The world didn’t stop spinning, the sky failed to turn black and there wasn’t a blood red moon in sight.
Remarkably, as Che Adams proved against Chesterfield last Saturday afternoon, there is life after Jamie Murphy. Despite his sale to Brighton and Hove Albion 24 hours earlier being painted in some quarters as an apocalyptic event. Footballers come, footballers go. New heroes emerge. You’d think, post-Bosman, folk would be used to it. Judging by the amount of hand-wringing, self-flagellation and vainglorious commentary surrounding the move, clearly not.
Now, before I get to the main thrust of this week’s column, let’s confront another, albeit related, issue. Yes, Sheffield United are a selling club. Just like every other team in League One, League Two and the Championship for that matter. Oh, and while we’re on the subject, most of those in the top-flight too. Admittedly, no club which loses all of its best talent during a single fire sale can claim to be serious about achieving its objectives. But, like it or not, there is a pecking order. Just as Rochdale discovered when Matt Done joined United last season. Or Ilkeston following Adams’ move. The trick is anticipating, analysing and exploiting the market. Being ahead of the game.
Anyway, back to Murphy’s departure which, on closer inspection, looks like a pretty decent piece of business for all three parties involved. Brighton were in desperate need of a winger. United banked a pretty hefty fee, at least by third tier standards, knowing full well they had a ready-made, younger and potentially more explosive replacement waiting in the wings. Murphy, meanwhile, can get his teeth into the type of fresh challenge which, judging by some of his performances towards the end of last season, he probably needs. Don’t get me wrong. The former Scotland under-21 international is an excellent player and, like David Edgar who also features on these pages, a decent, down-to-earth bloke. The type of person you hope does really, really well. But, all too often as United approached and then entered the play-offs, he went missing or failed to deliver. Adams, it must be said, didn’t. Which suggests, returning to matters surrounding Murphy, his potential with United might have been reached.
Had United lost him at this point last year, or even in January, it would have been a retrograde step. Right now, even though most of us wish Murphy was still in situ, it could turn out to be a pretty shrewd move. Timing is everything when it comes to transfers.