Danny Murphy leaves Fulham

The thing here is that Danny Murphy was making important contributions to Fulham matches last season. It is well established that time waits for no man, but time has not yet left Danny Murphy behind – he could still do his thing, and indeed was doing his thing as the season ran out in May.

I’m not going to do an “and then Murphy did this, then that, then this…” retrospective of his time at Fulham – you know all that stuff – but in simple terms we were bad before he arrived and good when he became established in the team.  And just as Murphy needed Roy Hodgson to get his career back on track, it wasn’t all one way traffic and I’m sure Hodgson was very grateful to have inherited Murphy as he did.

So yes, a bit too disappointed to write much. Credit to the club, I suppose, for being ruthless and making these difficult decisions when they feel the time is right to do so, but as a fan you always have a few things you pay particular attention to when you’re at the ground, and for me one of those things is always Danny Murphy, who is constantly fidgeting about the place, waving his arms and generally keeping busy.

Top five Danny Murphy memories, then:

5) That goal against Manchester United when he disposessed Scholes, gave the goalkeeper the eyes and passed the ball into the net from about 25 yards.  It encapsulated the man’s genius and his all-round game perfectly: the awareness to make the tackle, the audacity to try something different, the skill to pull if off.

4) The Man City away relegation avoidance passes, when he tried to sent Diomansy Kamara through, only for Elano (I think) to cut off the pass at the last moment. Then as time was running out Murphy got his angles perfectly correct, Kamara was in, Kamara scored, and Fulham lived on.

3) Some post-match interview or other last season. Clint Dempsey dead-batted a question about why he’d had such a good season, at which Murphy interjected on his team-mate’s behalf to explain how hard he’d worked to get to where he was. Murphy, like Roy Hodgson, was a fantastic ambassador for Fulham. He said the right thing the right way.

2) The Hamburg Through-ball, in which Murphy set Simon Davies free, Davies scored, and once more Fulham were on their way to something big. Davies had a lot to do to get that into the net but those over the top through balls don’t grow on trees, and Murphy had the vision and technique to spot runners and give them something to work with. That pass in that situation stick in the memory most. Wow.

1) Of course, that header against Portsmouth. One of the most extraoardinary days, a thrilling, nerve-shredding afternoon in the south coast sunshine. Danny heads it in, everyone looks at the linesman, the flag stays down, Fulham are staying up! People will talk about this for as long as there is a Fulham Football Club.

We have some fabulous memories from the last few years and Danny was key to just about all of them. We’ll miss what he did for us, but also we’ll miss how he did it.

Richard Allen founded this website in 2006. He saw just about every game Danny Murphy played for Fulham and doesn’t expect to see a player like that for a while.

12 thoughts on “Danny Murphy leaves Fulham

  1. I am disappointed. I do not begrudge him wanting to play every minute of every game. But from a selfish point of view I was hoping to become the Giggs/Scholes kind of player who is happy to not be the main man any more and play part roles as they get older to extend their career. I am worried that he will start to get plagued by injuries and miss a lot of football pushing himself.

    I thought he would start to play less, but take on a larger coaching/mentoring type role.

    But every person has his own priorities – maybe he just can’t see the point of sitting on the bench when he can play football, no matter what the grade. And and extra year on a contract is probably worth about 2mil to him!

  2. I love this man. I can only assume this was about minimum appearances and nothing more, he wanted a guarantee that wasn’t there. The truth is we were an awful team without him and a much better team and at our best with him / when he played well. Probably the best Fulham player this 31 year old has ever seen :)

    1. Double that age, I basically agree — that he is in top rank of players in my time, at which level it’s daft to compare the best oranges with the best apples.

      By the time I watched Haynes regularly (1965) he wasn’t as good as Murphy is now, albeit doubtless would have been with equivalent teammates and fitness/training resource. More to the topical point, Haynes didn’t particularly benefit by dropping a division in 1968. So I really hope Danny does, but it’s not a given. One has to be relieved and grateful he’s not just moved down the road. One has to agree with Rich that he was still well worth his place. Maybe best to part on that note.

  3. Undoubtedly one of Fulham’s greatest ever players. Represented Fulham’s turnaround from relegation perennials to a mid table and European premier league outfit. A tremendous ambassador for the club and a true leader.

    His decision to go down a league and the noises coming from his wife indicate that this is purely about playing time. This is understandable, even if as said above, I would love to have seen him play a Giggs/Scholes role for the next few years.

    The positive of this is that he will be bowing out at the top. We wont have to experience that awkward season where everyone realises that it is time to move on.

    As for favourite moment – you have listed most of the best ones. I would add two instances this season involving Nunez and Suarez, where he had what looked like a ‘godfather’ word in their ears as they lay on the turf:

  4. I think he may be my favourite Fulham player of all time and it would have been nice for him to continue longer (indeed for ever) but the team needs to learn to play without him and now they’ll have to.

    My optimistic take on this and other departures is that there should be some exciting arrivals. Another upside must be encouragement to younger players including Stockdale. He now knows that Jol won’t stick with Schwarzer longer than deemed necessary.

    I think that Murphy and Jol have acted like adults. They’ve been honest with each other as to their expectations and agreed to part company. Diarra clearly is a high grade replacement and at Prem level senior players don’t coach the first team.

    Jol’s been brave though. There’ll be hell to play if the team regresses and a few months coaching experience might well make Murphy an attractive replacement.

  5. There is a glut at central midfield, so I’m not surprised he left. But, this bittersweet feeling is, I suppose, how Cardinals’ fans felt when Pujols left them this winter. A bedrock is gone.

    A bit unsure a move to Blackburn is the right move (can his body handle the rigors of the Championship??) for him, but good for Blackburn (they’ll need the guidance). I just don’t hope he disappears into oblivion like many other midfielders of his ilk that drop down a division in search of PT.

  6. My view is that this has more to do with coaching, beyond a playing role in 2012/13.
    The Jol / Dutch lock out here probably prohibited this, but don’t discount a return to CC at some future date. I doubt he will move his family up to the north West, despite ties there. Will keep an eye out for them on my morning run through Kingswood!

  7. Agree with all the plaudits above. I can understand why this has happened but these things still give me the jitters. Yes, we’ll get someone new in but as we don’t yet know who it’s a worry.

    The biggest mystery to me his how he suffered such a mid-career dip at Charlton. What were they (Curbishley) thinking?

  8. Nice summary, Rich. I’ll always remember that post match quote from Mick McCarthy, I believe, where he was lamenting why his team let Murphy “sit in an easy chair and pick them apart like that.”. And when Murphy was on his game, that’s what it looked like to me. Never flustered, always a clean touch before making that perfect pass.

    It was clear that he’s been in decline the last season or two, but I’m still gonna miss watching him in a Fulham shirt. Here’s hoping that when he does decide to hang up his boots that Fulham will organize a testimonial match at the Cottage for him. He means that much to the club.

  9. I didn’t think he declined at all in the last season or two and feel sure he would have had a part to play for the next couple, but it’s not to be.

    I heard his house in Kingswood was for sale a couple of months and it’s always worrying when the season ends with key players out of contract so it wasn’t entirely surprising and better Blackburn than QPR!

    A pleasure to watch a CC, here’s hoping we draw Blackburn at home in the Carling Cup so we can give him a proper send-off.

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