DANNY MURPHY is one of those people that will forever be welcomed wholeheartedly whenever he visits Turner’s Cross for a Cork City FC game.
Over his time playing with the Leesiders, the Cockney Rebel cemented his status as a fans’ favourite. He played for the club and wore the City jersey with as much pride and passion that any supporter wanted to see from the players representing their club.
Murphy now is presently based in America, embarking on the latest chapter of his footballing life in the coaching side of the game. At the moment, the 36-year old is currently coaching with the Carolina Elite Soccer Academy (CESA), working with their girls ECNL (Elite Clubs National League) teams, while also serving as the CESA Plus Director, offering one-on-one technical and tactical training sessions.
“Over the time of being here, I have really learnt a lot in terms of how I want to coach, how I want the players to play, what players need we to work on,” describes Murphy.
“Getting to know the individual and understanding their needs is a massive part about coaching because everyone learns differently. Some kids learn from being told what to do and how to do certain things.
“Some kids learn from just standing back and watching it or watching video clips. For me, I try to tell the kids that you hear stories of Ronaldo, Messi and these top players in the world, and they are always the last to leave training or always the first one there.
“There is a reason for that is because their mindset is even though they are good, they still know they can be better. There are still things they know they can improve on.
“Trying to get the kids to have that mindset that you always need to improve, you never are the finished article, even when you get to the professional game.
“A player I would have played with would have been Joe Gamble, he was always in the gym and working on his strength and always trying to be physically stronger.
“There were certain players who I played with at Cork who would always stay behind and do free-kicks and other things you needed to work on and progress. I don’t think kids get that access which I would love to see kids get access to, to see what these players do after training.”
Murphy had noticed how soccer in the United States has been growing as a sport.
“It is really growing. I mean, in terms of kids, they probably now know a lot more about what is going on in terms of Europe, teams and players.
“You could watch soccer all day, every day in America. I mean in terms of the structures of the clubs and what is available to the kids, it is something that you would probably never see in youth level in Ireland anyway.
“With the pay-to-play scheme, it makes other things available. We have a facility which is amazing, which is like 16 full-grass floodlit fields which are like Turner’s Cross.”
From Colin O’Brien with Ireland U17s to Neale Fenn at Longford Town, a lot of the players that Murphy played with at Cork City are now forging their paths in the coaching world.
“I think Colin (Healy) always had that. I think even when I was coming towards the end of my career, he would talk through a game.
“His game-understanding, how to play a game and how to win, how to beat a team and develop, was very evident. It was so evident in terms of experiences he has had as a player and the coaches he worked under.
“The knowledge he has of the game is second to none. Any kid who is being coached by Colin at the moment is lucky.
“I think Colin is going to go on to do very good things. Even Colin O’Brien, he used to be very into the coaching side of it.
“I know he was doing it while he was playing. Liam Kearney as well is very meticulous in how he wants to do stuff.
“Liam was out here in America with me and I know that Liam is meticulous in what he wants to do, how he wants to play, how he sets out training and his general coaching methods.”
Watching on from Stateside, Murphy still keenly follows the fortunes of the Rebel Army.
With the fans now running Cork City Football Club, he feels the club is most definitely in the right hands.
“The best thing that ever happened to Cork City was FORAS taking over, really. I think that the ideas and the structures they have in place are the reason why the team is successful. If you are successful and you do well off the field, then it breeds onto the field.
“I think that is why for years, Cork always had that inconsistency of one year they’ll do well, the next two to three years they wouldn’t do well and then they’ll do well again.
“Whereas now it seems as though John (Caulfield), the rest of the club and the people on the board have got a stable footing there.
“They have been challenging for titles every year. I think that the people of Cork, that is what they want to see.
“I think that because you have got the consistency of how the club is run off the field, it is easier to do it on the field.”