Leon Best and Stephen Ireland await Newcastle fate after nighclub visit

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The Independent Online

Newcastle striker Leon Best will have to wait to explain his appearance in a city nightclub the night before a game to manager Alan Pardew.

Best, along with Stephen Ireland, last night issued a joint apology after a photograph of the pair and reserve team player Stephen Folan was published on the Tup Tup Palace club's website following a visit on Friday, the night before the club's Barclays Premier League trip to Stoke.

The pair, who were not due to travel to the Britannia Stadium, were nevertheless in breach of a club rule, although it is understood they have yet to meet Pardew over the misdemeanour.

Best, who missed the Stoke game with an ankle injury, joined up with the Republic of Ireland squad in Dublin last night ahead of their Euro 2012 qualifier against Macedonia and the friendly clash with Uruguay.

However, while the three men are likely to be reprimanded, the matter is being dealt with as a relatively minor issue.

Best and Ireland were quick to apologise for any embarrassment caused.

Their statement read: "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 we 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 of time.

"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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