Happy birthday to Paul McGrath, born on 4th December 1959 in Ealing, London. McGrath would go on to become one of Ireland and Man Utd’s finest centre-backs, a player so good he was allowed to skip training sessions when he later joined Aston Villa (he had famously dodgy knees). Fergie said his talent “stood comparison with any central defender in the game”.
Addiction to alcohol almost certainly stopped McGrath from achieving even more, but you can’t argue with a career that added up to almost 500 club appearances and 83 international caps.
Despite some online digging, I don’t know for certain why this photo shows McGrath with one hand on the FA Cup and the other on a refreshing carton of Capri Sun orange juice. I do know that the pic was taken in 1985, probably after Man Utd won the FA Cup that year, beating Everton 1-0 in a tense final marked by Kevin Moran’s red card (the first red shown in an FA Cup Final). McGrath was named man of the match, so it’s a pretty good guess that Capri Sun sponsored the award that season.
The ’85 FA Cup was the only silverware McGrath won with United. He won two League Cups during his time at Villa, and in 2015 he was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame. Good man.