Walsall Football Club are delighted to announce the signing of defender Stephen Ward on a one-year contract.
The 35-year-old joins the Saddlers following his departure from Ipswich Town.
The Irishman arrives with a wealth of experience at the highest level having played seven seasons in the Premier League and represented Republic of Ireland at two European Championships.
Ward began his career at Irish club Bohemians before he moved to England in January 2007 to join Wolverhampton Wanderers.
He helped Wolves win promotion to the Premier League in 2009 and was an established member of the squad in the top flight.
Ward was loaned out to Brighton & Hove Albion in 2013. He played 47 times and scored four times during his spell at the AMEX Stadium.
In the summer of 2014, the defender left Wolves on a permanent basis and joined Burnley where he played alongside Saddlers Head Coach Matthew Taylor.
Burnley suffered relegation from the Premier League in 2015 but Ward played a key role in helping the Clarets make an immediate return to the top division a year later.
In 2018, he was part of the Burnley team that finished seventh and qualified for the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round.
He featured against Aberdeen, Istanbul Basaksehir and Olympiacos as Sean Dyche’s team fell at the play-off stage.
Ward left Turf Moor in 2019 and joined Stoke City in the Championship. A year later he moved to Ipswich and played 31 times last season.
As well as a distinguished club career, Ward has been capped 50 times for the Republic of Ireland.
He featured at both Euro 2012 and Euro 2016, helping Ireland reach the last 16 in France five years ago.
The defender is delighted to join the Saddlers and can’t wait to get started.
“It’s exciting,” Ward said.
“I have been in with the lads training for a couple of days now, having a look at the place and I am really impressed with how the Head Coach is trying to go about his business and his ambition for the season. I have been really impressed from speaking to the Head Coach and I am really excited to get going this year.”
Head Coach Matthew Taylor is looking forward to working with Ward again.
“Stephen is someone who I have played with and has huge experience in the game.
“He’s a player that’s played at the top and for him to have a leadership role within the group in terms of what he can offer with his experience and more importantly, what he can offer on the pitch. We’re extremely happy to have someone of Stephen’s quality joining the club.
“The biggest thing for him is he wants to be part of the journey that we’re on at this football club so from my perspective, I’ve always spoken about good people first, followed by a good player and Stephen fits the mould.
“It will be great for other players in the group to learn from him because he’s a fantastic professional and somebody that’s got huge experience domestically and internationally but more importantly, he still wants to be successful and we hope he can help us to do that here.”
The transfer is subject to FA and EFL clearance.