Saturday 24 March 2018

Off the Ball: Cursing legend McGrath for inflicting lifetime of Villa misery on us

Michael McCarthy

It was an honour to have Paul McGrath at our Ulster Bank Off The Ball Roadshow in Vicar Street last Thursday night. Having Paul in front of a live crowd reminded us of how beloved he is by sports fans in this country.

There is one unintended negative consequence of our love for McGrath, though – a generation of Irish Aston Villa fans who must suffer endless mediocrity as a result of being of a team-choosing age when Paul was at his best.

There are three Villa fans in the Newstalk sports department, more than even Liverpool or Manchester United.

We had it good for a couple of years, back in the early '90s. There was the Coca-Cola Cups. There was Dean Saunders, Dalian Atkinson, Tony Daley, eh... Earl Barrett.

It was around the time of the Gareth Barry transfer saga that many of us started to question a decision made 20 years previous. It's too late to change now, but maybe it's okay to resent Paul McGrath a little for being so good that he inflicted a life of Aston Villa on us.


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