Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy has welcomed the arrival of Noel Hunt on loan from Leeds United – and then accused Leeds owner Massimo Cellino of damaging Hunt’s career with false claims about the striker’s wages.
Hunt joined Ipswich on an emergency loan yesterday, securing a move to a side that is fourth in the Championship despite making only two appearances this season and failing to score a first-team goal in 18 months at Leeds.
McCarthy said he had signed a “very good Championship player” and suggested Hunt’s prospects at Elland Road had been ruined by Cellino’s claim that the 31-year-old was earning £25,000 a week. The allegation was made in a telephone conversation held with Cellino and recorded without his knowledge prior to his takeover of Leeds in April.
Hunt’s weekly wage at United is substantially less than the figure quoted by Cellino. The Italian is thought to have been referring to Jimmy Kebe, the winger on loan with Leeds at the time. Asked why Hunt had struggled for games, McCarthy said: “Part of the reason might be that somebody announced he’s on 25 grand at Leeds and he can’t walk down the street because they (the supporters) turn on him. That’s not helped him at all but he’s on nowhere near that much. The new owner said it before the takeover and it’s had a detrimental effect on his career at Leeds. I’m delighted to get him. He’s a very good Championship player. Who knows what will happen between now and Christmas? We’re okay at the moment but if we get injuries then we’d start scratching around. You can’t have too many strikers.”
Hunt has joined Ipswich until January 3. The terms of his loan prevent him from playing in next weekend’s game between Leeds and Ipswich at Portman Road.