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Ex-Man City midfielder lifts lid on Aston Villa fate

It’s fair to say Stephen Ireland ‘didn’t want to be at Aston Villa at all’ after leaving Manchester City for Villa Park in 2010.

Those are the exact words of the former midfielder, who signed for Villa from City almost 12 years ago and looks back on his time under Gerard Houllier, Alex McLeish and Paul Lambert with regret after failing to make an impression in burgundy and blue. He left his boyhood club Manchester after Roberto Mancini expressed reservations about keeping Ireland in his Premier League title-chasing squad.

“I don’t wanna be here [at Aston Villa] at all,” Ireland said on the Kickback with Nedum podcast last year. “I felt expelled. I felt like I was really scammed. I felt the height of disrespect from Man City as they didn’t even say goodbye to me, or ‘thank you for everything and good luck’ – I was heartbroken.

“I didn’t want to be at Villa, and I was really nervous about going to Villa because I felt like it wasn’t for me, that ‘I’m not cut out for this. club”. I had no legs to lean on, they were working on a deal to bring in James Milner.

“I remember sitting with my accountant in the office, and I had to go sign the paperwork. We went up to reception, and Richard Dunne was there to greet me, and I thought, ‘Oh no, I don’t want to see his face, here, now” because I was about to end the case.

“I said to my accountant, ‘I don’t feel good about this deal, I’m not sure I should go through with it.’ Because Dunny was there and the pressure from everyone, I just did it. I just knew it wasn’t good for me.”


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