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 and describes him as a ‘miracle’ worker’.
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 been effectively sidelined by the club and forced to retire 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,” Docherty insisted in an interview for the forthcoming officially authorised biography of the Welshman, tentatively titled Jimmy. “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 ahead of the 107th anniversary of Jimmy’s birthday on Tuesday, 8th August, we decided to revisit the interview conducted with Docherty for the biography to share the comments first heard back in 2014.
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.”
Jimmy’s role in the Hill signing was even more complex than that; as it turned out, as most things did at United, it had his fingerprints and involvement all over it, and not for the first time, or the last, Jimmy’s personality was to have a profound influence on the future of the club.
Information on the forthcoming release of Jimmy will follow.