Player from the past

Paul Osam (born December 20, 1967 in Dublin) is a former professional football (soccer) player. He currently coaches with St Patrick's Athletic FC and works as a football pundit with TV3.
Osam started his League of Ireland career in 1988 when he was signed by Brian Kerr for St Patrick's Athletic from junior side Mount Merrion. He struggled to make an impact during his first season but in 1989/90 he was dubbed the "Black Pearl of Inchicore Mark III" (Former St. Pats players and Black Irish pioneers Paul McGrath and Curtis Fleming were I and II respectively). His goal for St Pats away to the then champions Derry City FC is said to have been the turning point of that season and the Saints went on to win their first league title since 1956, with Osam playing an influential role as a left winger despite his six foot four frame.
After the league win, St. Pats hit serious financial difficulties, struggled in the league and eventually resigned themselves to losing all their star players. Osam stayed longer than most but in 1993, he signed for Dublin rivals Shamrock Rovers. Again his influence was felt immediately and Rovers won their first league in a decade. Towards the end of the season Osam suffered a cruciate knee injury and missed the last 8 games. The treatment he received from the board of Shamrock Rovers led to Osam leaving after just one season after 2 goals in 21 appearances. (Later Brian Kerr would call this Osam's "year of purgatory".) He was close to signing for Derry City but due to the injury he missed the entire 1994/95 season.
In 1995 Brian Kerr once again signed Osam for St Pats. He played in central midfield and, along with Eddie Gormley and Noel Mernagh, was the driving force behind another league title. With the disruption caused by Brian Kerr leaving to take charge of the Irish underage teams, the 1996/97 was out of reach for St. Pats. However under the management of Pat Dolan and then Liam Buckley, St. Pats won the title again in 1997/98 and 1998/99, meaning Osam had won 5 league titles in 10 years. His performances in 1999/99 saw Osam win the player of the year awards from all awarding bodies, the PFAI (Players vote}, the SWAI (journalists vote) and the Football Association of Ireland. He is the only player to have won all 3 awards simultaneously. Such was Osam's popularity that he became the first League of Ireland player to star in a nationwide advertising campaign when he became spokesman for WeightWatchers in Ireland.
After some quiet years for St. Pats, Osam captained the side to the League Cup in 2001. Season 2001/02 saw St. Pats once again finished top of the league. However the FAI deducted Pats 15 points for fielding an unregistered player, Paul Marney. Despite Pats' protests that there was no intention to cheat (Marney had been registered the season before) and a report from the FAI saying that there were numerous other minor errors in other clubs' players' registrations, the league was awarded to bitter rivals Shelbourne FC. After a period of negotiations, the FAI awarded the St. Pats players league medals. The club still claims that they are the rightful league winners in 2002. In April of that year, Osam was awarded a testimonial by St. Pats. Former player Paul McGrath played for the first time in years to show the esteem Paul is held with in Irish football.
Under new manager Eamon Collins, Osam captained St. Pats to win another league cup in 2003 and they reached the final of the FAI Cup final later that season. However St. Pats lost and the FAI Cup eluded Osam again. When he retired from football in 2004, he had won every honour in Irish football bar the FAI Cup.
Throughout his career, Osam was heavily pushed for inclusion in the Irish national side. However as neither Jack Charlton nor Mick McCarthy capped any player from the League of Ireland during their tenure, Paul had to contend himself with captaining the LOI select side on many occasions.
After his retirement St. Pats vowed to keep Osam on the staff and he is currently manager of the club's Under 21 side. He combines this with his media work for TV3.