Writer: Joe Brown
Date:Wednesday March 7 2007
Gerry Murphy took caretaker control of Town with the message:
'It's going to be a team effort.'
The club's highly-respected Academy chief has been made caretaker manager in the wake of Peter Jackson's departure.
But the 63-year-old Dubliner says there will be a big input from the existing coaching staff of John Dungworth, Martyn Booty, John Vaughan and Graham Mitchell in the build-up to Saturday's big derby with Bradford.
Dungworth worked alongside Academy manager Murphy as head coach of Town's youth set-up for five years before replacing Terry Yorath as Jackson's right-hand man, originally in a temporary capacity, back in September.
In 19 years' involvement with professional football, Gerry Murphy has learned to expect the unexpected.
But nothing prepared him for the news he received at 9.00 yesterday morning.
Having just announced that Town and Peter Jackson had parted company by mutual consent, Town chairman Ken Davy asked Academy manager Murphy to take the reins as caretaker.
'I had no inkling of it and the first thing to say is that I feel great sympathy for Peter and his family,' said the well-respected 63-year-old Irishman.
'Peter is Huddersfield Town through and through and I know how much this will have affected him.'
While Murphy's roots are firmly in Dublin, his attachment to the blue and white stripes is on a par with that of Jackson.
And while he has stressed he has no interest in managing Town on a long-term basis, Murphy is more than happy to help out.
'I am an employee of Huddersfield Town and I will happily do whatever I am asked,' said the man whose only previous managerial experience was with Rawthorpe WMC and Bradley Rangers.
'I never imagined for a minute it would include taking charge of the first team, but I'll give it my best shot for however long this situation lasts.
'It's an honour to be asked, but it's also a huge challenge.
'I'll work closely with the existing coaching staff and my aim is to provide stability during a time of unavoidable upheaval, and, of course, prepare the players so that they are in the best shape possible to take three points on Saturday, and for any more games for which I'm in charge.'
Murphy has been at the hub of Town's youth development programme ever since first joining the club in 1988 as part-time back-up for youth coach George Mulhall.
He soon became a key figure and has groomed dozens of homegrown players for Football League action and international honours.
Instrumental in Town gaining much-prized Academy status in 1999 (few outside the Premiership can boast it) his contribution was perhaps best measured most following the dark days of administration when, for the 2004 League II play-off final against Mansfield at Cardiff, exactly half of Town's 16 on duty had come through Murphy's ranks.
In the past two years, too, Town have had more home-produced players in their first-team squad than any other club in the country.
It's a magnificent achievement and one which has been made possible by a dedicated team working under one man's leadership - a man who has been in Huddersfield football for over half a century.
Murphy is so highly regarded throughout the English game that he won the first ever Contribution to Football Award when the Football League launched their own gala event, beating Bradford caretaker manager David Wetherall - ironically the man he will pit his wits against in Saturday's derby - and long-serving Crewe manager Dario Gradi to the honour.
Date:Wednesday March 7 2007
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