Football: That was the weekend that was

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The Independent Online
Had it not been for the salutory lesson learned from the premature end of his father's career, Manchester United might in time have welcomed another McGuinness into their senior side. Paul McGuinness, the elder of Wilf's two sons, joined United as a schoolboy and progressed through the youth team to win a professional contract.

Having enjoyed a taste of reserve team football, however, he chose to accept a place at Loughborough University instead.

"Football was the main thing I wanted to do but the fact that my dad broke his leg at 22 was always in my thoughts," Paul said. "Apart from that there were so many good players at Old Trafford at the time you could play a blinder and it would count for nothing."

Now though, 32-year-old Paul, who enjoyed brief tastes of the professional game with Crewe and Chester after obtaining his degree in physical education and sports science, is back with United in an increasingly important role, as director of their school of excellence.

"It has grown so large it is in essence like being manager of a junior club," he said. "Hard work - but very fulfilling."

His father, meanwhile, plays an active role, commentating for BBC GMR as well as United's own radio and television operations, and acting as a match-day host. "It's terrific," he said. "I see all their games - and I don't have to worry about the result."