Home » Who was Jimmy Murphy, the man whose statue was unveiled at Old Trafford yesterday?

Who was Jimmy Murphy, the man whose statue was unveiled at Old Trafford yesterday?

by Red Billy

A new statue was unveiled at Old Trafford yesterday, but it was not of a player or manager whose name everyone knows, like Sir Alex Ferguson or George Best.

It was long-overdue recognition of one of the previously unsung heroes of the club, Jimmy Murphy.

Murphy heroically took control of United when Sir Matt Busby was hospitalised after the Munich air disaster in 1958 and steered the club through the most difficult time in its history, incredibly guiding the makeshift young side to the FA Cup final that same year. When Sir Matt returned, Murphy continued as his assistant until his retirement in 1971.

Murphy was not on the plane on that fateful day because he was also taking charge of the Wales national side that qualified for its only ever World Cup until 2022.

Murphy also managed the reserve and youth teams and was chief scout during that time. His passion for, and commitment to bringing youth through was a big factor in why that has become enshrined in United’s DNA.

It was for that reason that Murphy, who died in 1989, gave his name to the club’s young player of the year award. A building at Carrington is also named after him, “the Jimmy Murphy Centre”.

Brian Kidd, who along with Alex Stepney unveiled the statue, said (via The MEN) “Him and Sir Matt was a wonderful pairing and it was synonymous with the kids and the youth team.

“If we were in the Youth Cup, they’d be down at the Cliff as we were preparing, going through little bits and everything. It was always there. It wasn’t cosmetic with them, there was a real belief.

“There was a belief and a love with the youth, with the kids.”

According to The Athletic, “all but three of the players who beat Benfica in the 1968 European Cup final, with Busby back at the helm, came through Murphy’s school of excellence.”

Murphy continued as scout even up until the Tommy Docherty era of 1972-1977, unearthing talents such as Steve Coppell and Gordon Hill.

The outlet also notes that every member of United’s current youth team were present at the unveiling, a fantastic tribute to the man whose worked paved the way for one of the greatest academies in world football.

Sir Alex Ferguson joined the unveiling ceremony by video.

The Athletic notes that Sir Alex once said “When you come out of that dressing room and you are representing Manchester United, you are taking some of Jimmy Murphy’s mindset with you.

“Planting the seed of what that man did, telling them what that man did, is the biggest thing you can tell a young player representing Manchester United.”

The outlet also quotes Sir Bobby Charlton as acknowledging once that Murphy was “the greatest teacher of football I would know”.

Current boss Erik ten Hag also spoke of Murphy’s legacy at a press conference yesterday, saying:

“He stands for more symbols: a symbol of youth, youth development, he stands for resilience and determination and they are the standards for Manchester United.

“After Munich, a manager, many players fell away, the club was devastated and they bounced back and this person played the main role.

“It’s totally deserved he gets an honour for this.”

Murphy’s son Jimmy Jr spoke at the unveiling and said “”My brother Nick said it. If there’d have been a bed down here, dad would’ve stayed here. Now he’s got somewhere to sleep.”

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