Sir Alex Ferguson offered centre back Paul McGrath £100,000 to quit football – Man United News And Transfer News
Sir Alex Ferguson’s legendary reign at Manchester United is widely regarded as one of the best managerial performances of all-time.
His outstanding man-management was key to his longevity as United boss, knowing how to get the best out of players from around the globe.
However, as reported by The Mirror, former United defender Paul McGrath reveals how Sir Alex offered him money to retire from the game all-together.
The Republic of Ireland man was at United of for a total of seven years, with the final three of those under the guidance of Sir Alex.
McGrath was a part of the excessive drinking culture that was rife amongst players in England when Ferguson arrived from Aberdeen, something the Scot set out to change.
The Irish international suffered with alcohol issues throughout his career and detailed how Sir Alex offered him a way out of the club in an attempt to reset the status-quo at Old Trafford.
“Sir Alex got me into the room and just said ‘we’d like you to stop playing football’. Simple as that. And he said they were willing to give me £100,000 to quit playing football altogether and just go back to Ireland. I was thinking about it because £100,000 back then was quite a lot of money,” recalls McGrath.
However, after consulting teammates the defender turned down the offer and decided to carry on playing, still feeling he had something to offer the game.
“But I spoke to [team-mates] Kevin Moran and Bryan Robson, and I just said I wanted to play on because I thought I could still do something in football,” he said.
McGrath spoke to senior figures at the PFA who advised Ferguson of his decision, putting the ball back in the United manager’s court.
“So Gordon Taylor, who was at the PFA, went into Sir Alex and said ‘Paul’s playing on, you can fine him, you can do what you want but he’s going to play football – here or somewhere else’,” he added.
In typically ruthless fashion, McGrath was sold to Aston Villa just two weeks later where he spent seven years in the first-team at Villa Park.
In the end it was case of ‘what if’s’ for McGrath. A player with all the talent to have been remembered as one of the finest defenders to have played the game, with lifestyle choices the only thing holding him back from reaching his peak for a consistent period, especially at United.