Stephen Ireland is group admin as unemployed Prem stars plan secret kickabouts

Former Manchester City ace Stephen Ireland is reportedly the group admin of a bunch of ex-Premier League stars who have secret kickabouts to keep fit.

Ireland, now 36, had stints in the Prem with City and Aston Villa during his career before hanging up his boots in 2018 after a dismal spell with Bolton Wanderers. But his love for the game hasn't waned and he now spends his time organising secret matches with fellow former Prem counterparts who feel the same, The Telegraph report.

However, Ireland's no pushover and the ex-midfielder has no qualms about kicking a player out of the group, which is believed to include former internationals, Prem title winners, and a European Cup winner, if they fail to pay their loser's fee. Alongside Ireland, Prem legends Danny Simpson, Danny Drinkwater, Joleon Lescott, Nedum Onuoha, John O’Shea and Ravel Morrison have all played in the hushed matches held in somewhere in Chesire, it was added.

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And the workings of the group were revealed by ex-Leicester City ace Simpson, who has been a free agent since leaving Bristol City by mutual consent last season.

He explained to the Telegraph how he ended up in the group: "People realised I wasn’t playing, and I think if you’re out of contract, someone will end up trying to recruit you. You get kicked out if you haven’t paid your loser’s fee, though!”

Which ex-Premier League players do you think take part in the secret kickabouts? Let us know in the comments section below

“I miss being around the lads every day. I’ve not been quiet about that. I do miss walking out on a Saturday but mainly… well, if you’re around 20 lads every day for 20 years, that’s hard to replace. It’s one thing being fit in terms of treadmill runs, box-to-box-sprints, but then there’s being football fit.

"This is somewhere where everyone can be together in the same boat, where lads have a similar footballing morning to when contracted. Then when they’re ready to get into a club, there would be data to show the fitness coach."

But along with keeping fit, Simpson, who sometimes trains with the Foxes U23 team, is hoping to bag one final contract before hanging up his boots. He added: "I’m not retired. If someone needs a right-back, I have to be ready. Maybe that is my last hurrah."

Simspon previously landed himself in hot water when he was convicted of assaulting then partner and mother of his child Stephanie Ward back in 2015.

And group admin Ireland is no stranger to trouble himself as he was found out for lying about the deaths of three of his grandmothers to escape international duty in 2007, leading to his expulsion from Ireland's squad.


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