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Jimmy Murphy: The Heroic Savior of Manchester United

Published at :May 21, 2023 at 8:27 PM
Modified at :May 21, 2023 at 8:27 PM
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Dhruv Sharma

A legacy to last a lifetime

There's a saying, 'legends never die', and the story of Manchester United legend Jimmy Murphy is a testament to this truth. He was born on August 8th, 1910, in the Welsh town of Abercarn, Jimmy Murphy was a footballer, coach, and manager who left an incredible mark on the sport.

His football career began when he signed for Cardiff City in 1927 as an amateur; he made his professional debut in 1929. After making his debut, he went on to play for West Bromwich Albion, Manchester City, and Swansea Town. Murphy's playing career ended with a broken leg that he suffered in 1939, but his determination to stay connected with the sport he loved was admirable.

The man who saved Manchester United

After World War II, Murphy was appointed as the assistant manager (regarded as right hand) to Matt Busby at Manchester United and was called Murphy was called his "most important signing." The duo was capable enough to produce an attacking young team that was defined for success and most importantly they did not disappoint anyone.

The team of Murphy and Busby was known as "The Busby Babes", while they played Red Star Belgrade in the quarter-finals of the European Cup in the 1957-58 season, Murphy was taking Wales to the 1958 World Cup in Sweden.

The European tie against Red Star brought a devastating day that no Manchester United fan can ever forget; the Munich air disaster occurred just days before their second leg tie against Red Star. The news broke when a plane carrying the Manchester United football team crashed on takeoff at Munich-Riem airport in Germany. The disaster resulted in deaths of 23 people, including eight Manchester United players who were known as the "Busby Babes."

Murphy came from World Cup after the news broke out, learning Busby was admitted in hospital after the incident. Murphy took over as a caretaker manager and led the team to the FA Cup Final, under his leadership, they won the final 2-0 against Bolton Wanderers. This victory lifted the spirits of the city still recovering from the tragedy.

Jimmy Murphy Manchester United
The dynamic duo of Murphy and Busby ultimately led United to European Cup glory in 1968

When Bubsy returned, the dynamic duo ultimately led United to European Cup glory in 1968, ending an emotional decade long journey for all the fans, players, and managers. Eight of the players in the squad who won the European Cup were schooled by Jimmy.

Ultimately in 1989, he passed away at the age of 79; but he, his sacrifices are not forgotten at the club. His presence and values are still seen today, with the Jimmy Murphy Centre at Carrington and the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year Award which Garnacho won last year. On 3rd May, 2023 a statue of Jimmy was unveiled by his family at the Old Trafford marking his time at Manchester United which will forever be "his home."