Exclusive: Charlton new boy Aiden McGeady speaks for first time on Sunderland exit

BY RICHARD CAWLEY
richard@slpmedia.co.uk

Aiden McGeady has broken his silence over his fall from grace at Sunderland – and spelled out it was nothing more than a disagreement with manager Phil Parkinson.

The 33-year-old signed on loan for Charlton at the end of the January transfer window after being frozen out of the first-team picture at the Stadium of Light.

McGeady won Sunderland AFC Supporters’ Association’s Player of the Year award in April and three months later he had penned a contract extension until 2021.

But McGeady, capped 92 times by the Republic of Ireland, fell out of favour under former Addicks boss Parkinson – not playing again after scoring in a 2-1 home loss to Burton in late November.

“There was nothing more or nothing less than me and the manager not seeing eye to eye,” McGeady exclusively told the South London Press.

“He felt it better that I train away from the group, for whatever reason.

“I didn’t do anything which saw me be fined, disciplined, sacked or banned from the training ground – just me and the manager had a disagreement. I was told to follow the schedule of the U23s from that point on.

“These things happen in football and you have to get on with it. It wasn’t anything personal or a fallout between myself and him.

“It’s nothing more than the manager felt he was better without me and that he didn’t need me. We didn’t see eye to eye.”

McGeady turns 34 on April 4 but insists he still has plenty of hunger to achieve more in a decorated career which saw him win four SPL titles with Celtic – along with a load of individual awards.

He was also a runner-up with Spartak Moscow in the Russian Premier League.

“If I didn’t have any hunger and didn’t want to play football then I’d still be sitting at Sunderland because I have a year and a half left on my contract,” said McGeady. “I’d be training there and just getting on with my life.

“But I want to play football as long as I can. It is a short career and you’re a long time retired. I still feel I can effect games and have got enough about me.

“It’s not like I’m 43 – I’m 33. I’ll be 34 soon but I’ve got that hunger to play and win matches.”

The next 13 matches will give a clearer picture of what comes next for McGeady.

He made his debut as a 59th-minute sub in the 1-0 win at Nottingham Forest last week and followed up with a first start in the 2-0 loss to Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.

The way McGeady’s stock has fallen at Sunderland means the former Everton wideman doesn’t plan too far ahead.

“I haven’t thought too much about the future,” he said. “I want to take it month by month and see how I do at Charlton, try to help the team progress up the league.

“As far as staying beyond that, I’ve not really thought about it. Who knows what will happen in football? It’s only two or three months ago I was playing at Sunderland, something changes and you’re at a different team.

“Football changes very quickly.

“If that was a possibility – staying beyond the end of the season – then of course it’s something I’d be looking at. I’m hoping that can maybe happen but it is down to me to start playing games and getting a run in the side.

“I’m gradually getting back to full sharpness. It will take a little time to get to 100 per cent. It’s about getting that match feel back. Game by game I’m gradually working to improve that.”

McGeady scored 11 goals in 34 games for Sunderland last season – but he was not fully fit by the time they faced Charlton at Wembley in the League One play-off final.

“I broke a bone in my foot about six weeks before the end of the season,” he said. “I wanted to try and carry on playing because otherwise it was my season up. I wanted to try and play, to help the team if I could.

“I wouldn’t train through the week and on the day of the game I’d have one, two or three injections in the foot to try and numb it so that I could play.

“We did the same in the final but I wasn’t fit enough to start. They wanted to have me on the bench.

“I came on but wasn’t fit.

“It was a tough day. No-one wants to lose a game in the last minute but also Charlton played better on the day and deserved it.

“The most frustrating thing came in the run-in to the season, where we had it in our own hands and let it slip away. We were second with two games in hand and six to seven matches to go. The fact we won one of the last six and finished fifth tells its own story.”

CHARLTON PICTURES BY PAUL EDWARDS

 


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