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26th September 2011

Where Are They Now? – Paul McGrath

Looking at sports stars of the past and what they are doing now. This week we look at hard drinking Irish footballer Paul McGrath.
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TLDR

Paul McGrath was a footballer that always attracted attention, sadly often for the wrong reasons. The Irish centre half enjoyed a fine career, starring in the Manchester United team that lifted the 1985 FA Cup. He also became a hero for Aston Villa in the early 90’s, racking up 252 appearances as well as being named Professional Football Association player of the year in 1993.
On the International stage, McGrath represented the Republic of Ireland, winning 83 caps and playing at two World cups. His finest hour coming at the 1994 tournament as Ireland beat Italy 1-0. McGrath was the star man, playing through injury in a brave defensive display. In the aftermath Irish manager Jack Charlton compared him with England’s legend,Bobby Moore, such was his cultured approach to defending.
Yet sadly for McGrath he will also be remembered for his well documented off field problems. His drinking problems were a prominent feature of his career and were the main reason he left Manchester United. He spiralled out of control at Aston Villa, attempting suicide on four occasions. Yet what was perhaps most astounding about the player was his on field performances despite these issues. He would often not train due to his drinking habits, but produce excellent displays for his team.
This year former defender has emerged in a new light, and is releasing his debut album on September 23rd. An album of covers, McGrath tackles songs by the likes of Elvis Costello and Christy Moore, turning out to be a surprisngly tender vocalist.A percentage of the profits will be going to the Acquired Brain Injury Foundation and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Ireland. You can listen to lead single, ‘Goin Back’’ at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCbwXqoJGuo


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