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Paul McGrath Reveals Alex Ferguson Once Offered Him A Small Fortune To Retire From Football

Paul McGrath Reveals Alex Ferguson Once Offered Him A Small Fortune To Retire From Football
Gary Connaughton
By Gary Connaughton
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Paul McGrath certainly has one of the most unique careers you will find in modern football.

He was an incredible player, starring at both club and international level for over a decade-and-a-half. However, he also had his struggles with both injuries and addiction over the course of his time in football. The way in which he battled back from both of those is what makes him such a beloved figure.

Towards the end of the 80s, there were serious questions about his future in the game. Injuries had severely affected his impact at Manchester United, while Alex Ferguson was also growing tired of his antics away from the pitch.

In fact, the Scot even offered him a considerable sum of money to retire from the game altogether.

Paul McGrath reveals Alex Ferguson retirement offer


Alex Ferguson had grown tired of Paul McGrath and Norman Whiteside perpetuating a drinking culture in the club, moving both players on in 1989.

At this stage, he apparently offered the Irishman a princely sum to step away from the game altogether in an effort to get him out of Old Trafford.

Speaking to The Telegraph, McGrath recalled how an offer of £100,000 was tabled on the condition that he retire and move back to Ireland. However, he turned down the money and ended up moving to Aston Villa instead.


Sir Alex got me into the room and just said ‘we’d like you to stop playing football’.

Simple as that. And he said they were willing to give me £100,000 to quit playing football altogether and just go back to Ireland.

I was thinking about it because £100,000 back then was quite a lot of money.

But I spoke to Kevin Moran and Bryan Robson, and I just said I wanted to play on because I thought I could still do something in football.

So Gordon Taylor, who was at the PFA, went into Sir Alex and said ‘Paul’s playing on, you can fine him, you can do what you want but he’s going to play football - here or somewhere else’.

It wasn’t a shock really because we were acting up a bit back then.

We had a bit of fun but we overdid it, so then he just wanted me out of the club.

Then Bryan Robson was having a barbeque at his house and suddenly Graham Taylor was on the phone saying ‘can you come up to Aston Villa’ and I jumped at the chance.

I thought ‘Jesus, I can play there every week’.

Thankfully, Paul McGrath would go on the enjoy arguably the finest spell of his career from this point. He would star for Ireland at Italia 90 and USA 94, as well as winning the PFA Player of the Year award in 1993.

It's safe to say that he made the correct decision.

SEE ALSO: Here's The Youthful Ireland Team We Want To See Against Latvia


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