Paul McGrath Reveals Precise Moment He Knew His Career Was Over

Paul McGrath Reveals Precise Moment He Knew His Career Was Over

One of Ireland's most talented and widely loved footballers, Paul McGrath entered the abyss of retirement without even the slightest idea of what he wanted (or could) do next.

Speaking to Tommy Bowe ahead of the Ulster man's retirement from professional rugby, one of Ireland's heroes throughout the Jack Charlton era recalled his final game of football.

Playing for Sheffield United in the second-tier of English football, the former Manchester United and Aston Villa man remembers vividly his final game; a 2-1 defeat to Ipswich Town.

Renowned for his composure and passing ability, McGrath, a month shy of his 38th birthday, realised the end was in sight when he "could see straight, but couldn't kick straight":

I just kept giving the ball to their centre-forward, and he kept running back at me. Then I'd have to try and take the ball off him again, or one of the other players had to. And then I'd kick it out into touch ... so, I knew there was something wrong in that game.

So out of character was McGrath's performance, he recalls his wife asking him after the defeat, "What was all that about?"


Hitherto believing that he was "still the quickest on the team" and in possession of all his famed talents, McGrath recalls that fateful Ipswich Town tie and the strange sensation of feeling like he was helping the other team to win.

Going straight to the Sheffield United manager at the time, Nigel Spackman, McGrath decided there and then that he was finished. With over half a season remaining on what he reveals was a very generous contract, McGrath decided he didn't wanted "to be remembered as a bad player."

Without any plans of what he wanted to do next, the former PFA Players' Player of the Year reveals he is very happy all the same.

See Also: Brian Kerr Criticises Involvement Of Graham Burke In The Ireland Team

Arthur James O'Dea

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