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.