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Red Card Roy is a riveting read
I don't think anyone that watched me did not get their money’s worth out of me.
So says Roy McDonough in his no-holds barred autobiography “Red Card Roy” – and few Colchester United fans who watched this colourful character strut his stuff at Layer Road over the years would disagree.
McDonough’s raw, compelling and sometimes heart-rending account of his eventful football career is a far cry from the predictable, often banal ghost-written autobiographies produced by Premier League footballers of the present day.
It is also a throwback to when the game had genuine hard men, with his eye-watering recollections of run-ins with the likes of Terry Hurlock, Pat Van Den Hauwe and John Fashanu a case in point.
McDonough’s tough, uncompromising behaviour on the pitch is evident from the very beginning, with the prologue recalling him attempting to strangle a referee as a 16-year-old schoolboy in a secondary school cup final vividly painting a picture of what is to follow.
The book continues in the same explosive fashion all the way to the final page, with Bernie Friend hitting the right notes in portraying a larger than life man who navigated his way around various clubs in the lower leagues, combining that career with some off-the-field behaviour that is equally as entertaining to the reader.
Indeed, this entertaining book is not just about red cards, flailing elbows and crunching tackles – far from it.
It is genuinely funny with the accounts of McDonough’s wild and hedonistic lifestyle as a young and up-and-coming footballer particularly amusing.
However, it is not for the faint hearted at times; some of its content cannot be repeated in a family newspaper.
McDonough’s recollections of his boozing and sexual escapades – and the colourful language used to describe them - are brutally honest and descriptive in what is a no-holds barred story of not only a passionate footballer but a passionate man, who has clearly lived life to the full.
There are some colourful accounts of McDonough’s two eventful spells at the U’s, from his first spell at the club under the likes of Bobby Roberts and Allan Hunter to his eventful tenure as player-manager, where he guided Colchester to a non-league double.
There are also plenty of juicy behind-the-scenes insights into Layer Road life in the 1980s and early nineties that will serve as a treat for supporters. But this is a book that will appeal to sports fans in general.
Indeed, this frank and intriguing tale of McDonough’s life and his ups and downs along the way is one that paints a picture of life’s bittersweet tapestry in general – and what it is to be human.
For extracts from the book and pictures, see Monday's Gazette.
Red Card Roy – Sex, Booze and Early Baths: The Life of Britain’s Wildest Footballer, published by Vision Sports Publishing, is released today, priced at £12.99.