Stephen Patrick Hunt (born 1 August 1981 in County Laois, Republic of Ireland) is an Irish footballer. His position is left midfield, and he plays professionally for Reading. He previously played for Brentford and Crystal Palace. His younger brother, Noel Hunt, is also a footballer, and plays for Dundee United.
Hunt became known for his creative and skillful play as well as his work rate as a winger. Although born in county Laois in Ireland, Hunt grew up in Clonea-Power, Waterford in the South of Ireland. Hunts first introduction to organised football was when he moved to the Mount Sion secondary school in Waterford at the age of 11. During his time at secondary school he also began playing for local soccer side Johnville. This got Hunt a degree of recognition and he played for Waterford in the Kennedy Cup.
He later excelled for Carrick United at various age levels, before going to England starting his career as a trainee with Crystal Palace, However he failed to make an impact on the first team, so he left to join Brentford. In his four years at the West London club, he became an integral part of the team.
In 2005, Hunt decided to leave Brentford, and rejected a new contract. After agreeing to join Bradford City, late interest from Reading, then in the Football League Championship, made him change his mind.
Hunt was unfortunate to be denied more starting appearances in his first Reading season by the brilliant form of Bobby Convey. He still made a vital contribution, appearing from the bench, as Reading marched to the Championship title and promotion to the Premiership during the 2005–06 season.
On 14 October 2006, Hunt and Chelsea's goalkeeper Petr Čech challenged for the ball in the first minute of a league game at the Madejski Stadium, resulting in a collision between Čech's head and Hunt's knee and Čech undergoing surgery for a depressed fracture of the skull.
Following the incident officials and players of not just the two clubs involved, pundits, footballer representatives and even MPs expressed views either condemning or supporting Hunt and the others involved in the aftermath of the incident.
The FA eventually confirmed that no action would be taken against Hunt but, in the mean time, both Hunt and team-mate Ibrahima Sonko, involved in a collision in the same match with Čech's replacement Carlo Cudicini, had received deaths threats from alleged Chelsea fans.
On 9 July 2007, Hunt signed an improved three year contract to keep him at Reading until the end of the 2009–10 season.
Hunt earned his first cap for the Republic of Ireland in their 2-1 win away to San Marino on 7 February 2007, coming on as a substitute. He earned his second cap in their 1-0 home win against Wales on 24 March 2007, again coming on as a substitute.
Hunt was then sent off in Ireland's 1-0 defeat to the Czech Rupublic, by Greek referee Kyros Vassaras, even though he won the ball, after challenging Jan Polák.