Jimmy Murphy statue unveiled

Wednesday 03 May 2023 19:00

Manchester United today unveiled a statue in honour of Jimmy Murphy at an event celebrating his extraordinary contribution to the club.

The ceremony took place on the 65th anniversary of Jimmy leading the club to the FA Cup final against Bolton Wanderers in 1958, three months after the Munich Air Disaster, in which 23 people, including eight players, lost their lives.

Murphy missed the fateful trip because he was coaching Wales on the path to their first appearance in a World Cup finals. In the aftermath of Munich, he helped steer Manchester United through its darkest days as Sir Matt Busby fought to recover from his injuries in hospital.

Today’s ceremony was held at the Stretford End of Old Trafford and was attended by more than a thousand fans, members of the Murphy family, senior club leaders, the sculptor Alan Heriot, and members from the 1968 European Cup winning side which Jimmy coached together with Sir Matt. The crowd also heard a special message sent from Sir Alex Ferguson.
The statue joins those of Sir Matt Busby, Sir Alex Ferguson and the Unity Trinity of George Best, Bobby Charlton and Denis Law at Old Trafford. It was proposed by a coalition of fan groups, who championed the case for Jimmy to be recognised along with those other legends outside the Theatre of Dreams.

“We listened and agreed with them,” said Richard Arnold, Manchester United chief executive, in a speech before the unveiling. “It is wonderfully fitting that the statue stands at the Stretford End of Old Trafford, overlooking the old ash-cinder pitches where Jimmy would train the Babes. A special place, on a special day, for a special person in Manchester United’s history.”
Jimmy’s son, Jim Jnr, spoke on behalf of the Murphy family, saying: “This is an extremely proud moment for all the family. We have always cherished our father's contribution to Manchester United, but this wonderful statue is further confirmation of his remarkable legacy at Old Trafford.

“We thank everyone involved at Manchester United for this great tribute and I know that, like us, Dad would have been touched to see so many people here celebrating his 43 years at the club.

“Dad always said that if he could stay at Old Trafford he would – that has come true today.”

Erik: Recognition for Murphy is 'fantastic'


Ten Hag knows and appreciates the contribution of Jimmy, as the club prepares to unveil his statue.

Award-winning sculptor Alan Herriot, who was commissioned by the club and the fan coalition in March 2022, said: “As a lifelong Manchester United fan this was a dream job for me. In my time working on the statue, I got to know Jimmy's family and the fans incredibly well. They assisted me at every stage in the creation of what you see at Old Trafford today.

“I thank them and hope I have done them and their father's memory proud.”

To conclude the ceremony, Manchester poet and lifelong United fan, Tony Walsh, performed a specially composed work titled ‘Jimmy Murphy Without Whom,' celebrating Jimmy’s life with the club, which he joined in 1946. He was still a part-time scout until his death in 1989.


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