JAMIE Murphy has described how Danny Wilson’s footballing philosophy and a glowing reference from Stuart McCall helped Sheffield United secure his services.
The Star can reveal that Huddersfield Town attempted to hijack the winger’s move to Bramall Lane by lodging an 11th-hour bid with former club Motherwell late on New Year’s Eve. However ,Murphy, who also interested Hull City, Burnley and Glasgow Rangers, opted to join United after being seduced by Wilson’s sales pitch.
“When United came along I knew it was the right place for me,” Murphy said. “I’m a very ambitious person and so I wanted to come to a very ambitious club.
“I’m not bothered about the division we are in at the moment. I play for the love of the game not the money and you’ve only got to look at the ground and the size of the crowds we get here to know that this place is absolutely massive.
“I’ve grown up with a team that has always liked to play the right way and when I spoke with the gaffer here he also told me he likes to get the ball down and pass it. Hopefully we should be a really good fit and I can’t wait to get started.”
Murphy, aged 23, made his debut for Motherwell in 2007 and scored 50 goals in 249 appearances after replacing Darren Smith as a second-half substitute against Celtic. McCall, his manager at Fir Park, enjoyed three seasons with United before retiring in 2005 and Murphy added: “I spoke to Stuart and he had nothing but fantastic things to say about Sheffield United and the people here because he knows Danny Wilson well. Stuart means a lot to me and I value his opinion so highly. If he’d have said something different then I probably wouldn’t be here but those words helped me make up my mind.”
Although United effectively completed Murphy’s signature on Sunday evening, several factors prevented the transfer from being processed until yesterday.
Motherwell, despite agreeing an undisclosed sum with their counterparts south of the border, insisted the 23-year-old featured in Wednesday’s SPL encounter against Neil Lennon’s side.
United agreed but warned Motherwell they would tear-up the agreement if Murphy, who 12 months ago rejected the opportunity to join Blackpool, was injured.
The delay prompted Huddersfield to submit a rival offer before Wilson’s charges remained second in the League One table following Wednesday’s 2-2 draw with Doncaster Rovers. But having already toured Bramall Lane, Murphy said: “I knew then this was where I wanted to be.”
* United have only ever beaten Oxford twice away from home. Their first such triumph came when Billy Dearden’s brace secured a 2-1 success at the old Manor Ground in 1971. This will be only the second time these teams have met in FA Cup competition following the South Yorkshire club’s success 14 months ago. Ched Evans netted twice for the hosts with Ryan Flynn also scoring.
* Tom Craddock, the former Middlesbrough trainee, has emerged as Oxford’s most potent attacking threat this term having scored 11 goals in 26 appearances. Four of those goals came in one game - against Acrrington Stanley - three months ago. The 26-year-old was a team mate of Tony McMahon’s when the Teeside outfit beat Aston Villa to lift the 2004 FA Youth Cup.