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Tuesday 28 March 2017

McGrath still working to keep life on track

Paul McGrath meets Jack Walsh (11) from Co Kerry at the launch of his DVD at HMV on Grafton Street, Dublin, yesterday
Paul McGrath meets Jack Walsh (11) from Co Kerry at the launch of his DVD at HMV on Grafton Street, Dublin, yesterday

Fergus Black

MORE than a decade after finally hanging up his boots Paul McGrath would gladly turn the clock back for the chance to pull on a jersey of any colour just one more time.

"I miss it badly," he said of his professional football career that stretched more than 14 years.

"All players who have left do. When you are very good at it, when it's the only thing that makes you confident in what you're doing, it's a big loss."

Despite the demons that continue to drive him towards self-destruction, the legendary former centre-half said he still held out hope of turning his turbulent life around.

Yesterday, loyal fans, some of whom weren't even born when McGrath finally retired from the game in 1997, proved he still has the 'ooh-ahh' factor.

Donning Ireland and Man Utd jerseys, they queued up to be photographed with the former player and to have him sign copies of his new warts-and-all DVD, 'Paul McGrath, My Life and Football'.

"I got a bit of a shock," admitted McGrath when he saw the queue lined up at the HMV music store in Dublin's Grafton Street. "It's nice to have people come out to see you."

Earlier this week, the 50-year-old grandfather gave a searingly honest account of his battle with alcohol and his efforts to turn his life around in an interview in the Irish Independent.

Yesterday, he again spoke of his desperate attempts to change his ways and to lead a better life.

Change

"I'm hoping this time to maybe change it around. I'm hoping now to stop the ways I go on with, to stop the kiddie acting out," he said.

"I want to become more responsible and maybe get another chance to treat my granddaughter a little better."

Four years on from the release of his autobiography 'Back from the Brink', which has sold more than 200,000 copies, the tormented star admitted that he could never say he was back from the brink.

But he said he was feeling "really good at the moment".

"I'm just hoping to get my life on track."

Later, in a brief interview with Sky Sports, he was asked about the moment in his DVD when he admits he has been to "something like 13 or 14 rehabs".

"Every time I get ill I try and get better," he replied.

"For me that's the most important thing. I keep trying, that's all I can do."

Irish Independent

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