CORK City legend Danny Murphy is confident that the club can survive and thrive under the new ownership of Grovemoor Ltd if and when a takeover is completed.
Just under two weeks ago, members of Foras, the supporters’ trust which runs City, voted overwhelmingly in favour of allowing Grovemoor – owned by Preston North End owner Trevor Hemmings – to exercise a call-option with regarding to purchasing. Due diligence is currently being undertaken in that regard.
On the pitch, City finish off a disappointing 2020 SSE Airtricity League season tonight against Derry City at Turner’s Cross (7.30pm) but, no matter what the outcome, they will finish the campaign bottom of the Premier Division.
It’s a far cry from November 18, 2005, when Murphy was part of the City team that beat the Candystripes 2-0 in a title decider at the Cross. It remains a special memory and he hopes that more can be created if the takeover is completed and City get back on an even keel.
“It’s strange that it was that long ago,” he says, “it still feels like yesterday.
“For any of us who were in that team, it’s something we’ll never forget.
“The buzz around the city and the actual day and the way it all panned out, I don’t think you could have planned it any better.
“Nights like that one are special and there were nights like that under Foras. Things might have taken a step backwards but they can return and they will return.
“If you keep doing things the right way, you will be rewarded and those nights will be back.”
London-born Murphy is now involved with Welling United, running the women’s side of club.
“It’s completely different but it’s a good substitute,” he says.
“You’re still involved and you’re still part of it but it’s not the same.”
However, while the Cockney Rebel is back in his native country, he remains abreast of what has been going on at City. While there is naturally some regret that a supporter-run operation has been forced into a sale to ensure the club’s survival, he believes that the move is ultimately for the best in the long run.
“I’ve been able to follow bits and pieces,” he says.
“It’s difficult for the club the way things are but it’s good now that they have someone who will invest in the club and help improve it.
“It would be great to have a fan-owned football club but it’s difficult from a financial aspect. With the demands on the fans and on the club in terms of looking forward and always looking to improve, you do need people who will invest in it.”
Murphy is keen to make the point, though, that Foras’s good work as guardians of the club shouldn’t be overlooked or outweighed by more recent events, especially as the trust stepped in a decade ago to ensure that City stayed in existence.
For 2021, City will compete in the First Division and Murphy believes that it is an opportunity to regroup and be ready to compete again in the top flight after promotion is achieved.
“At the end of the day, what Foras have done in taking the club to where it’s at is amazing,” he says.
“There are obviously negatives in going down a division and stuff like that but the way I see it, as someone looking from the outside, it seems like a chance for a fresh start and to rebuild.
“They can put some really good structures in place so that, when you do go back up next season, from a financial aspect everything is sorted and the club is in a position where it can keep growing.”
Helping City in that regard will be the expertise Grovemoor can call upon at Preston and Murphy expects that that will be a positive development.
“They’re a club well-known for the way they operate,” he says.
“They’re renowned for producing young players and that’s something that City must focus on, having good young talent coming through and not just one or two every few years.
“There needs to be a constant stream of kids making the step up every season.”