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What Would Ireland’s Italia ’90 Stars Be Worth Now?

It’s hard to believe it’s 25 years since Jackie’s Army embarked on Ireland’s first ever World Cup adventure at Italia ’90.

Ireland surprised the football world by reaching the quarter-finals in their maiden tournament, but looking back at a squad brimming with talent, their final placing was probably justified.

The panel comprised of players who had played at Britain’s top clubs at the time; a far cry from the pool currently available to Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane.

So, what would the likes of Paul McGrath, Ray Houghton and John Aldridge be worth these days? We try and figure it the value of the starting XI against England, 25 years ago yesterday.

Packie Bonner

bonner

The Celtic keeper was only 30 at Italia ’90 and went on to play for a further eight years at the top level.

With the likes of 33-year-old Petr Cech currently valued at over £10 million and Shay Given costing Manchester City £6 million at the same age, it’s fair to say Bonner would be worth something in between.
Estimated Value – £8 million

Chris Morris

Soccer - World Cup Italia 90 - Group F - Egypt v Ireland - Stadio Della Favorita

Morris was Celtic’s regular right-back for five years and was 26 going into the World Cup.

Celtic swapped Morris with Middlesborough’s Andy Payton in 1992, who’d cost Boro £750,000 a year earlier. This was at a time when Gazza went to Lazio for £5.5 million, which is probably what Morris would be worth in today’s money.
Estimated Value – £5.5 million

Steve Staunton

Soccer - World Cup Italia 90 - Group F - Ireland v Egypt

“Stan” has been much derided for his tenure as Ireland manager, but he was a fine player and servant for his country.

He was only 21 at Italia ’90 and moved to Aston Villa a year later for £1.1 million with his best days ahead of him. His dead ball prowess and cultured left foot were Leighton Baines-like and a 21-year-old Staunton would be a valuable addition to many modern day Premier League clubs.
Estimated Value – £15 million

Mick McCarthy

mccarthy

By the time Italia ’90 rolled around, Mick McCarthy was a 31-year-old Millwall veteran, having just signed for the Lions for £200,000.

His age, and the fact he’d only last another two years due to injuries, limit his potential value.
Estimated Value – £1.5 million

Kevin Moran

Soccer - World Cup Italia 90 - Group F - Ireland v Egypt

A Euro ’88 Moran would be worth considerably more than the 34-year-old that excelled in Italy.

He joined Blackburn Rovers after the tournament from Sporting Gijon, where he roomed with a bloke called Luis Enrique.

He spent four years at Ewood Park, leading Blackburn from the second tier to Premier League runners-up.
Estimated Value – £2 million

Paul McGrath

Soccer - World Cup Italia 90 - Group F - Egypt v Ireland - Stadio Della Favorita

He had his well-documented troubles off the pitch, but on it McGrath was almost peerless.

He still had eight years of football in him after the 1990 World Cup, and was courted by the likes of Napoli during his six-year spell at Aston Villa.

He won the PFA Player of the Year at the age of 33 and, despite his injuries, would prove a worthy addition to many contemporary sides. In a world where a similarly aged Thomas Vermaelen costs £15 million, the “Black Pearl” would surely be worth at least a similar amount.
Estimated Value – £15 million

Ray Houghton

Soccer - World Cup Italia 90 - Group F - Ireland v Egypt

The diminutive midfielder was a pivotal figure in Liverpool’s all-conquering side of the late 1980s and early 1990s, enjoying a career the likes of Raheem Sterling could only dream of.

He joined McGrath at Aston Villa in 1992 and would go on to have another eight years in the game. His goals from midfield would be a welcome addition to many top half Premier League sides and with the likes of Charlie Adam costing Stoke City £4 million at the same age, Houghton would have to be worth at least double that.
Estimated Value – £8 million

Andy Townsend

Soccer - World Cup Italia 90 - Group F - Ireland v Egypt

He may have been given a Bosman by ITV Sport, but a 26-year-old Townsend was a key player in Jack Charlton’s sides.

He cost Chelsea £1.2 million after the tournament and went to Villa for almost double that three years later. Yet another member of the squad who could contribute goals from midfield, a 26-year-old Townsend would undoubtedly command a seven-figure transfer fee in a market where a 23-year-old James McCarthy is worth £13 million.
Estimated Value – £10 million

John Aldridge

aldo

A 31-year-old Aldo was plying his trade for Real Sociedad at the time, having won the league and FA Cup at Liverpool.

He cost the Basque side £1 million in 1989, which was half the domestic English transfer record at the time. However, he returned to Merseyside with Tranmere Rovers a year after Italia 90 for just £250,000.
Estimated Value – £3.5 million

Tony Cascarino

Soccer - World Cup Italia 90 - Group F - Egypt v Ireland - Stadio Della Favorita

Cascarino was already 27 by the time he got his first taste of World Cup football but had a number of big moves ahead of him.

He’d just become Villa’s record signing at £1.1 million and moved to Celtic a year later for a similar amount. After a disappointing spell in Scotland, he joined Chelsea before enjoying the most successful period of his career in France.

When the likes of Brown Ideye and Ross McCormack cost £10 million plus, it’s not a stretch to suggest clubs might have to shell out a similar amount for a Cascarino of the same age.
Estimated Value – £10 million

Kevin Sheedy

Soccer - World Cup Italia 90 - Group F - Ireland v Egypt

Sheedy scored Ireland’s first-ever World Cup goal, against England, having already won two league titles with Everton.

However, 30 at the time, his best days were behind him and he joined Newcastle United on a free transfer two years later.
Estimated Value – £5 million




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