Low self-esteem has always been at the core of McGrath's problems, and you don't need a degree in psychoanalysis to trace it to his childhood, maybe even to his conception. In 1959, in
Years later, Ron Atkinson used the same horrible word about Marcel Desailly. McGrath loved playing for Atkinson, both at Manchester United and Aston Villa, and admits in his book to thinking the world of Big Ron, so I ask him what his feelings were in the wake of the Desailly episode?
A pause. "Well, Ron's old school, I have to say that. But Jesus, he's one of the furthest men away from being a racist." A further pause. "He might say the odd word that makes you think 'Jesus, what's happening here?' He had this thing in training, where he'd say 'it's the coons against the rest'. But we'd just laugh about it. And the so-called coons had a good team - me, Yorkie [Dwight Yorke], Dalian Atkinson, Cyrille Regis - so we were delighted. Never once would any of us have taken exception.