Many eyebrows were raised when Daryl Murphy signed for Newcastle United at the beginning of the 2016/2017 season. It wasn’t exactly the glamour forward signing that the Toon Army would come to expect or the signing that many believe a manager like Rafa Benitez would make.
His life at St. James Park began quietly as an injury during the beginning of their promotion campaign limited his appearances for the Magpies but eventually, he began to make some appearances for north-east outfit.
Murphy was signed for one reason – he has pedigree scoring goals in the incredibly competitive league that is the Championship – he has proved this throughout his career in England. With plenty of talent in the forward ranks at Newcastle, including Dwight Gayle, Ayoze Perez and the controversial Alexander Mitrovic – many struggled to foresee how exactly Murphy would make it into the side.
However, he scored some absolutely crucial goals which were essential to Newcastle’s promotion and his no-nonsense performances made him a fan favourite with the Toon Army.
Murphy played 18 times for Newcastle which included nine starts and six goals – not a bad return but it’s the games in which he scored these goals which are important. Murphy’s opening league goal against Brentford in January propelled them back to the top of the Championship table after a disappointing start to 2017 when the promotion train was in serious danger of coming off the rails. He also scored in their win against promotion rivals, Huddersfield Town who were in incredible form at the time.
Murphy, speaking to the Evening Chronicle, reveals that Benitez text him after Ireland’s win against Uruguay to congratulate him on his performance. He also revealed that a conversation took place last week where Benitez thanked the Waterford man for his contribution this season and that the club will listen to offers for his services.
“I spoke to him last week about my future and he thanked me for what I had done and said they were going to listen to a few offers. I said ‘that’s fine’.”
It’s a sign of Murphy’s professionalism that he took the news so well but he always knew that he arrived at the club to do one job, help Newcastle get promoted, and he certainly did that.
“I always knew I had been brought in there to do a specific job, to help the club get promoted. I had no illusions that I was going to be starting for Newcastle in the Premier League if we got up.
“I have got another year left on my contract and I will go back there for pre-season and just look at my options.”
Murphy has been named on the bench for Ireland’s crucial World Cup Qualifier with Austria at the Aviva Stadium and there will be no shortage of interested observers if he takes to the field.