Leeds Utd’s Luke Murphy Puts Loyalty Before Pounds Sterling   –   by Rob Atkinson

Luke Murphy has seen his stock rise dramatically among the demanding constituency of Leeds United fans of late – and not just for his markedly improved form during the latter part of last season. That upping of his game, to more nearly approach what is rightly expected of a man with a seven-figure price tag, was certainly welcome enough, and warmly received by the Elland Road congregation. The resulting blast of approval must have been music to the ears of a man whose tepid earlier displays had earned him more brickbats than bouquets. But these recent accolades have, of course, resulted primarily from Murphy’s willingness to sign a new deal – reportedly on significantly lower terms. 

Just run that by yourself again, with the stereotypical modern, mercenary, grasping footballer in mind for the purposes of comparison. Take Raheem Sterling, for example. That young man’s surname bears more than a coincidental similarity to the unit of currency in these islands. This is a young lad of sublime talent who has proved himself, by his actions of late, not big enough to play for a club like Liverpool FC, much less their rabidly fanatical fans.

Sterling will have benefited greatly in financial terms from his move to Man City. He may even win a Cup or two in the seasons to come, as he sits on the bench for Manchester‘s premier club. But he has lost far more in terms of reputation and respect – though exactly how much that means to today’s young, deeply shallow, relentlessly materialistic Princes of Association Football must be open to grave doubt.

So there you have Sterling on the one hand. And there’s our own Luke Murphy on the other. You might wonder what options there were in front of young Luke, before he committed the next four years of his career to Leeds. It’s a fair bet that there will have been an agent hovering somewhere close by, whispering blandishments of temptation into those callow ears. It’s good, after all, for agents when footballers move on – and if Murphy could be persuaded his future lay elsewhere, then you can be sure that Leeds would have been looking to recoup their £1m outlay. And that’d have meant some wedge for Luke – and any agent – quite apart from the terms he might expect from a prospective buying club. 

But Murphy has opted to stay, and what he has gained in increased security by the greater length of his deal, he has largely lost by virtue of a reduced weekly wage. He’s still remarkably well-off, clearly, compared to other lads of his age – or mine, come to that. But it does warm the cockles to see a young pro prioritising where he wants to be, over what he wants to be paid. 

The contrast between Sterling and Murphy is stark, and it goes way beyond matters such as ability and potential. Sterling has – it’s blindingly obvious – had his head turned to a degree which makes that poor young lass out of The Exorcist seem comparatively stiff-necked. It is a pity that such a major talent should have been so poorly advised as to treat the greatest club and the greatest fans he will ever play for, quite so shoddily.

Luke Murphy, in that precisely identical situation of playing for the greatest club and fans he’ll know in his career, has chosen to show respect rather than contempt, humility rather than arrogance. It’s an attitude that deserves reward, and this blog wishes him a triumphant season, crowned with success. As for Sterling, we wish him not too many splinters in his arse as he bench-warms his way to cups and titles with Citeh. 

It does rather beg the question of whether we Leeds fans should perhaps be wary what we ask for, the danger being that we might get it. Obviously, we all want promotion, followed by establishment as a Premier League power, with silverware and continental domination, for preference, as is surely our Don-given destiny. But, should that come to pass, will we really be able to relate to and respect the wearers of those iconic white shirts? You do have to wonder. 

Sadly, when Leeds do become successful again, the squad we’ll be supporting is likely to contain rather more Sterling-like characters – eye on the main chance and sod the supporters – than it will the good, honest Murphy type. That, we can assume, will be part of the price of success. And we all crave success – don’t we?

The thing is though, this story of two young footballers, Sterling and Murphy, leaves me wondering if that success would really be worth the price we’d most probably have to pay. 

16 responses to “Leeds Utd’s Luke Murphy Puts Loyalty Before Pounds Sterling   –   by Rob Atkinson

  1. Philip of Spain.

    Pity Smith,Howson,Cantona,McCormack,Snodgrass,Beccio,Beckford and others didn’t seem to grasp that concept.Or is it the fact that loyalty has gone from life in general.Rio Ferdinand quoted that fact the other day.That’s rich coming from him!!!Nearly as mind numbing as Phil Neville waxing lyrical.


    • I take it Rio’s appreciation of irony is on the primitive side…


    • Smith left because Leeds WANTED to sell him, Howson also was pushed out the door for an undisclosed that Captain Birdseye pocketed….infact we weren’t exactly trying hard to keep Snodgrass or Becchio either were we ?? so a bit harsh


  2. Peter Baxter

    As a Leeds fan that has been Domiciled in New Zealand for over 30 years i must admit to being a big fan of your blog–its good no-nonsense common sense that as a local leeds lad born in Holbeck i can totally relate to and enjoy reading–Hats off to Murphy for his decision to stay at Leeds and im sure he will be an integral part of the Leeds United push for promotion–i unfortunately work with Plastic tin-pot Manure fans–all 3 of them have never seen them play or even been to the Theatre of Bedwetting Dreams—they try and take the pliss but to be fair its no-contest–i mean theres only 3 of them–imagine there consternation when they all found a picture of the Leeds Kappa Car taped to the front of there computer monitors–as usual 2 of the 3 had no clue about it until i explained using one syllable words they could understand–its a Leeds Advertising Promotion–sad to report that one of the 3 Manc Monkeys actually believed me when i said we had hired Cantona as the driver—looking forward to more to read from the Universe–onwards and upwards-i feel we will have a good season–many thanks for your entertaing and informative musings


  3. Luke, you’re a legend. Here’s wishing you many years of success at Elland Road. Sterling, you represent all that’s wrong with the modern game. You have potential that I doubt you’ll ever fulfill – you obviously think you’ve made it already, which you haven’t! The only thing you have achieved is a bigger bank balance, which is getting larger with time like the size of your head!


