An iconic former footballer who is considered one of the Republic of Ireland's greatest players of all-time, Paul McGrath enjoyed a career at the highest level, turning out as a defensive midfielder for Manchester United, Aston Villa, as well as his national side.
One of just five defenders to have won the PFA Player of the Year award in the history of English football, McGrath made 478 appearances at club level, as well as being capped 83 times for his country. Following his 1998 retirement, McGrath was inducted in the Football League 100 Legends and in 2015 he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame.
His sixteen-year senior career would begin when he graduated the St Patrick's Athletic academy in 1981. In the season of his professional debut, which followed a short stint as an apprentice metal worker in Dublin, McGrath won the PFAI Player of the Year Award for his four goals in 31 games. This caught the attention of English giants, Manchester United, under the stewardship of Ron Atkinson.
His opening season would see him grapple for a place in Manchester United's defence, though by 1983 he had battled off competition for Gordon McQueen to appear alongside Kevin Moran. In the 1985 FA Cup Final, despite his defensive partners sending off, McGrath managed a shutout to see United lift the FA Cup after a 1-0 win over Everton; he was subsequently named Man of the Match.
Injury and alcohol addiction would go on to plague the coming years at Manchester United and he would fall out of favour by the time Sir Alex Ferguson arrived on the scene. After seven years at the club, he joined Aston Villa for a £400,000 fee.
At Villa, McGrath would re-establish himself as one of the top defensive players in the league, proving a key part of the team that narrowly missed out on the league title on two occasions, first under Graham Taylor in his first season, next under Ron Atkinson in the 1993-94 season, when the team would become one of the best early in the Premier League. He won the PFA Players' Player of the Year and helped the club to win the League Cup in both 1994 and 1996; earning him the nickname of "God" amongst fans of the club.
At international level, McGrath would be considered the most influential player during Ireland's "glory days" where they qualified for UEFA Euro 1988; the first major tournament in their history, which would also see them record a victory over England in the group stage. He would also play a major part in Ireland's World Cup campaigns in 1990 and 1994.
A determined leader and talented professional as a player, McGrath is awash with hilarious and inspiring stories from his time in the game. Ideal to speak at teambuilding events and corporate occasions, Paul McGrath is a must-have football speaker.