The ‘ridiculous’ Aston Villa transfer that cost Newcastle United £100,000 after Man Utd decision

One of Newcastle United’s most bizarre Premier League signings saw Stephen Ireland join the club on loan from Aston Villa in January 2011.
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Ireland was recovering from a knee injury when he signed for Newcastle in a loan deal that would cost the club £50,000-a-game. A transfer the player himself deemed as ‘ridiculous’.

The former Manchester City man didn’t start a single game for The Magpies and was limited to just two substitute appearances for the club. The midfielder’s loan spell was perhaps best summarised by a visit to the Tup Tup Palace nightclub in the city with team-mate Leon Best the night before Newcastle were beaten 4-0 at Stoke City.

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Ireland had to wait until April to make his debut in a 0-0 draw against Manchester United as then manager Alan Pardew decided to bring him on as a substitute before doing the same at Blackpool the following match. But that would prove to be the extent of his contributions at Newcastle as his season was brought to a premature end by an ankle injury.

But according to the player, he didn’t have much of a chance to make an impact at Newcastle due to the terms of his loan deal from Aston Villa. With Ireland costing The Magpies £50,000-a-game, then manager Alan Pardew was limited to playing him only four times.

“Alan explained he was going to have to be smart with how he used me because he was limited to just four appearances,” Ireland said via 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.

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“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.’

“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?”