Jimmy Murphy: Statue planned for ‘giant’ who rebuilt Man Utd after the Munich Air Disaster

Plans are underway to honour a "giant of United's history" whom Sir Matt Busby described as his "greatest ever signing".

The Manc The Manc - 7th June 2021

Plans are ongoing for a new Old Trafford statue honouring one of Manchester United’s less-recognised key figures from history: ex-manager Jimmy Murphy.

The club has accepted a request from supporters groups for the memorial – agreeing that Murphy’s critical contribution to the rebuilding of United following the Munich Air Disaster makes him worthy of a permanent tribute.

Murphy took temporary charge of the Red Devils in 1958 following the crash – which saw eight players killed and two others suffer career-ending injuries.

Manager Matt Busby was also seriously hurt.

Murphy – who had not travelled as he was managing Wales in a World Cup qualifier – stepped in to take care of the Busby Babes as temporary coach following the tragedy. And he performed a miracle.


Despite their shaken and depleted squad, United made it to the 1958 FA Cup final against all odds – with Murphy leading out the team at Wembley Stadium against Bolton Wanderers.

Busby returned the following season and Murphy continued to work alongside him as assistant manager, with the duo creating a side which would bring two league titles, an FA Cup and European Cup to Old Trafford.


Upon his death in 1989, Busby called Murphy his “first and most important signing”.

“No-one outside the club will ever know how important he was to our success,” he stated.

The proposal for a statue of Murphy was presented to the club by a coalition of United Supporters’ groups led by the Manchester Munich Memorial Foundation.


Once completed, Murphy’s memorial will join existing tributes to other club heroes such as Busby, Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Bobby Charlton, George Best and Denis Law outside Old Trafford.

Paul Murphy said the statue would help to raise awareness of his grandfather’s essential role in rebuilding the club.

He told All For United podcast: “There’s nothing outside Old Trafford to let you know who [Jimmy] was, what he did.

“I’ve been introduced in the past and season-ticket holders have asked ‘Who’s Jimmy Murphy?’

“I don’t blame them people because there’s nothing around the stadium. Unless you read into it, you don’t know who Jimmy Murphy is. I said to the board: ‘I could stand outside Old Trafford and ask fans who led United out at the 1958 FA Cup – I bet half at least wouldn’t know.’


“This will broaden people’s knowledge of the club.”

Featured image: Man Utd