TWO OF IRELAND’s Premier League football stars, Stephen Ireland and Leon Best, have this morning apologised for their behaviour last weekend.
The Newcastle United pair hit the Toon with former Salthill Devon man Stephen Folan – a reserve at St James’ Park – last Friday night. Pictures like this one appeared online and in tabloid newspapers in Britain.
Manager Alan Pardew expressed his dissatisfaction immediately after the four-goal rout at Stoke on Saturday, when he was made aware of the photos. They were taken in the city’s Tup Tup Palace nightclub and later posted on the venue’s Facebook page.
The club’s official website quotes them both as saying: “Although we had been ruled out of the game at Stoke, and didn’t travel with the team, we realise that going out to a bar was inappropriate ahead of Saturday’s game and we fully regret doing so.
“We were asked to have our photograph taken and we removed our shirts as a tongue-in-cheek joke between friends, but of course the resulting coverage in the press suggests a far different night out.
“Whilst our actions were wrong, neither of us had consumed alcohol and we were out for only a very short period of time. However, with the team having an important game at Stoke the following day, we should never have put ourselves or the club in that position,” the duo add.
It remains to be seen if Pardew will accept the explaniation from the Irish player. He said on Saturday: “This is a situation I will have to look at. Certainly, it is not ideal on on the eve of a match, even if you are not playing.”