When Alex Ferguson came to Dublin in a quest to sign Mark Kinsella

Ex-Ireland midfielder talks to Newstalk's Team 33 in the first of a two part career interview

BY Raf Diallo 14:12 Wednesday 15 March 2017, 14:12 15 Mar 2017

Mark Kinsella ©INPHO/Patrick Bolger

During his time at club level, former Ireland midfielder Mark Kinsella went from the lower reaches with Colchester United to Premier League promotion with Charlton Athletic and then a spell at Aston Villa.

Manchester United's youth ranks almost ended up as a potential destination towards the end of the '80s as the Drogheda United coach explained in the first half of a long-form two-part interview with us on Newstalk's Team 33.

Indeed, Alex Ferguson came to Dublin to meet Kinsella's family with a view to a move. 

You can listen to the full interview with Mark on the podcast player below or on iTunes. The first part includes his childhood, moving to Colchester in 1989, the Charlton experience and his Ireland career up to just before the 2002 World Cup. Next Tuesday, we'll be putting out Part 2 which includes the World Cup, Aston Villa and the ups and downs of going into coaching.

The 44 year old had begun his football development at Home Farm but like many Irish youngsters, had also gone on trial at English clubs.

"I think I was the last one from our group to actually to leave [for England]," he told us.

"They all started moving on and I was left."

But there was interest from English clubs and one manager who would go on to attain legend status at Manchester United came to see the Kinsella family in Dublin with a view to signing the young midfielder who in his teens started out as a right winger.

"Alex Ferguson came round and had coffee during a lunch break. When I popped over for lunch, I was told to get out," Kinsella recalled. 

Mark Kinsella recalls his rollercoaster transfer to Charlton

"He came round to speak to my Mum and Dad when I was 16 around '88. He wanted me over there [at Manchester United]. I'd been over there for trials and he wanted me to go over there on a scholarship.

"I think he mentioned £23 a week to my mother and father and they went 'No, he's not leaving school for that. He's going to do his education.

"I think I got his autograph, I said hello to him and then I was told to go back to school."

In the end, he went to what is now League Two at Colchester United, who would then get relegated from the Football League not long after he arrived.

"When the scout came over, my Dad said 'You're signing for United'. And I said, 'At last'... Then he said 'Colchester United,'" he added.

And not going to Man United and fighting his way from non-league to the Premier League is something he told us stood him in good stead.  


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