Pundit Eamon Dunphy has claimed he would have become a big-time gangster if he didn't make the move to play professional football in England when he was 14.
In the second of a two-part interview to celebrate his 70th birthday in the Irish Daily Star, the RTE analyst also hit out at social media, saying it is a "vicious, ignorant, dark world. It’s a vicious tool in the wrong hands".
“The best decision I ever made was leaving Ireland two days before my 15th birthday,” he said.
“It was August 1, 1960. That was the best thing I ever did in my life.
“What would have happened if I hadn’t left? I’d have been incarcerated in a high-security prison for bank robbery.
“I’d have made John Gilligan look like a choir boy.
“I do often think that I’d have ended up in prison, because I would not have submitted to the ruling classes in this country.
“So I’d probably have become a big-time gangster.”
Roy Keane recently stated that he would not have survived at Manchester United if social media was around in his day and Dunphy agrees.
“I’d have been dead. Go back to the 1990 World Cup or the Platini thing before that [when Dunphy questioned the Frenchman’s greatness during the 1984 European Championships],” he said.
“I’d have been finished if social media was around then. RTE wouldn’t have been able to keep me.
“Social media would have done for me.
“Executives now take notice of social media and what is being said.
“That’s one of the evils of modernity — the social media thing. It puts down anyone who has a contrarian view. Anyone who has their own mind is immediately a target.
“Unfortunately, the people who run the media business pay attention to it.
“It’s a vicious, ignorant, dark world. It’s a vicious tool in the wrong hands.
“I’m very, very lucky that it didn’t exist when I was trying to make my way.”