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Stephen Ireland Thinks His Team Of Friends Could Play In League One

Stephen Ireland Thinks His Team Of Friends Could Play In League One
By PJ Browne Updated
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Stephen Ireland believes a team of current and retired players that he has assembled would be able to compete in England's League One.

"I've managed to put together a great group of lads, and we all play together regularly now," Ireland exclusively told Ladbrokes Fanzone.

"The group chat is crazy, every day there's thousands of messages being posted in there. It's brilliant, everyone helps everyone."

The former Man City and Aston Villa midfielder's side regularly plays against semi-professional teams.

"Everyone looks out for each other in the group, it's great," said Ireland.

"We go for drinks, socials, games of paddle, runs, anything really. I organise so many games because I just want to get everyone together.

"It's generally 9v9s or 11v11s, sometimes we're playing two or three times a week. We just rent pitches and I'll bring along a semi-pro team, or whoever fancies a game. We make it really competitive, and put a lot on the line, because we all just want that fire in our bellies again.


7 October 2021; Republic of Ireland captain Cathal Heffernan with his agent Stephen Ireland and family members, his mother Marian Heffernan, Rob Heffernan and sister Megan Carr after the UEFA U17 Championship Qualifier match between Republic of Ireland and Andorra at Turner's Cross in Cork. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

"Our 11 is good enough to be playing in League One, I'm telling you. I'm the best, by a mile! I'm still a top dog, in that group, don't worry about that. I don't think I've lost in something like 48 games, but who's counting?


"The losing team has to pay for the pitch, some cost a few hundred quid, some cost £10 per man, it just depends where we're playing.


"There's forfeits, too. We'll vote for the worst player, and they'll have to wear an outfit chosen by the rest of us for a night out. There are shot forfeits when we get back to the bar, and we're constantly stitching each other up.

"It's great though because we'll all go for a beer afterwards, maybe grab a bite to eat, and make more plans to play again. Paddle's got massive recently, so all the lads are playing that.


"We're already planning our Christmas do, and the next step for me is to take this group chat on the road, I think. Maybe go to Ireland and play a team over there, maybe the same in the USA. I think there's something in it; a documentary or a TV show or something... that's my thinking behind it.

"Aside from everything else, the team is so good. Papiss Cisse and Oumar Niasse are up-front, you've got myself in midfield, Danny Drinkwater, Dale Stephens, Danny Simpson, Phil Bardsley, Joleon Lescott, Nedhum Onohua, Alex Bruce... Ravel Morrison is playing with us now, Bradley Dack was playing with us when he didn't have a club. I could go on and on, there are so many players, it's ridiculous.

5 August 2012; Joleon Lescott, Manchester City. Soccer Friendly, Limerick FC v Manchester City, Thomond Park, Limerick. Picture credit: Gareth Williams / SPORTSFILE

"Every game is carnage, because everyone is so competitive. It gets really bad; we've had to start paying for a proper referee and everything, because there always ends up being wars on the pitch. It's madness!

"People coming to watch, or teams that are on after us, must just be thinking that's not right at all, how rowdy it gets, it's insane.


"Idrissa Gueye and Amadou Onana came to watch us recently, because they're friends with Papiss and Oumar, and you can see them on the side filming some of the stuff because it's just ridiculous what goes on. The football really is top level, though.

"We've had players walk off; their heads have gone so they've jumped in their car and drove off halfway through the game. It's so funny; everyone looks forward to it.

"We've got proper kits and stuff, and I'll send the teams around at one o'clock on a Tuesday. It's really good fun. We're working on a name for it, because we've partnered up with a company called VYPR 5 who are quite big in the sock game - a few Premier League players wear their socks, so they're going to supply us with full kits now.


"I'd love to take it on the road a bit. The lads are opening up and talking to each other, too, if they're having a bad day. Everyone's helping everyone out; it's great. It's keeping us all fit. I love it."

See Also: Stephen Ireland Questions Why Irish Press Are ‘Always Gunning For Him

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