Thursday, February 02, 2006

Murray Speaks Out

I hesitate to criticise Richard Murray. After all, his stewardship of the club has been exemplary not only in an absolute sense, but also a relative one (we should wake up every morning and thank the Lord that our club is not run by Freddie Shepherd or Malcolm Glazer). He seems approachable, he tends to make good decisions and he always gives a positive impression of the club in public. But I would have thought that as a successful businessman, he might have realised that his statement on the club's website raised more questions than it answered.

There are really two issues here: 1. Why was the club forced into a corner by Murphy (or more likely, his agent) and thus potentially obliged to accept a below-market price literally at the last minute? and, 2. Why did the club fail to not only bring in a replacement for Murphy, but fail to reinforce the squad at all, Bent aside?

I'm prepared to accept his explanations for 2. although even here he is beginning to test the patience of some of the country's most docile fans. However, his explanation for 1. namely, "Danny Murphy signed a contract in August 2004 to June 30th, 2008, and I am bitterly disappointed that he has decided he no longer wishes to play his football at Charlton,"..."The deal was finally signed off by the Premier League at 10 minutes to midnight on transfer deadline night, and that creates a number of difficulties in trying to bring anyone in..." simply doesn't add up.

Judging from Murphy's general demeanour, I suspect he regretted his move to Charlton as early as 2004. However, let's assume that he began to fall out with Curbs after his childish sending-off against Arsenal, and that the situation worsened materially after he was not picked for the squad against Birmingham on 16 Jan. It should surely have been apparent that he was unhappy at this juncture, and assuming Curbs' man-management skills did not stretch far enough to talk him around (and not for the first time), this gave the club fully two weeks to negotiate a deal that benefitted the club, and not just Murphy.

By Murray's own admission, Murphy had over two years left on his contract. Hence the transfer fee received is frankly scandalous, not least in light of deals achieved in the same week for the likes of Earnshaw, Akinbiyi and Brown. If the fee was not right, he should have been left to lanquish in the reserves until he saw the error of his ways. Instead the club has been mugged - I can't fault Spurs; I only wish we were as opportunistic when required.

Moreover, Murray ought to have at least acknowledged that the signing of Murphy was a mistake to begin with. He was never a 'Charlton player' to begin with - his comments upon leaving Liverpool (and their subsequent success) tells you all you need to know about his inflated ego. Admittedly if I was earning over £1m pa and was married to Joanna Taylor, I'd also be a bit cocky, but then again I wouldn't expect to be signed by a down-to-earth club like Charlton. As I said in a previous post, it would be nice to think that we'd one day learn what possessed the club to splash out £5m in the space of a few days for Murphy and Jeffers. I'm assuming clubs take reference checks on players? Maybe that's too much to ask.

The only silver-lining might lie in the possibility that Curbs might realise that Darren Ambrose is most beneficially utilised through the centre, and not out-wide. As has been well-documented elsewhere, Murphy's disinterest in tackling back forced us to either play 4-5-1 or an imperfect 4-4-2. Given that Ambrose has as much talent as Murphy, but plenty more pace and twice the heart (two times zero is still zero, but you get my drift) then on those occasions when we play 4-5-1, we could be stronger not weaker if Ambrose takes over the Murphy role. Moreover, now that Curbs need not feel 'obliged' to play his sulking 'star' in a 4-4-2, then two of Holland/Smertin/Kish flanked by Romm and Thomas might conceivably be a useful option here also.

I think the prospect of an FA Cup 5th Round tie at home to Brentford has served to appease fans who might conceivably be angrier and not only about the Murphy debacle, but the fact that our League season is effectively over given the lack of reinforcements. As far as that tie is concerned, there can be no room for excuses because our season and Curbs' future rests upon it.


At 6:11 AM, Blogger Chicago Addick said...

You still in Palm Beach?

I agree with you that Ambrose is a ready made replacement for Murphy. Lets hope Curbishley agrees with us.

At 8:30 AM, Anonymous gary c said...

Euell could also do a job there if Curbishley can remeber where he left him.

At 8:36 AM, Blogger Wyn Grant said...

The argument against hanging on to Murphy in the reserves is that if his wages are £1.5m a year, that is a lot of money down the drain. The fact of the matter is that Charlton were outmanoeuvred by a bigger club (as Spurphy has described them). It was ever thus and it's not going to change.

At 9:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps Curbs and the board have learned with the Euell episode what happens after a player becomes out of favour.

Obviously I wouldn't want Charlton to go through that again with Murphy.

At 11:20 AM, Blogger Reet Smoot said...

yes £20,000 a week for a reserve player is a lot. bring back kinsella! i have the unedited sun report on my blog shows Daniel murphy in a different light

At 12:04 PM, Blogger New York Addick said...

yes, still in Palm Beach - can't find anyone to discuss the Murphy situation with unfortunately.

At 3:10 PM, Blogger Chicago Addick said...

Don't you hate that? I was at work yesterday and could glean no interest whatsoever. Thank god for the internet.

Anyway off to DC for the weekend to meet one of my best mates and a fellow Addick, to watch the SoupBowl or something. No doubt we will put this to rest in between pints!

At 3:49 PM, Anonymous noel said...

oh calm down New York! taken over the last 4-5 seasons Murray and Curbs have played the transfer market superbly while many others have blown-up spectacuarly. If anything the Murphy/Jeffers deals were the result of management being knocked out of their usual modus operandi by the Parker booty. I'm amazed that all the credit built up by these guys over a decade seems to get forgotten over one slightly disapponting deal.The more money available, the more the risk and the more difficult it is to get it right (just ask Mr F Shephard). A half decent run for half a dozen games and we'll be in the last eight of the cup and the top half of the table. Let's a little perspective please. There are clubs our size scattered all over the top three divisions, so 11th out of 70 odd?..I'll settle for that.


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