Manchester United will unveil a lasting tribute to legend Jimmy Murphy at Old Trafford next year.

Murphy was a key figure at the club in developing the ‘Busby Babes’ and was the caretaker manager for 22 games following the Munich Air Disaster in 1958, playing an absolutely pivotal role in helping the club come to terms with and recover from the tragedy.

He was not on the flight himself as he was coaching Wales at the time, and he remained as Sir Matt Busby’s assistant until 1971 to help rebuild the club.

That contribution will now be immortalised with a statue outside the Streford End, and it will be unveiled on May 3 – exactly 65 years since Murphy led Man Utd in a FA Cup Final at Wembley.

“Jimmy Murphy was one of the most important figures in the history of this great club,” Collette Roche, chief operating officer of Manchester United, said.

“He was not only Sir Matt Busby’s chief coach and then assistant for 25 years, but, perhaps most importantly, led us out of the darkest period in our history.

“In those terrible days after the Munich tragedy, Jimmy was the man who held this club together and built a team that reached the FA Cup final. No matter the result, it was a remarkable achievement to even be at Wembley – something that, on 6 February 1958, seemed inconceivable.

“It is fitting that this wonderful statue should be unveiled on 3 May, the date of that final against Bolton Wanderers and at the Stretford End, overlooking the land where Jimmy used to train the Busby Babes.

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“It will add to existing statues of Sir Matt Busby, Sir Alex Ferguson, and the ‘United Trinity’ of Sir Bobby Charlton, George Best and Denis Law, outside Old Trafford.”

The project has been led by Pat Burns, chair of the Manchester Munich Memorial Foundation, and with Alan Heriot – who created the statue of Denis Law in Aberdeen – commissioned as the sculptor.

“I was moved when I saw the statue and there is no doubt that Alan has done a fantastic job in capturing the passion and image of one of the backroom legends at Old Trafford,” Burns said. “I know the Murphy family, who joined us on the trip to Scotland, were also hugely impressed with the progress.

“It will be a special occasion on 3 May when we finally unveil the statue marking Jimmy’s extraordinary contribution to United at the most tragic time in this club’s history.”


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