Glenn Murray: A moment of class from a true Albion legend I will never forget
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It’s that age old debate about what constitutes a genuine club legend?
Is it just about what happens on the pitch, or is it how the individual conducts himself off the field?
For me it’s the latter every time, as much as I want my Albion legends to consistently pull up trees on the pitch, what they are like when the final whistle goes is also a huge factor.
Glenn Murray called time on his 19 year football career and his tenure at the Withdean and the Amex will see him find a place in many people’s All Time Albion XI, he’s certainly in mine.
Murray joined in January 2008 in a £300,000 deal from Rochdale. Then Albion boss Dean Wilkins finally got his man that the former chief scout Barry Lloyd once said he was convinced the Albion should pay what was then a huge amount of money, on the strength of watching Murray in a pre match warmup!
He hit the ground running and scored twice on his home debut against Crewe, and finished that season with nine goals.
It was the arrival of Gus Poyet which really propelled ‘Muzza’ to the next level, in the final season at Withdean when the Albion won the League One title, he scored 22 goals to finish second in the scoring charts behind Peterborough’s Craig Mckail-Smith, a player who would go on to feature significantly in the Murray story.
Yet that summer, when Murray rejected the Albion’s new contract offer, he departed to Crystal Palace of all places, to be replaced by Mckail-Smith with Albion reportedly paying him what they’d refused to pay Murray.
That will remain arguably one of the biggest mistakes in the club recent history, with the Amex now opened, Murray returned in late September for the M23 Derby, scoring late on for the visitors but refusing to celebrate his goal out of respect for his former club and its fans.
Murray and Palace later made it to the EPL after knocking the Albion out in the 2013 play-off semi final, although Murray himself was injured in the first leg and missed the final against Watford at Wembley.
After spells with Reading and Bournemouth he eventually returned to the Albion in the summer of 2016 first on loan then permanently in January 2017 and helped the club finally gain promotion to the top flight.
His final Albion tally was 259 appearances in three different divisions and 103 goals, but for me the events of the summer of 2011 had a huge impact on both player and club. I’ve no doubt had an agreement been reached back then re wages, Murray would have gone on to be one of the longest serving players in the clubs history. He would have qualified for a well deserved testimonial, the Albion would have reached the top flight earlier and I firmly believe Murray, with his prowess in front of goal, would have received international recognition.
But as I alluded to earlier, it’s not just about the on field stuff. On February 29, 2020 the Albion played Crystal Palace at the Amex. I had the chance to take my dear old mate Darren, who at that time was seriously ill, into corporate hospitality.
The game was dire, it was the last before lockdown, the Albion lost one nil and looked like they were heading into a relegation tailspin.
But that didn’t stop Glenn coming to see Darren and myself for a drink after the game, any number of players would have skulked off to lick their wounds, but not him, he gave us both his time and it was something that meant a lot to us both.
Form is temporary, class is permanent and that day Glenn Murray showed his true class.