Brief Encounters… Danny Murphy at Blackburn Rovers
After only one season at Blackburn Rovers, Danny Murphy left Ewood Park as a very unpopular man. Greg Henderson explains why…
“You get managers who are sending their teams out to stop other sides playing, which is happening more and more – teams like Stoke, Blackburn, Wolves. They can say it’s effective and they have to win games but the fact is their players are so pumped up, there is inevitably going to be problems.”
This is a quote from Danny Murphy in 2010. A quote in which he actually named teams who he thought weren’t even attempting to play football anymore. It was a dig at the style of football teams who are trying to survive play. Right or wrong, he gave his opinion.
Fast forward two years, he decided to join one of those clubs.
One thing Murphy didn’t bank on before signing a contract was the fact that the fans hadn’t forgotten those comments
Venky’s had quickly dug their claws in at Blackburn, and angered many fans in the process. After taking advice from dubious agents, they now had Danny Murphy on their books. A man who had openly criticised the club.
One thing Murphy didn’t bank on before signing a contract was the fact that the fans hadn’t forgotten those comments. Venky’s were well into pulling the club apart at this point and this move added further malice in the crowds.
Most fans would agree in the fact that they cannot blame a player who joins a club they had always admired. In general, fans respect that. Alan Shearer eventually went home to Newcastle, and Cristiano Ronaldo joined Real Madrid, a club he supported since childhood.
Murphy at Blackburn seemed the opposite.
Something seemed off from the outset
A 35-year-old moving from the Premier League to a team that he previously criticised, who had new owners with an open chequebook and irresponsible advisers. Something seemed off from the outset. Several months later he was reunited with his former midfield partner when Blackburn signed Dickson Etuhu.
Murphy played a season at Blackburn after a career that included a treble win of League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup at the start of the century. Murphy was not short of medals, and it appeared very unlikely he would win one with Blackburn.
The confused owners at Blackburn, who laughingly promised the signings of Ronaldinho and David Beckham, had simply panicked in their search for a star signing. They threw £35,000 a week at a 35-year-old, with little left to offer.
One goal in 33 games
Murphy played in 33 games that season, scoring only one goal – a converted penalty in a 2-2 draw against Huddersfield Town. He was often jeered by his own fans as many were angered at his defence of the most unlikely of Premier League managers, Steve Kean. Strangely, three managers came and went in the short time that Murphy was at Blackburn.
A clearance at the end of the 2013 season saw Murphy released from a sinking ship after adding his own weight to it. His high salary was finally off the books. After leaving Blackburn in 2013, Murphy has since worked as a pundit on the BBC.
It was the final season of a prosperous career. It was one to forget for both Murphy and Blackburn fans alike. It seemed like a case of good riddance for both parties involved.
Greg is a lifelong Blackburn Rovers fan, even though the toughest times are bordering on ridiculous. After marrying into a French family, he had to learn fast the ways of Ligue 1. Constantly trying to convince everyone that there are 5 big European leagues, not 4.