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paul mcgrath - the red rebel!
Paul McGrath
"I have a lot of respect for Alex and for what he has done for Manchester United. I mean, as a man...I don't think as a man we would ever see eye to eye." - Paul Mcgrath on Sir Alex

'Oh, ah, Paul McGrath' ran the Stretford End's favourite song - and the centre back that inspired it earned a lasting place in United fans' affections, if occasionally providing his managers with a headache or two thanks to a self-confessed hellraising lifestyle.

Born in England but of Irish parentage, McGrath re-crossed the Irish Sea at the end of April 1982, costing United 30,000 pounds. The former St. Patrick's Athletic youngster wouldn't make his debut until the following November, though, with Moran, McQueen and Buchan already contesting the two central defensive berths.

Two more part seasons followed as he grappled with injuries, before he became a first team regular in 85/86 - the same year he pushed Gary Lineker close for the PFA Player of the Year award. Yet his off-pitch unpredictability didn't endear him to Alex Ferguson and once Gary Pallister came on the market, Paul was on his way.

A transfer to Aston Villa, where he would play again under manager Ron Atkinson, proved he still had it in him to compete for honours, though his suspect knees were always the cause for concern. Even so, he helped Villa to the League Cup both in 93/94 and 95/96 to prove the medics wrong.



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