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  • Published: 1 January 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446409602
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 432

Back from the Brink

The Autobiography

The autobiography of the greatest defender of the 1980s and 90s

Paul McGrath is Ireland's best loved sportsman and also its least understood. An iconic football presence during a professional career stretching over 14 years, he played for his country in the European Championship finals of 1988 and the World Cup finals of 1990 and 1994. But, behind the implied glamour of life in the employ of great English clubs like Manchester United and Aston Villa, McGrath wrestled with a range of destructive emotions that made his success in the game little short of miraculous.

That story has until now never been told. It is a story that runs from a hard, hidden childhood spent in Dublin's orphanages all the way to the pain of two marriage break-ups and the struggle to cope with life after football. Quite apart from his all too public struggle with alcoholism, the story runs through the surreal highs and calamitous lows of a life lived habitually on the edge of chaos.

It is not just a football story. It is an extraordinary human story that is certain to surprise with its candour.

Here, for the first time, read about the father he never met; the mother whose love never died; the routine loneliness and ritual bullying endured by a black kid growing up behind closed doors in 1960s Dublin; the emotional breakdown suffered on leaving that institution; the recovery that - remarkably - brought him all the way to Old Trafford; the rollercoaster ride that followed. Here, the guilt, fear, self-loathing are all laid bare in a story fired with hope and determination for the future.

It may well be the most candid sports book ever written.

  • Published: 1 January 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446409602
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 432

About the author

Paul McGrath

Paul McGrath was born on December 4, 1959. He joined St Patricks Athletic, Dublin, as a teenager before joining Manchester United in 1982. He won the FA Cup with United and was twice voted Player of the Year before being sold to Aston Villa for £400,000 in 1989, where he was voted Player of the Year four times. He was also PFA Player of the Year in 1993. He also played for Derby and Sheffield United, before retiring in 1998.

McGrath also won 83 caps for the Republic of Ireland, appeared at the 1990 and 1994 World Cups, and was Ireland's first black captain.

Praise for Back from the Brink

As survivor's tales go, this is brutalist epic...McGrath's narrative has a stark honesty.

Sean O'Hagan, The Observer Sport Monthly

Continuing the trend of brutal honesty which was popularised by Paul Gascoigne's autobiography, McGrath's book is difficult to read for anyone with an ounce of human kindness, especially those who marvelled at his ability from the Old Trafford terraces... Beautifully written.

Manchester Evening News

Laceratingly honest...remarkably unflinching

Mail on Sunday

A startling, harrowing read... far removed from the churn-em-out footballing autobiographies...This is an uncompromising tale, wonderfully told, about one of our most talented and disturbed sporting heroes.

Hugh Farrelly, Irish Independent


Robert Philip, Daily Telegraph

One of the finest autobiographies to be written by a footballer... a roller-coaster ride of highs and lows, gain and loss, of loneliness, of fear, of self-loathing, and of guilt.

Birmingham Post

It is funny. It is sad. It is brilliant.

Hyder Jawad, Birmingham Post

The travails of Tony Adams, Paul Gascoigne and even George Best pale when compared with McGrath's horrors.

Paul Rowan, The Sunday Times

McGrath's book is voyeuristic and gruesome... sheds light on one of sport's last great taboos.

Rick Broadbent, The Times

Gripping [and] unflinching... His story is as complex as it is moving, as vulnerable as it is brutal.

Donald McRae, Guardian

Genuinely absorbing... harrowing and honest... his is a story truly worth telling.

Adam Marshall, Eurosport

Amid the basketful of bland post-World Cup books, McGrath's life story stands out a mile... Fascinating reading.

Evening Standard

The Republic of Ireland's most popular sportsman, still adored by fans of Manchester United and Villa.

BBC Sport

An all-too honest account of a playing career that just got better and better, despite threatening to go off the rails.

Sunday Mercury

An extraordinary book.

Irish Independent

Harrowing and brutally honest...a gripping story.

Derby Evening Telegraph

Brutally honest.

The Irish Post

Less a football autobiography, more repentant confessional.

Kevin Hughes, FreeSport