Stephen Ireland has finally left Manchester City, the Club that nurtured him through his formative years to help generate a talented professional footballer, stood shoulder to shoulder with him through his personal traumas and delivered him on to the stage which has presented him with a lifestyle like no other.
When most players revealed at a new signing press conference extol the positive virtues as to why they signed for the Club, Stephen rather disappointingly saw this a the forum to vent his anger at his treatment at Manchester City and publicly air some personal views on his perception of what he considers the management at his former Club is seeking to achieve.
In today’s papers he passes a number of comments mainly based around why he felt unloved at City and that he considers himself at least as good as the players that Mancini is bringing into the Club.
That may well be his view but the reality is that he has not played in a team that has won anything, he has not played in the Champions League, he no longer plays International Football. That to me looks like a list of underachievement from a player who if he is as good as he believes should have been taking matches by the scruff of the neck when asked last season and ensuring that mediocre 1-1 draws ended at least in 2-1 victories. Instead he squandered all of those chances and faded into the distance to the extent that he became a makeweight in a protracted transfer deal.
Some of the City faithful genuinely think Aston Villa got the better of that deal and we may yet see Ireland move from strength to strength as he gets a game every week, rebuilds his confidence and maybe kicks on to the next level. It is however unlikely that he will see Champions League football at Villa Park and therefore will never really know if he would be good enough in that arena.
Stephen, you did well for City for one season and had the chance to do more for longer. You did not do that. You did not kick on. You were replaced. You have gone.
Manchester City fans love their home-developed players and have done throughout the years. And they have loved you. Does the banner not say ‘Ireland is Superman’?
I think they meant it.
Take a leaf out of Bellamy’s book. See how he moved away with some dignity and please do the same.