Stephen Ireland apologises for club photos

LEON Best and Stephen Ireland have apologised for going to a nightclub on the night before Newcastle United’s heavy defeat at Stoke City last weekend.

Stephen Ireland

LEON Best and Stephen Ireland have apologised for going to a nightclub on the night before Newcastle United’s heavy defeat at Stoke City last weekend.

Both players were left out of the squad which made the journey south as they are injured, but their late-night antics were still in technical breach of a club curfew as injured players are told not to go out the night before a matchday.

The players were caught when pictures of them with their tops off were posted on the website of the Tup Tup Palace nightclub, just off Newcastle’s trendy Diamond strip in the centre of the city on Saturday morning.

It is another blow for Ireland in his bid to earn a permanent move to the club. The 25-year-old, who is on loan from Aston Villa until the end of the season, has not played a game since signing on transfer deadline day in January.

Although manager Alan Pardew has spoken to the pair about their behaviour he does not want to dwell on the incident, which is not a serious breach of club rules given they were not even attending the game at the Britannia Stadium the following day.

A joint statement released last night said: “Although we had both 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 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.

“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.”

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