Back from the Brink: The Autobiography

Back from the Brink: The Autobiography

Paul McGrath

Language: English

Pages: 221

ISBN: 1846051762

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The autobiography of the greatest defender of the 1980s and 90s.

"As survivor's tales go, this is brutalist epic...McGrath's narrative has a stark honesty." (Sean O'Hagan The Observer Sport Monthly)

"Continuing the trend of brutal honesty which was popularised by Paul Gascoigne's autobiography, McGrath's book is difficult to read for anyone with an ounce of human kindness, especially those who marvelled at his ability from the Old Trafford terraces... Beautifully written." (Manchester Evening News)

"Laceratingly honest...remarkably unflinching" (Mail on Sunday)

"A startling, harrowing read... far removed from the churn-em-out footballing autobiographies...This is an uncompromising tale, wonderfully told, about one of our most talented and disturbed sporting heroes." (Hugh Farrelly Irish Independent)

"Heartbreaking...poingnant" (Robert Philip Daily Telegraph)

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as an Aston Villa player. Both men clearly retained a deep affection for Paul. That night I flew home and two rows in front of me on the Aer Lingus flight sat a guy in a Villa shirt. He was fifteen at most, yet on the back of his shirt was the number five and the surname McGRATH. Nine years after he left the club, Paul’s legend was still vibrant enough for that kind of tribute. He had been due to travel with me that day, but cancelled because of feeling ‘unwell’. I felt a pang of regret that he

twice as brutal. My own recollection is that I was beaten just about every morning. The other boys made fun of my predicament. There’d be jokes in the schoolyard that I had wet the bed again. When they’d see me, they’d shout, ‘Piss the bed, piss the bed …’ I’d fly off the handle when they did that, routinely getting into fights over an argument I couldn’t win. The evidence was there every single morning. It glowed, red raw in welts across my backside. I tried everything to solve it. I would

supporters that cut an epic, green swathe across the globe without ever troubling the local police forces. We became a story bigger than football. And I became Ooh Aah … It is June 1995 and the wheels are coming off here. I am in a room in the Castletroy Park Hotel on the outskirts of Limerick. Trapped, agitated and desperate. There’s a man sitting on a chair outside the door. His name is Larry. I like Larry, but right now he’s a big, black cloud in my world. Larry is my jailer. He’s posted

The team that went to Euro ’88 didn’t have an ounce of apprehension. Jack cracked the whip like a drill sergeant, barking out orders in a voice that nobody dared challenge. But by 1995, we had all become comfortable and a little careless. In Limerick, the lads would joke on the bus coming back from training about the coming night’s curfew. With Jack out of the way, they were almost mutinous. Of course, I’d laugh and wink and share in the general ribaldry, all the time feeling a little resentful

days before our subsequent fourth-round FA Cup tie at Grimsby. Rather pointedly, Ron told me that while the lads were sunning themselves, I could stay back and train. Otherwise, I was still doing a relatively decent job for Villa. The crowd seemed inclined to forgive me everything. Sometimes, when I’d be coming off a bender, they’d hold up these Guinness signs as if to offer moral support. Sometimes there’d be a placard declaring simply ‘Welcome back, Paul!’ For four successive seasons, they

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