So Stephen Ireland drops his shorts. A few weeks after informing the FAI his grandmother had passed away, when in fact she hadn’t, we shouldn’t be too surprised by this development. But why would Ireland do such a thing? Surely, after recent shenanigans, he should be keeping his head down, not his shorts?
The chances are the shorts-dropping caper was a bet. A bet from the dressing room, daring the impressionable Irishman. A bet he wanted to win to curry favour with his team-mates. To feel one of the lads. An act to get easy laughs. To feel wanted. Either that or Ireland wanted to get the lads on his side. Get their approval. Show them how far he could go. Gain their respect.
After a traumatic few weeks, Stephen Ireland needed to feel normal again. It’s not a good precedent. But it’s also a sign of a player who needs warmth, care and settlement. His colleagues in the dressing room should now be going out of their way, to ensure Ireland gets his emotional needs met. He shouldn’t have to drop his shorts to feel part of the family.