Murphy statue planned for Old Trafford

Friday 28 May 2021 17:00

Manchester United has agreed to work with fan groups to explore options for a statue of Jimmy Murphy at Old Trafford.

Jimmy played a crucial role in the club’s history as a coach and later assistant manager to Sir Matt Busby between 1946 and 1971.

The Welshman was integral in the development of the Busby Babes, including Sir Bobby Charlton and Duncan Edwards, and in the club’s recovery from the Munich Air Disaster.

The proposal for a statue of Murphy was presented to the club by a coalition of United Supporters’ groups led by the Manchester Munich Memorial Foundation.
Jimmy Murphy celebrates with Sir Bobby Charlton, Sir Matt Busby and Jack Crompton.
The club agreed that Murphy’s critical contribution to the rebuilding of United after Munich makes him worthy of a permanent tribute at Old Trafford.

Representatives of supporters’ groups seeking recognition for Murphy met with senior club officials and a member of the Murphy family this week to discuss their proposal. 

Various potential locations for a statue were floated and it was agreed that work would now proceed to explore the options in more detail, in consultation with fans.

Once completed, it would add to existing statues of Sir Matt Busby, Sir Alex Ferguson, and the “United Trinity” of Sir Bobby Charlton, George Best and Denis Law, outside Old Trafford.
Pat Burns, Chairman of the Manchester Munich Memorial Foundation, said: “The family of Jimmy Murphy are overjoyed with this outcome and, as Reds, we should all be pleased that Jimmy will finally have due recognition at his spiritual home.

“On behalf of the coalition and the family, I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to everyone at Manchester United for agreeing to make this a reality.”

Collette Roche, Manchester United Chief Operating Officer, said: “As a club, we will always be indebted to Jimmy for the critical role he played in the aftermath of the Munich Air Disaster. He was an indispensable ally of Sir Matt’s from the flowering of the Busby Babes to our first European Cup win in 1968 and beyond. 

“We are looking forward to working with fan groups to agree a suitable tribute to Jimmy outside the ground that was his second home.”

The other groups backing the proposed statue are the Association of Former Manchester United Players (AFMUP), the Duncan Edwards Foundation, Big Lily, The Red Army, and Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST).
Murphy took charge of the United team in 1958 while Busby recovered from the Munich Air Disaster.
Due to his dual role at the time as manager of the Wales national team, Murphy was not on the fateful flight which killed eight members of the United team on their way back from a European Cup tie in Belgrade on 6 February 1958.

With Sir Matt badly injured, Murphy took charge of the team after the crash and led them out Wembley for the 1958 FA Cup Final against Bolton Wanderers.

He remained at Sir Matt’s side as the club rebuilt towards one of its greatest eras, culminating in the 4-1 victory over Benfica in the 1968 European Cup Final.

“No-one outside the club will ever know how important he was to our success,” said Sir Matt, when Murphy died in 1989. “Jimmy and I worked together to bring greatness to Manchester United. He was my first and most important signing.”