Under the Microscope with Paul McGuinness

As the son of former Busby Babe, Wilf McGuinness, Paul has had football ingrained into him from a very early age. He has gone on to become incredibly successful in his football career and today he gives us an insight into one of his current projects with The FA, called Under the Microscope.

Has it always been football that you had an interest in from childhood? Or were there other sports too?
I was interested in every sport and I ended up doing a PE and Sports Science degree at Loughborough University but, ultimately, it was mainly football. My dad played for Man Utd and he was a Busby Babe and won the league too.

He also played for England, but after breaking his leg, he then became England Youth Coach when he was 25 and was made Man Utd manager at 31 years old. So yeah, although I was steeped in football, I loved all other sports and the impact my dad had on me in that respect was obviously huge.

When did you first realise you had an interest in coaching?
Again, with my dad, I wanted to be a player and play for Man Utd like him. It started when I was a 4 year old, kicking a ball in the garden. And he bent the ball towards me and I said: “How did you do that?” And he replied: “You hit it on the outside and swing your leg round it.” From then on I was captivated in kicking a ball against a wall, playing Wembley pairs & Wembley singles all the way through as a kid, wanting to be a player. 

But I also went to work with my dad a lot during the holidays. I would go to games and training and when he was at York City, I was playing with the apprentices at 12 years old. At 14 years old, I was playing with the reserves, and at 16 years old, I would go to all the clubs he was at and join in with the first team. 

I would also go with him to scout games, so straight away that was giving me an insight into not only being a player but also being a coach. He would tell me stories about a great coach at Man Utd during the Busby Babes era. Sir Matt Busby was the manager and he had the vision of it all. But Jimmy Murphy was the one that coached them when they were kids. He was an unbelievable character and my dad would tell me stories about him and from then on, I knew I wanted to be a coach.
I knew I loved football but my mum always said I need to do something else along with it. My PE teacher in school was a guy called Pete Bibby, who was also the Volleyball coach for Great Britain in the Olympics and he used to come into school with this blazer that had the Olympic badge on, and this guy was a god to me. Every PE lesson, we had competitions in every sport and for me it was like paradise. Pete Bibby was one of my role models at school and a reason that inspired me to go on to do my degree at Loughborough University as well.

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