week as part of the arrangement. Ireland made just two substitute appearances in his time at Newcastle, and his future is now very much up in the air.

The 24-year-old joined Villa from Manchester City last August, and was awarded a princely €73,000-a-week contract.

However, he was involved in just 12 matches -- actively involved for 581 minutes -- before he was shown the door by Gerard Houllier in January, ending up on the winning side just twice, and that was with a cameo role in both encounters.

Alan Pardew had big plans for Ireland (pictured) when he took him north at the close of the transfer window, and recently revealed that he was costing the club nothing while he recuperated on the sidelines.

Initially, it was believed that Villa were demanding that prospective loan suitors stumped up €45,000 of his weekly wage.

It is unclear how much the playmaker earned for his 49 minutes of action for Newcastle but, even leaving that out of the equation, he will have coined in more than €2m from his struggling employers since last August.

For a player who has been involved in 630 minutes of football in that nine-month period, that breaks down to €3,000 every 60 seconds -- and that's before bonuses and signing on fees are even factored in. Just two years after his nomination for PFA Young Player of the Year, the Cobh native has developed into a spectacular waste of money.

Irish Independent

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