Stephen Ireland was once touted as a promising talent. He also had immense potential to be one of the Republic of Ireland’s greatest players. The midfielder played for some top sides in the Premier League and had a style of play, not many from the country have replicated before or after him.
The 37-year-old had stints at Manchester City, Newcastle United, Aston Villa and Stoke City during his 246-appearance career, and was funnily enough, the player Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes used to have posters on his wall when he was younger.
The Cork-born lad had all the ability to be a key figure at international level for several years, but did one lie about his Granny ruin whatever chance he had of becoming the next great hope for the Green Isle?
Stephen Ireland: A Tale Of Lies
It all kicked off in 2007 when Ireland was called up to represent his home country in a Euro 2008 qualifier away to Czech Republic. Irish manager at the time Steve Staunton was heavily relying on his star midfielder to help his country grab a much-needed win and boost their chances of qualification.
All seemed normal until Stephen received a call from his girlfriend an hour before the game longing for him to come home. So, what did the player do? Stay and represent his country and try to lead them to qualification and then catch the first plane back to Cork to aid his needy girlfriend? No. Ireland decided the best way for him to get out of playing the game was to throw his poor Granny under the bus.
Stephen Ireland pulled Staunton aside and explained that he had just received a phone call from his girlfriend saying that his grandmother had unfortunately passed. Staunton had no issues with letting his star leave and even organized a private jet to get him home swiftly, as Stephen Ireland recalls, “The manager went back to get my phone and I immediately called my girlfriend. She was distraught and told me that she had had a miscarriage but thought that they would let me home quicker if they thought my grandmother had died.”
Ireland’s lies began to unravel when his maternal grandmother, Patricia Tallon, saw her ‘death notice’ in the newspapers and made it clear that she was very much still alive and kicking.
So, what did Ireland do then? Yes, he decided to try and write off two more of his grandparents.
Stephen decided to say that it was his father’s mother that had unfortunately passed. Brenda Kitchener also learned about her passing in the papers and threatened to sue the publication for the story. Ireland with his back against the wall decided to pull out the wildcard he had been holding on to.
He insisted that he was indeed telling the truth but this time he claimed his grandfather’s divorced partner was the one who was passing away. What happened next? Ireland was exposed for the third time.
At this stage, Ireland had nobody else he could ‘kill off’ and decided the best course from here was the truth and an apology. “I decided at that stage that I must tell the truth and admit I had told lies. I realise now it was a massive mistake to say my grandmothers had died.“
Unfortunately, it was all too late for Ireland. He was never again selected for the Irish squad and felt his club career suffer after his manager at Manchester City publicly criticised him for his nonsense lies.
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