As we begin our build up to our final pre-season friendly with Blackpool on Saturday, SLE goes back in time to feature a man who had successful stints at both clubs – the one and only Big John Murphy.
John began his career with Chester City back in 1995, and after making his way through the youth setup went on to make over one hundred league appearances for our Cheshire neighbours – scoring twenty times.
In the summer of 1999, a host of teams looked to secure John’s signature before he finally opted to move to Bloomfield Road on the eve of the new season.
Murphy would go on to become a true club legend with the Tangerines, and would spend the next seven years regularly getting on the scoresheet in front of his adoring fans.
All in all, John would make 223 league appearances for Blackpool and notched up an impressive 83 goals in the process.
Also included within this time were three successful trips to the Millennium Stadium. The first of which saw Blackpool overcome Leyton Orient in the 2001 Division Three Play Off Final, and this was followed up by two Football League Trophy victories against Cambridge (2002) and Southend (2004).
In 2006 John made the move to the Moss Rose initially on loan from Bloomfield Road.
After a lacklustre start to the season, former Manchester United and England midfielder Paul Ince had replaced Brian Horton at the helm, charged with the unenviable task of preserving our Football League status.
Murphy would play an integral part in achieving the unthinkable that season, as Macc avoided the drop with a final day draw against Notts County. The match also saw Paul Ince lace up his boots for the final time once safety was assured, and despite only being on the pitch for a short time he even managed to get himself booked!
Despite our great escape act, if you mention John Murphy’s name to any Macc fan then the first thing that they will reply back to you with is a goal scored on 6th January 2007.
After seeing off Walsall at the Bescot Stadium in the Second Round, Macc were handed a dream FA Cup Third Round Tie away at Chelsea.
Thousands of Silkmen supporters packed in to Stamford Bridge to see their side line up against stars such as Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and Andre Shevchenko.
Despite Lampard giving the home side the lead on 16 minutes, Macc gallantly fought back against their illustrious opponents as they tried to get back on level terms.
Five minutes from the interval Chelsea’s defence was finally breached when Murphy took full advantage of Ricardho Carvalho’s slip before calmly slotting the ball past Hilario to send the visiting fans wild.
Parity would only last for one solitary minute however, as Lampard would grab his second of the match on 41 minutes although many of the Silkmen fans were still in party mode so probably didn’t see it anyway!
Lampard would go on to complete his hat-trick on 51 minutes as the hosts romped to a 6 – 1 victory. It was harsh on Macc not least due to the fact that Tommy Lee was undeservedly sent off just after the restart, and with no reserve ‘keeper on the bench defender David Morley had to go in between the posts.
John will forever be remembered for that equalising goal at Stamford Bridge, and despite being released at the end of the 2006-07 season his name will always elicit great memories of a fabulous sixty seconds!
The striker then returned to Chester City for the 2007-08 season before a short spell with Irish side St Patrick’s Athletic.
Murphy has since returned to Blackpool and is currently a member of the coaching setup at Bloomfield Road.