In part two of my assessment of the 4 leading candidates for Coventry City player of the year, I turn my eye towards the man who has featured in every single game thus far in all competitions, Joe Murphy.
When Joe Murphy arrived at Coventry City it was under the pressures of replacing fans favourite Keiren Westwood who had almost single-handedly kept the club in the Championship for the 3 seasons he was at the club. He also faced the pressure of being Coventry City’s only major signing in a summer that saw the departures of Marlon King, Aron Gunnarsson and Ben Turner in addition to the aforementioned Westwood. Not only did he have to replace one of the club’s greatest keepers but he also had to do so in a far weakened team.
For the most part though, Murphy shouldered that pressure without any self doubt. During his three seasons at the club he has grown into one of the few genuine leaders in the squad. Murphy may have been able to take on the challenge at Coventry City purely down to probably being genuinely insane. Anyone he has sat behind his goal during his 135 appearances for the club will have witnessed his pre-game psyching up ritual of smacking himself in the head. Additionally you only have to watch the highlights of our games to witness his meltdowns after conceding a goal, usually involving shouting angrily at a down-trodden looking defender.
It’s been a tough season for Joe Murphy in this regard as he has been keeping goal behind one of the country’s leakiest defences. Coventry City have conceded 86 goals in all competitions this seasons, yet it’s a testament to Murphy that he should still be regarded as one of the club’s most consistent performers. On countless occasions this season, the Irish international has been responsible for winning the club points that otherwise have been lost.
Some of his reaction saves, such as against Walsall and Stevenage have been absurd. It goes back to the idea that Murphy may just be insane, the way he puts his body on the line for his team beggars belief. Perhaps the simple explanation is that he either does not feel or simply enjoys pain. It must be a massive confidence boost for a defender to know that they have someone behind them who will sacrifice their physical well-being should any errors be made.
Like Callum Wilson, Joe Murphy may not be amongst our ranks for the next season. A move to collect better wages at a Championship club will be well deserved for a custodian who has saved the team on innumerable occasions over the past three years. A large part of our successes this season has been the dependability of Joe Murphy between the posts. As much as the form of key attacking players saw the club race out of the blocks at the beginning of the campaign, Murphy has held the team together during the highs and lows of the season. This is why Joe Murphy fully deserves to be recognised as the club’s player of the season.