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Jimmy Murphy
Jimmy Murphy statue.JPG
Personal information
Full name James Patrick Murphy
Date of birth 8 August 1910(1910-08-08)
Place of birth    Pentre, Rhondda, Wales
Date of death    14 November 1989 (aged 79)
Place of death    Manchester, England
Playing position Wing half
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
West Bromwich Albion
Swindon Town
204 (0)
004 (0)   
National team
1933–1938 Wales 015 (0)
Teams managed
Manchester United (caretaker)

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only.
* Appearances (Goals)

James Patrick "Jimmy" Murphy (8 August 1910 – 14 November 1989) was a football player and later a manager.


Playing career

Born in Ton Pentre, Rhondda, Murphy attended Ton Pentre Village School and as a boy played the church organ. As a youth he played football for Ton Pentre Boys, Treorchy Thursday F.C., Treorchy Juniors and Mid-Rhondda Boys and in 1924 represented Wales in a schoolboy international against England in Cardiff. He turned professional in February 1928 when he joined West Bromwich Albion as a 17-year-old.[1]

Murphy made his debut in a 1–0 defeat away to Blackpool on 5 March 1930 and played one further league game during his first season. In the following season, 1930–31, West Bromwich Albion won the FA Cup and promotion from the Second Division, but Murphy had yet to establish himself in the team and again made just two appearances. He became a regular in the Albion side upon the club's return to the First Division; from 1931–32 to 1934–35 he appeared 149 times in league and cup, helping his team to achieve four consecutive top ten finishes, including fourth place in 1932–33. The 1934–35 season saw Murphy miss just one match all season, and he helped Albion to reach the 1935 FA Cup Final, which they lost 4–2 to Sheffield Wednesday.[2]

Murphy played more than 200 times for Albion, before moving to Swindon Town in 1938, but the Second World War curtailed his club career. Murphy was also called up to the Welsh national team during the 1930s.

Managerial career

During the Second World War, Murphy was giving a speech about football to a band of troops, and in attendance was Matt Busby. Busby was so impressed by Murphy's speech that, upon his appointment as manager of Manchester United, he made Murphy the first signing of his tenure at the club.[3] In his role as assistant manager, it was Murphy's responsibility to scout and train the young footballers who were to become the "Busby Babes", which included the likes of Duncan Edwards and Bobby Charlton. Prior to this the larger teams had mainly bought rather than developed their players but instead Busby decided to slowly replace the older and more experienced players in his team with their youth players.

Jimmy, as assistant manager, was responsible for developing these young boys into the world class professionals that they became. He would spend hours with a player if he believed that they were capable of becoming a first team player. He was a very dedicated and passionate teacher whose tactical and technical lessons helped some of the worlds best ever players to reach their full potential. After the Munich air disaster of 6 February 1958, he temporarily took over as manager while Matt Busby recovered from his injuries and, having assembled a substitute team, steered United to the FA Cup final. Murphy had not been on the fatal flight because he had been away managing the Welsh team in a World Cup qualifying game. Murphy managed Wales at the 1958 FIFA World Cup Finals, when they reached the quarter-finals in their only appearance in a World Cup. They lost 1-0 to Brazil (the eventual winners), to a goal by the young Pelé.

Despite being approached to manage Brazil, Juventus and Arsenal, he remained as assistant manager at Old Trafford until 1971. Murphy chose never to become manager of the club because of his hate of the limelight, he loved working in the background but never aspired to fulfil the job of manager. He died in November 1989, aged 79. In Murphy's honour after his death, Manchester United commissioned the "Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year Award", to be given to the best player in the club's youth system in the previous season. It was first awarded the summer after Murphy's death, and Lee Martin was the first recipient.

On 23 March 2009, a blue plaque was placed on his former family home on Treharne Drive, Pentre.[4]

Career statistics

Club performance[2]
Club Season League FA Cup Total
App Goals App Goals App Goals
West Bromwich Albion 1929–30 2 0 0 0 2 0
1930–31 2 0 0 0 2 0
1931–32 27 0 1 0 28 0
1932–33 34 0 2 0 36 0
1933–34 35 0 2 0 37 0
1934–35 41 0 7 0 48 0
1935–36 16 0 0 0 16 0
1936–37 21 0 5 0 26 0
1937–38 23 0 2 0 25 0
1938–39 3 0 0 0 3 0
Subtotal 204 0 19 0 223 0
Swindon Town 1938–39


  1. ^ Matthews, Tony (2005). The Who's Who of West Bromwich Albion. Breedon Books. p. 160. ISBN 1-85983-474-4.  
  2. ^ a b Matthews, Tony (2007). West Bromwich Albion: The Complete Record. Breedon Books. pp. 248–267. ISBN 978-1-85983-565-4.  
  3. ^ Manchester United: Official History 1878–2002. [DVD]. London, England: Video Collection International. 2002.  
  4. ^ "Jimmy Murphy". Rhondda Cynon Taff. Retrieved 23 March 2009.  


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