Former Manchester United manager Tommy Docherty says that he feels the contribution of Jimmy Murphy to the club is still not appreciated as much as it should be.
When Docherty took over at Old Trafford in 1972 one of his first acts was to properly re-engage Murphy and gave him the responsibility of scouting for young talent. The Welshman had retired after a remarkable career working alongside Sir Matt Busby but agreed to return to work in return solely for expenses – and more than paid back every penny of that with his finds.
“God rest his soul, I still do not think that Jimmy gets the credit he deserves for what he did for Manchester United. Nowhere near,” insists Docherty, on the day of what would have been Murphy’s 104th birthday. “He was nothing short of a miracle worker and I think it’s a huge shame that isn’t given the attention it should.”
The miracle that Tommy refers to was Murphy’s part in the rebuilding process after the Munich Air Disaster of 1958 – it was Murphy who kept the club running while Sir Matt Busby recovered, and he who fought with the FA to ensure the club wasn’t closed.
Murphy’s role with developing young players is what is more widely recognised and renowned and Docherty insisted that that ability was utilised for the club for as long as possible. As always, Murphy proved his value. “He was hugely important for us in the recruitment of some players, most notably Stevie Coppell and Gordon Hill,” remembers Docherty. “Jimmy said he could not be more certain of those two and I trusted him so much that I didn’t even need to watch them to commit to signing them. And, as he usually was, he was dead right of course.”
Docherty was speaking exclusively to TalkOfTheDevils.com.