We’ve tried hard enough to send him on his way. Daryl Murphy clearly plays no part in Steve Bruce’s thinking when it comes to Sunderland’s future. But whatever the shortcomings of the Scottish Premier League, a move to Celtic for the 27-year-old, 6ft 3in Irishman would confound those who see him as no better than a Championship player …
If Daryl Murphy’s rumoured move to Celtic happens, the unfashionable, possibly minority view – or, at least, the view of the part of Salut! Sunderland writing this – would be to wish him well and acknowledge the positive aspects of his SAFC legacy.
The relief when Murphy went on loan to Ipswich last season was mutual. Most Sunderland supporters felt he was not right for our team, or perhaps for the Premier League at all, and he desperately needed a new challenge.
Most fans recall his poorer games for us, though in reality many of these were when he came on as a substitute and/or played out of position.
Yet they – we (since I have been critical too)- should surely be fair enough to remember that Murphy also did good things for Sunderland AFC.
That goal against Wigan when he latched onto Andy Reid’s glorious crossfield pass to charge towards goal and unleash an unstoppable shot. A goal of the month on Match of the Day. Then there was that crucial late winner against Boro to ensure survival.
Both of those goals were in 2008 and it didn’t happen nearly often enough. Murphy scored only 14 times in 110 appearances and sometimes gave the impression of being a poor player happy to sit out his generous contract at Sunderland. At Facebook, the Daryl Murphy Disappreciation Group – with just 125 members – declares “he’s lazy. he can’t tackle. he can’t jump. he can’t head. he has no positional skills. he can’t pass. he can’t control. he doesn’t score. he gets a game every week up front. It’s Daryl Murphy”.
But that’s over the top by a distance equating to the height of the Burj al Arab hotel in Dubai,
Murphy did well on loan at Portman Road (six goals in 18 games) and indicated a willingness to take a pay cut in the hope of attracting interesting approaches ahead of the 2010-2011 season.
The reported £1.3m bid from Neil Lennon could lead to the right move for him, and for us. Taking account of necessary caution about all transfer speculation, it is the case that joining Scotland’s second best team of last season, and on 42 occasions the best, would offer a great opportunity for him to rebuild his career at a higher (than Ipswich – nad yes, ultra-sensitive Hoops fans, I do mean a great deal higher)) level.
And he almost certainly won’t need anyone to teach him the words of The Fields of Athenry.
This, as a bonus, is a version I especially like (from the band Dance to Tipperary pre-match at Celtic Park: technically, probably not the best you’ll ever hear, and there’ll be plenty who’d be happy never to hear it all, but tough: the singer has a lovely voice, there’s a great atmosphere and it’s not necessary to be a card-carrying member of the Real IRA to enjoy: