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Paul McGrath - London Born Irishman Became Superstar Soccer Icon
London born Paul McGrath is probably one of Ireland's most popular players of all times and is a soccer icon whose reputation on football fields had few equals. Troubled by severe knee ailments at an early stage in his career, he still managed to perform at the highest level in Premier League football.
Irish soccer fans have numerous fond memories of the ‘Black Pearl’ of Irish soccer who was the backbone of the Republic of Irelands great rise to the pinnacle of World Cup football in 1990 and again in 1994. Since his demise from international football, Ireland are still searching for a worthy replacement, and this task is not made any easier when many football experts rated Paul, as the complete natural world class defender. He was a terrace hero at all the clubs he played for and in 1985, United fans applauded their hero off the field when he single – handedly kept out Everton in the F.A. Cup final, after Kevin Moran’s dismissal.
The appointment of Alex Ferguson and a combination of events off the field, ensured that the new United manager would off load a gifted player in 1989. However Paul simply carried on with exceptional parformances at his new club, Aston Villa and many genuine United fans never forgave Alex Ferguson for a grave error of judgement on a genius footballer.
His career with Ireland took him to many famous international stadiums and the World Cup of 1990 witnessed some majestic displays by Paul as Ireland reached the quarter finals for the first time ever. Paul McGrath's wry grin and quietly spoken soft accent, belied his skillful and fearsome approach to the game.
Place of Birth: Ealing, London, England
Date of Birth: 4th December 1959
Nationality: Irish (Irish mother)
Pearse Rovers, Dalkey United, St. Patricks Athletic (Ireland), Mancester United, Aston Villa, Derby County, Sheffield United.
International Player: Republic of Ireland 1985 – 1997
Caps/Goals: 83 caps 8 goals
International Debut: V Italy on 5th February 1985
Club Debut: Manchester United V Spurs 1982
Club Appearances: 519 (all English clubs)
Honours: F.A. Cup Medal 1985 – Manchester United
League Cup Medals: 1994 & 1996 (Aston Villa)
P.F.A Ireland Player of the Year 1981/82
P.F.A Player of the Year 1983
Aston Villa’s most capped international player 51 Caps
Moved to St. Patricks athletic in 1981 from Dalkey United.
St. Patricks Athletic to Manchester United 1982 Fee: £30,000
Derry JF Doody