  4. glad you took time to write about this rob , murphy is obviously a dying breed and more power to his elbow , good on you luke , i hope you have a blinding season son


  5. Considering the case with Murphy is a very rare one in football these days, You have to ask yourself what price would we really be paying, One player from a team of 25+ willing to take a wage cut a much longer contract is hardly a foundation Leeds are built on, Should Murphy prove to be the start of a influx of Leeds players taking paycuts to stay at a club who has shown faith in them then i might agree, As things stand though i see one player who has choosen to stay at a club rather than moving on for whatever reasons, Some might say they want to play at the top level, The top level always means a higher income for the player so any player leaving is leaving for that reason too, It may not be the only reason but i’m sure it plays a part in it.

    The likes of Murphy are few and far between, For every Muprhy theres 100 Snodgrass’, Howsons, Beckfords, Becchios, Nothing against them and they are all held in high regard with Leeds fans and rightly so but lets look at the facts, All of them left the club for two reasons, Higher level of football, Higher wages, Premiership football and higher wages ticks those boxes, Sterling left Liverpool for a higher level of football and higher wages, Champions League football and higher wages ticks those boxes, The way Sterling handled himself prior to the transfer is all that differs between him and any championship player who chooses to move to a premiership club, Or any lower premiership player moving to a bigger club.

    Shaw, Chambers, Lallana, Lovrens, Schneiderlin, Ings, Did they not all do the exact same thing Sterling has done and move on from clubs who gave them a chance and put them on the map only for their head to be turned by a bigger club showing interest in them, Had Sterling handled the whole thing better it would be a very different story, While i am sure money did indeed play a part in his reasons for leaving, I challange anyone to tell me money played no part in Snodgrass, Beckford, Becchio and Howson leaving Leeds or Shaw, Chambers, Lallana, Lovrens, Schneiderlin, Ings ect leaving their previous clubs, While the level if football may also have played a part in all of those transfers as Liverpool are not in the Champions League and City are the same too can be said of Sterling.While i agree Sterlings handling of the transfer was downright disgraceful and made him look very bad i dont agree with people slamming his reasons for leaving the club.

    When i see Liverpool fans booing Ings, Lallana and Lovrens for moving to their club for higher wages and a higher level of football than at Burnley or Southampton, Then and only then might i consider them the greatest fans Sterling will ever play infront, However as things stand they will stand and cheer their names not for a second will it cross their minds that they too left a club for money and a higher level of football, Those rose tinted glasses are mighty fine indeed but take them off and you’ll see a whole bunch of Sterlings in red shirts and you’ll still stand up and cheer them yet Sterling will be boo’ed, Thats football for you.

    Please note i’m not a fan of how Sterling handled his transfer, There was no respect shown at all for the club or fans and those reasons for slamming him are more than valid, When the topic changes to footballing reasons or wages just dont bother its not even funny anymore……..Sterling you money grabbing w****r………Oh what Ings is on atleast double the money he was on at Burnley if not more……..GET IN THERE INGS!!, Irony, Isnt it a bitch.


  6. Alec wilson

    I will be buying shirt with Murphy onit, if he in kendal cumbria we will take him for nite on piss, and put him up in Castle Green Hotel. Robert Plant stays there when up ere ! He can ave crack wid our mate Dave Chizzy Darts man off telly . If he likes thrash metal music, will take him to see Slayer in Scum city Apollo in November! Or he can ave quiet nite in our local talking to the lasses who drink pints, ave whippets , and are generally hard as fook ! Murphy lad, ya a god !


  7. Torn,you should be condemning a mercenary,not making excuses. Sterling is just that. It’s not so much he is loyal, more the example he shows to so many Judas ex-players of ours. Amazing loyalty from Murphy,fair play! Despite our hopeful expectations we are one of the favs to go down,so hope they can defy them odds.


  8. Lovely post Rob, beautifully balanced…………. the amount of money in the game for kids is a serious problem……..I mean what exactly has Stirling got to play for ??? Hes 20 and hes already a multi millionaire………so like Ballotelli he may well become more focused on his new mansion than on his football………or perhaps he can do a Micheal owen and fall out of love with the game and take up horse racing………..


  9. Mark benson

    At first rob I was reminded of Paul Madeley and his contract talks with Jimmy Armfield but the comments make about the Norwich contingent puts a different spin on it. yes murphy has taken a pay cut or more likely the same money over a longer time hence a “cut”. but no premier league clubs have been sniffing round him nor any championship teams with promotion potential (us excluded). In reality if he left leeds he would not get as big a deal as now or be with a team who could hope to gain premier league status. yes I admire his loyalty and the fact he clearly sees good things just might start happening at leeds but in all honesty he’s at the biggest club in the championship now. As for sterling we just signed a keeper with a champions league and europa league winners medals. that’s more than sterling will get even though turnbull got them for watching the games not playing in them. murphy just a footballer same as sterling. If man city showed an interest in murphy do you really think he would stay at leeds. mot


  10. He has showed loyalty,rare commodity these days don’t be so quick to dismiss it!


  11. All summed up nicely in that last sentence, Rob. Everyone outside the top four in the PL is a selling club. If Liverpool and Spurs can’t hang onto their decent players, then a promoted Leeds will have no chance. Anyone who performs will be subject to the claws of Chelsea, Citeh, Nitid, and to perhaps a lesser extent, Arsenal. I wonder what it’s like being a Southampton fan; it must be torture.. do we want that?


  12. GrenvilleHair

    Up to a point Rob though it could be that given his distinctly patchy form (over the length of his current deal) he couldn’t have hoped to get as much elsewhere. Bit of Adam Pearson spin I fancy.


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