Just imagine Roy McDonough playing modern-day football, a sport in which hermaphrodite, Alice-band wearing ballerinas mince around with breathtaking grace and about as much masculinity.
Picture it, a team-mate lumps the ball forward, McDonough backs in, out flip the elbows and down goes the defender, not a mark on him but poleaxed as though he’s been clobbered in the boat race with a spade.
By his own admission Red Card Roy wouldn’t last a minute. “I wouldn’t even get through the warm up,” the veteran of 22 dismissals laments.
After all, in today’s football handbags are for dancing around, in McDonough’s day, which began in the mid-70s in Aston Villa’s youth set-up and took him to Birmingham City, on to Walsall and then on a tour of the lower leagues, they were for filling with anvils and swinging hard at an opponent.
Assuming, of course, a simple body-part, limb, joint or appendage wasn’t enough, which in McDonough’s case it usually was. More than.
Solihull-born McDonough, now aged 53 and living and selling property in Spain, has enshrined his scrapes with officialdom in a rip-roaring autobiography that goes some way to giving a disreputable genre some credibility.
Tag-lined ‘Sex, Booze and Early Baths, the life of Britain’s wildest ever footballer’ it’s so much more than a list of goals and sendings off, numerous though the latter are.
It is an intriguing insight into a life lived at breakneck speed around English football’s less glamorous outposts where bungs, beer and one-night stands are de rigeur.
There’s even an incident of attempted match-fixing when, in an important game at the end of the 1991-92 season, a Macclesfield player asked McDonough for £2,000 to allow his Colchester side to win.
McDonough is as brutal with his honesty as he was with central defenders and at times the narrator is a difficult man to like.
But that should not diminish the work as anything less than a rare window on a world supporters, and even journalists, are rarely allowed to see.
By the time he ended up at Colchester and Southend, where he spent virtually all of the 1980s, McDonough had basically subjugated his professional ambition and given free-rein to his hedonistic desires.
“I had been kicked in the b**** by the game I loved,” he recalls. “The game I had given my young life to succeed at and it had shafted me. I felt out of love with football and made a decision to enjoy myself,” he says.