Now here’s some news designed to cheer us all up. The morning edition of the main News International tabloid claims that Danny Murphy is close to concluding negotiations with Fulham over an extension to his current contract, which expires at the end of the season.
Fears had grown given Martin Jol’s rumoured reluctance to offer new contracts to players as early as previous managers that Murphy might be leaving Craven Cottage at the end of the current campaign. But the Fulham captain, speaking after Saturday’s dramatic come-from-behind victory over Wigan, said there was never any serious doubt about his future.
I have spoken to the club a couple of times but there’s no great urgency with me because I’m happy and they are happy with me. I’d be surprised if it didn’t get sorted. The squad is as good as it’s been. You can take three or four out and put three or four in and not worry.
This sort of phlegmatic approach is why Murphy’s revered at Fulham. He might get a bit tetchy at times when things aren’t going well, but he’s a terrific ambassador for the football club and a role model for so many of burgeoning young talents. He’s had to get to grips with Jol’s ambition to lower the average age of the side – and recently had a spell out of the first team. But he came back into the team swiftly – proving that he must definitely spell makes Fulham’s tick – and took his 81st minute replacement by Kerim Frei, which actually inadvertently provided the winner.
Murphy’s almost seamless transition from thoughtful skipper to perceptive pundit (he’s appeared both as a co-commentator and studio guest for Sky during their Premier League coverage this season) has sparked questions about his future career. Like the vast majority of Fulham fans, I’d like Danny to remain at Motspur Park long after he decides the time is right to hang up his boots. He’d be able to study for his coaching badges in a familiar environment – preparing him for a time when he might just occupy the Riverside technical area with as much passion and purpose as he currently fills that crucial central midfield berth.