Red Card Roy: Birds, Booze And Three Match Bans

Roy McDonough, football's most red carded player, chronicles his life through a pint glass...
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Roy McDonough, football's most red carded player, chronicles his life through a pint glass...

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When you’ve got to lick your moustache to see if you’ve given a woman oral sex the night before, you know drink has taken hold of you. Granted, it’s not a classic tell-tale sign that you’re drinking too much but for Roy McDonough it was the simplest way for him to remember what he’d been up to the night before.

That fact is just one of the brutally honest truths that you’ll find in Roy’s autobiography, Red Card Roy. It’s name coming from the as yet unsurpassed statistic of 22 red cards he received during the course of a tumultuous career littered with pitch battles, nights on the tiles and sexual encounters that would make Casanova blush. The opinion that your average footballers are alcohol swilling Lotharios is only backed up by Roy’s account of his years in football but in this sense, it would be unfair to label him as average. Whilst his football talent may have been left unfulfilled, his off the field antics were what he became notorious for and the pride he took in drinking and shagging deserved medals.

Your modern day footballer’s post match routine will involve protein shakes, recovery stretches and a big bowl of pasta. Roy’s Saturday night, and occasionally his Friday night, tended to involve drinking a pint of Guinness whilst standing on his head. Whatever you might call him, conventional wouldn’t be the word.

It has to be said that Roy’s exploits were heightened at a time when his love for the game had waned but after a meeting with the great man, for a pint of course, I couldn’t help but like the man who was the equivalent of a walking anecdote. What was more intriguing was the stories his publishers weren’t willing to gamble on. There was enough material left out of the book for legal reasons to provide enough material for a second book. Although that follow-up book may prick the attention of his ex-wife, her mother-in-law and an ex-teammate and their lawyers.

Roy’s Saturday night, and occasionally his Friday night, tended to involve drinking a pint of Guinness whilst standing on his head

Even at 53, Roy is an imposing figure and even though you feel like his best mate within five minutes of meeting him, you can still imagine the terror he’d strike into any defender who didn’t fancy the challenge of mullet-haired McDonough at his most threatening.

At times, football is an insignificance, getting in the way of a good night out but Roy’s book shows a human side to footballers too. The tragedy of losing close friends, the despair at a career veering of the rails and the regret of not having the guidance from his father that he craved.

For anyone who has grown tired of the state of modern football and the distance that’s opened up between the fans and they game they love, Red Card Roy is an antidote to that and harks back to how football used to be. Of course, you could read Theo Walcott’s book but the only revelatory exclusive you’ll get from that would be finding out his guilty pleasure of having Sugar Puffs for his breakfast. On the other hand, you could buy this book and learn about Tony Pulis being kung-fu kicked in the chest by Roy McDonough.

Having left England to start a new life in Spain with his second wife Liz, Roy now has the life we all dream of. Weeks full of languid, lazy days sipping rioja but you feel he has unfinished business in the game at management level, especially at his old club Colchester United who incidentally have just parted company with their manager, John Ward. Time may have tempered his fiery nature but even on the sidelines, he’d cut an imposing figure. If he was to get a chance to get back into the game, don’t count against 22 red cards becoming 23.

If you'd like to see Roy's Guinness drinking party trick click here

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