Murphy statue to be unveiled next May
A statue of Manchester United legend Jimmy Murphy will be unveiled outside the Stretford End at Old Trafford on 3 May 2023 - 65 years to the day since he led the Reds to the FA Cup final at Wembley.
The club announced in May 2021 that it was planning a statue to celebrate Jimmy’s immense contribution at Old Trafford after discussions with a coalition of United supporters and the Murphy family.
The coalition, led by Pat Burns, chair of the Manchester Munich Memorial Foundation, representatives of the Murphy family and the club, visited Edinburgh in November to check on the progress of the statue, which is being created by sculptor Alan Herriot.
Herriot was appointed to design and develop the statue after consultation between the club and the fan coalition.
Herriot, a lifelong Manchester United supporter, recently produced the impressive statue of club legend Denis Law, which now stands in Aberdeen.
Collette Roche, chief operating officer of Manchester United, said: “Jimmy Murphy was one of the most important figures in the history of this great club. He was not only Sir Matt Busby’s chief coach and then assistant for 25 years, but, perhaps most importantly, led us out of the darkest period in our history.
“In those terrible days after the Munich tragedy, Jimmy was the man who held this club together and built a team that reached the FA Cup final. No matter the result, it was a remarkable achievement to even be at Wembley – something that, on 6 February 1958, seemed inconceivable.
“It is fitting that this wonderful statue should be unveiled on 3 May, the date of that final against Bolton Wanderers and at the Stretford End, overlooking the land where Jimmy used to train the Busby Babes. It will 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.”
Burns said: “I was moved when saw the statue and there is no doubt that Alan has done a fantastic job in capturing the passion and image of one of the backroom legends at Old Trafford. I know the Murphy family, who joined us on the trip to Scotland, were also hugely impressed with the progress.
“It will be a special occasion on 3 May when we finally unveil the statue marking Jimmy’s extraordinary contribution to United at the most tragic time in this club’s history.”
Jimmy, who also coached Wales on their only other appearance at a World Cup, in Sweden in 1958, played a crucial role as a coach and later assistant manager to Busby between 1946 and 1971.
The Welshman was integral in the development of the Busby Babes, including Sir Bobby Charlton and Duncan Edwards, and was crucial in the club’s recovery after the Munich Air Disaster. The club agreed that Murphy’s important contribution to the rebuilding of United after Munich deserved a permanent tribute at Old Trafford.
Various potential locations for the statue were suggested but it was agreed, following consultation, that the tribute will be situated outside the Stretford End, close to the area where Jimmy used to coach the Busby Babes on a training pitch made of ash cinders.
As we come close to the completion of the statue, the club would like to place on record, once again, its thanks to the family of Jimmy and the coalition of United supporters’ groups who have helped develop this important project.
More information regarding how to attend and be part of this important moment in the club’s history will be available soon.