Hull City's Paul McShane is no longer 'fighting the world' and feels a wanted man again at Tigers
ASK Paul McShane for his thoughts on Hull City's most popular terrace anthem of 2013 and a broad grin breaks out across his face.
"The riot one?" he asks. "Yeah, yeah I really enjoy that. It's brilliant."
To the uninitiated reader a new ditty has been born sung to the tune of Billy Ray Cyrus' dubious 1992 hit "Achy Breaky Heart."
In it, City fans plead not "to sell McShane, super Paul McShane" otherwise manager Steve Bruce will "have a flipping (edit) riot" on his hands. Sung over and again, it forcefully enters the mind and plays on loop.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
"It's really appreciated," he laughs. "I heard a little bit of it, but then in the Peterborough game last month it went on and on for a good while.
"The fans have been outstanding with me. The last couple of years had me down as the forgotten man, but thankfully this season they've really taken to me."
McShane, it seems, can do no wrong at present.
In Tuesday's 2-1 win over Derby, he again topped a supporters' poll for man of the match. The honour has been bestowed upon him in six of his last eight starts at the KC Stadium.
Throw in the Cash Converters Player of the Month prize for January announced this week, the second award of its kind this season, and McShane's popularity is confirmed.
So, what's his secret?
"Who knows?" he said. "I'll always go out there and give it my all. I can always look in the mirror and say I've given it my best shot. Fans probably appreciate that. They're passionate people and want to see passion in the players. That's something that comes naturally to me."
The playful threat of a "riot" from supporters is a fitting tribute to a self-confessed scrapper.
Bruce last week suggested McShane has spent recent years "fighting the world" from the City wilderness. Both Nigel Pearson and Nick Barmby washed their hands of the defender and his City career hung by a thread.
Bruce was the man to offer a shot at redemption this summer and now, after 22 appearances in a heartening campaign, McShane has been assured he will be offered an extension beyond his contract expiry date in June.
"The last couple of years have obviously been frustrating and if I was fighting the world it was because I thought I had to," he said.
"No one was giving me a chance here and no one was even saying my name. I was the forgotten man and that hurt.
"Sometimes I had the right to fight people but now I feel good about things. It's part of growing up.
"You learn from your experiences and now I'm a bit more calm. I'm not sure all of the lads would say that, but I know when to be quiet now."
McShane is no stranger to a dust-up. "There's been too many to count," he says. Pearson was the subject of a "big run-in" during his time as City boss in February 2011 when McShane was bundled out of favour and shipped out on loan to Barnsley.
"I felt injustice and I didn't want to sit back and let it happen," explained the defender.
The most high profile figure to incur McShane's wrath, though, was Sir Alex Ferguson in 2006.
Having first joined Manchester United as a 16-year-old, the defender soon grew impatient when his progress up through the Old Trafford ranks met insurmountable objects.
A successful season-long loan with Brighton had sharpened McShane's appetite for senior football and he was unwilling to stick around where he did not feel wanted.
"There was a lot of competition and Ferguson was probably looking at Jonny Evans (still with United) and Gerard Pique (the Barcelona centre-back) below me," he explained.
"I got that. Your sixth sense picks up those things. I had a year left on my contract at Man United and I went in to see Sir Alex Ferguson. I ended up handing in a transfer request to go. They were interesting times."
There's that laugh again. Hindsight ensures McShane can see the absurdity of a 20-year-old upstart strolling into Ferguson's office and demanding to leave the biggest club in English football.
"There's a lot of stories go around about me in those meetings," he chuckles. "There's one when I supposedly offered Gerard Pique out for a race in the car park because Ferguson had said he was quicker than me. These stories have a habit of growing arms and legs but I was desperate to play.
"I'd seen people at Man United coming back from loans and rotting away in the reserves after playing senior football. My only aim was improving all the time so I felt as though I had to do it."
A move to West Brom was subsequently granted to McShane in the summer of 2006 before he joined Sunderland a year later. An initial loan to join City was followed up with a permanent transfer in August 2009.
Six and a half years have passed since McShane opted to leave Old Trafford yet he continues to credit his time in Ferguson's "empire" as a huge influence.
Manchester United taught him to seek success at any cost. The boy from Kilpedder, a rural village in County Wicklow, had fought the odds to win a YTS deal from within the scouting "cattle markets" of Ireland and soon helped United claim the FA Youth Cup in 2003 – his first year in England.
In the same age group were Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Chris Eagles and Jonathan Spector. A year above there was Kieran Richardson and Danny Simpson. All, including McShane, went on to play Premier League football and that remains the very same aim with City.
"People will say you've got to want it but I reckon I wanted it too much," said McShane, ahead of this afternoon's home game with Charlton.
"I wanted to succeed yesterday. I've probably matured and ready to go with the flow a bit more now but the Premier League is where every single player would love to be.
"We've given ourselves a great chance here. We've had a sticky patch but hopefully we've come through that now."
The very same sentiment goes for McShane. That chant tells you as much.