Brighton’s Glenn Murray: ‘Graceful? Maybe not. Others would say I’m a donkey’

Confirmation of Brighton & Hove Albion’s most significant deal of the January window had dropped early afternoon on deadline day and, true to form at a club who have made a habit of quietly impressive yet relentless progress, it went almost unnoticed on the yellow-tickered conveyor belt of opportunistic buys elsewhere.

Glenn Murray, previously a mere loanee from Bournemouth, had signed a two-and-a-half-year contract. Chris Hughton acknowledged the striker had “done exactly what we hoped he would” over the campaign to date. Murray, rather than lingering on his own contribution, talked up the Authentic Prada Milano Handbags strength of the collective, the spirit in the group, the manager’s focused approach.

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It was all very matter of fact and business-like, a brief pat on the back before attention switched back to Bicester Village Prada Refund the job in hand. Brighton will resume their scrap with Newcastle for leadership of the Championship with a tricky visit to Huddersfield Town, another of this season’s success stories, on Thursday and even a sequence of one defeat in 21 league matches – and eight in 74 stretching back to May 2015 – is not fuelling complacency. That FA Cup loss at Lincoln was a blip, one to be forgotten. This team are looking at the bigger picture. “I’d sensed a determination from the moment I walked into the pre-season training camp in Tenerife,” Murray says. “Missing out on promotion last year on goal difference, and then in the play-offs, was sickening but there’s been no hangover. No one was allowed to feel sorry for himself.

“Instead, there was this burning desire to put it right. It wasn’t ‘look how close we came’, but ‘let’s do it properly this time’. The manager helped create that but it’s come from the players too. They’ve picked themselves up and reacted. I’m just glad I’ve played a part, and maybe my role really kicks in now. We’ve entered the mid-season grind when the football is anything but glamorous. It’s where we kicked on in League One when I was at the club first time round, All Prada Nylon Bags and one when I’ve also experienced a team dropping off and fading. We have momentum and belief, but it’s about maintaining that now. We’ve not achieved anything yet.”

Except Murray actually has. His 15 goals in 26 league appearances has brought acceptance back at a club where, for a while, his name was mud. The striker had departed under freedom of contract in the summer of 2011 with the celebrations still in full swing following promotion to the Championship and the move imminent from the ramshackle Withdean to the sparkling Amex Stadium. He could justifiably point to the manager, Gus Poyet, earmarking the signing of Craig Mackail-Smith as more of a priority than retaining him, the leading scorer from League One. Plenty doubted the sense in that decision at the time. Even more have since.

The forward’s move to Crystal Palace, having been wooed by Dougie Freedman, still whipped up a furore. The ferocity of these clubs’ rivalry still perplexes most on the outside looking in – and some whose allegiance is with seagull or eagle – but it is real, and Murray had effectively run the gauntlet. Rewind to the autumn after his defection and he had scored Palace’s third goal to confirm Brighton’s first league defeat at their new home. The expletive-ridden reaction to that goal by one of the home fans, captured on YouTube, coined the forward a nickname which became a badge of honour over his time in south London. He was one of a core of strong characters whose influence drove that team to the top flight.

Yet, having established himself as a cult figure at Palace, his nomadic career has brought him back to the city he and his family have called home for almost nine years.

Goals in his first two home appearances at the Amex helped build bridges. The reception from those in the North Stand suggested all had been forgiven. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say it hadn’t crossed my mind, how I would be accepted, but I’ve never walked out on any club,” he says. “I’ve only ever moved on when I’ve not been wanted. Experience Black Leather Prada Milano Purse has told me, when your time’s up, you have to go. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed my time Bicester Village Prada Discount at all the clubs I’ve been at, and they’ve all got a special place in my heart. It was good I left Brighton on a high, like I left Palace on a high but whether Carlisle to Rochdale or Brighton to Palace, as soon as I left that chapter was closed.”

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Glenn Murray is mobbed by his team-mates after giving Brighton the lead against Barnsley back in September. Photograph: ProSports/Rex/Shutterstock

It was slammed shut for good at the Vitality Stadium on Tuesday. “It just wasn’t the right fit at Bournemouth. I wasn’t suited to their style. I realised that, and Eddie [Howe] did too, even if my goals to game ratio stood up [and included a winner at Chelsea]. I think he’d signed me as a second or third-choice option, but I want to play. Sure, I need a good supply-line. I’m never going to be one of these players who dribbles past three and bends it into the top corner from 25 yards. That’s not me.”

The memory briefly drifted back to a goal along those lines which he had plundered against Middlesbrough back in Palace’s promotion season. “The fact you can only remember one says it all. I watched Brighton on television last year, saw the wingers they had – Anthony Knockaert, Jamie Murphy, Jiri Skalak, Solly March – and coming here was a no-brainer. You only have to look around the place to see it’s where you want to come to work every day. It’s a different club in the same name to the one I left all those years ago, and you’ve got to give credit to the chairman [Tony Bloom] for everything he’s done here. He’s put the foundations in place to make this a Premier League club. It reminds me of Cardiff about five or six years ago when they were knocking on the door and it felt inevitable they would get Ap Lei Chau Prada Factory Outlet there one day.”

That moment is edging closer and, with his £3m transfer complete, Murray aspires to make a more prolonged impact in the top flight. He was denied that at Palace by a cruciate knee ligament injury, suffered in the play-off semi-finals against Brighton, which left him chasing fitness as the team, under Tony Pulis, survived that tricky first season at the higher level. When he was offered regular football under Alan Pardew, he responded with seven goals in 12 matches in the spring of 2015. There are subtleties to his game that go underappreciated, the 33-year-old too often written off as a journeyman, or dismissed as an old school No9. His languid body language masks a hefty work rate, and he adds vision and canny movement to a scorer’s instinct in the six-yard box.

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How would he describe himself? “Graceful? No, maybe not. Others would probably say ‘donkey’,” he says through a chuckle. “There was a period recently when big centre-forwards weren’t in favour but, two years down the line, look at Christian Benteke, Olivier Giroud, even Diego Costa … he’s got a bit more pace than the other two, but that style’s coming back into the game. Football people see what I can bring to a team. Maybe it bypasses others, but I still believe I can score goals in the Premier League and I’d Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Online Shopping like another crack.”

One former team-mate who benefited from the more selfless side to Murray’s game is now a rival at the top of the Championship. Dwight Gayle, with 20 goals in 22 appearances for Newcastle, texted a playful reminder last week that, hamstring-injury permitting, he is on course to eclipse the 30 scored by Murray in 2012-13. “He’s a brilliant finisher, one of the best I’ve played with. And in an extremely strong team which creates as many chances as they do, that 10-goal cushion doesn’t count for much.

“Look at Newcastle, though. They’re still one of the biggest clubs in the country but there are so many big clubs in this division. A lot of them get stuck here. That Brighton have muscled their Authentic Prada Leather Handbag way in is credit to the management. The club was very shrewd with its signings in the summer. It would have been easy to panic after missing out by a whisker but they brought in experience with me, Steve Sidwell, Olly Norwood from Reading, and big Shane Duffy. It hadn’t been going particularly well for the big guy up at Blackburn, but he’s been different class. He and Lewis Dunk, that’s one link that is Premier League ready: Duffy heads everything that comes near him, and Dunky brings everything else down. It’s a squad with strength in depth, a team with leaders. We had that at Palace and it worked.”

Brighton have a similar cast of strong characters in Sidwell, Bruno, Dale Stephens and David Stockdale, all players with points to prove after last term’s cruel disappointment. Murray is already at the heart of their number. He has his own point to prove.