It Was 10 Years Ago Today
Saturday, 6th Dec 2014 06:00
Unfortunately, however, he had also accepted the invitation of a trial elsewhere, which he felt duty-bound to attend and where he ultimately signed on the dotted line, despite then-Ipswich manager Joe Royle having been keen to add him to his squad.
The player? None other than current top scorer Daryl Murphy, who was won over by a certain Mick McCarthy, then in charge of Sunderland, who were on their way into the Premier League as the 2004/05 winners of what’s now the Championship.
At the time Murphy had won six caps for the Republic of Ireland U21 side and in the domestic campaign that had just ended he was on target 22 times for hometown club Waterford, which landed him both the PFAI Young Player of the Year award and his club's fans' Player of the Year gong.
He recalled: “I did quite well at Ipswich and they wanted to keep me for a bit longer but I felt I couldn’t let Sunderland down. So I went up there and I ended up being offered a contract by Mick, which was too good an opportunity not to take.”
It wasn’t Murphy’s first attempt to make the grade in England because he joined Luton at the age of 17, only for things not to work out as he had hoped.
He added: “I was a bit homesick and I ended up going back home to join Waterford. That’s where things took off for me again. But back then I could never have imagined how things would be going so well for me all these years later.
“When I went back from Luton my only thought was to start enjoying football again. That was the main thing and to have my family and friends around me.
“I did that over the three years I was there and I felt a bit more comfortable at the thought, if I did get the chance again, of coming back to England and making the most of it.
“I’d fallen out of love with football when I was at Luton but looking back I can see how that experience toughened me up and made me realise what I had to do if I was going to make it over here.”
But it seemed Murphy was always destined to play for Town at some stage of his career and he had three separate spells on loan from Sunderland and Celtic, during the Roy Keane and Paul Jewell eras, before being reunited with Mick when he took charge in November 2012.
Has Murphy seen much change in his manager over the last decade? He said: “I don’t think he’s as mad as he used to be. I remember how he used to hammer me in training after I’d signed for Sunderland.
“Over the years he has mellowed a little bit but I still get a rollicking when I deserve it. He’s been brilliant since he’s come in here and it just goes to show what a good manager can do with a good squad.”
Photo: Action Images
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