Saturday, 3 December 2011

Hall of Fame: Paul McGrath (1981 - 1998)

Paul McGrath was a player ahead of his time in so many ways; "Like Bobby Moore, Paul McGrath played football as though he was wearing a silk smoking jacket with a crystal glass in his hand". He epitomised class. The defender who famously couldn’t train due to chronic knee injuries also battled his own personal problems with alcoholism and depression off the field, but to those who saw him play he was simply known for giving a defending master class when he crossed the white line.

The defender started his career in Ireland with St Patrick’s Athletic in 1981 and made 27 appearances for the club before being spotted by Manchester United manager Ron Atkinson. After signing for the Red Devils, McGrath would win the FA Cup with Atkinson in 1985 before Sir Alex Ferguson took over the helm at Old Trafford. McGrath's knee problems meant he would never become a regular in Ferguson’s team. The relationship between the two which could be best described as turbulent clearly had a time limit and the United manager offered the centre half a retirement package including a £100,000 payoff and a testimonial to retire.

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