Former Doncaster Rovers boss reveals how he was nearly killed by huge IRA bomb

Former Doncaster Rovers boss Grant McCann has revealed how he cheated death by seconds, after narrowly avoiding being killed by a huge IRA bomb.

Friday, 5th March 2021, 9:39 am
Former Doncaster Rovers boss Grant McCann.

McCann, now boss at Rovers’ League One rivals Hull City has told how he was passing the Europa Hotel in Belfast at the height of the Troubles – when a huge thousand pound bomb blast rocked the area just after he had passed, cheating death by seconds.

Known as the "most bombed hotel in the world", it suffered 36 bomb attacks during the conflict in Northern Ireland.

The then teenage McCann missed the Provisional IRA explosion by a matter of moments.

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He said: “In Northern Ireland back then it was part of the DNA, you were right in the thick of it.

“I was lucky not to get involved in it all.

“In the heartland of Belfast, it was tough times seeing all those things happen as you were growing up.

“It was difficult but part of life and you got used to it.

“We missed out on being killed by seconds. I was in a car driving back from the Glentoran v Linfield game.

“We came back over the Boyne Bridge and turned into our street – and then there was the explosion.

“It’s those memories that give you reasons why you want to bounce back from adversity.

“You want to do the best for yourself and your family.

“Sometimes you feel lucky to be here so adversity you must always fight.”

He said: “My family still live in the same house and it’s a lovely place now – quite a contrast from when I lived there when I was 15.

“I can’t believe how it has changed.

“There will always be some tension there but it’s not like it was.

“Back then you couldn’t walk through the city centre because you were so scared but in 2021 it’s a great multi-cultural city and everyone is living peacefully.”

McCann, 40, joined Rovers as manager in June 2018 and led them to the play-offs after finishing sixth in League One.

They lost to Charlton Athletic in a penalty shoot out and he left the club in acromonious circumstances a few weeks later after becoming Hull boss.