In the first of a new series, Edward Marshall describes why Matt Murray tops the list as his Wolves G.O.A.T.
While everyone (including me) with an Old Gold heart looks at our current number 28 with feelings usually associated with your spouse, I still hold a special place in my heart for one player.
That player is Mr Matthew William Murray.
I can’t even think his name without reminiscing about that game in Cardiff or the FA Cup game against Newcastle, there are so many others.
I grew up as a Wolves fan in the 90’s when half your school inexplicably support United, because, you know, the Black Country is known for its infamous Mancunian quarter.
Watching us do well in cups and almost get to the promised land with Bully was what we had. Bloody Bolton.
Championship Manager was a refuge where you could make Wolves the world-beaters that we wanted them to be. I once had original Ronaldo at the Molineux in the side upfront, but that is another story for another time.
I found myself trying to convince myself that Simon Osborn was underrated, Adam Proudlock was the next Bull and it was okay that Neil Emblen was a striker, a defender and indeed a midfielder. That man played in every position!
Don’t get me wrong, I still loved my team. Singing my heart out and sat in the South Bank when Kevin Muscat was attempting GBH every other week.
But after we sold Robbie Keane to Coventry for nothing, Coventry! I had no one who had my heart.
Enter stage right, Matt Murray.
My new hero, seemingly coming from nowhere. Thrust into the first team because he was all we had. And boy, did we have a player.
He looked HUGE in that goal. It may be the inner teenager in me or my firmly placed old-gold tinted glasses that remembers him this way, but it felt as though he came for every cross and got it.
Making every save in the book. One on ones, I backed him and not the striker. Granted, he couldn’t kick, but even Superman had a weakness so, no one is perfect.
Being behind the goal that day in Cardiff when the penalty was being taken, I had no doubt he would save it.
To me, he was Matt Murray, future England number one! The only one fit to take Seaman’s mantle and would keep it for the next decade.
Like I would have to do with his big mate Joleon, I was even coming to terms that one day, I may have to let him go. Let him fly the coop to better himself. Leave me and the rest of us, to become that player I knew he would be.
That day in Wales, I thought we’d made it. I am still convinced to this day, with both Matt Murray and Lescott in the team our season in the Premier League would have been so different.
Then came the injuries. Shoulder breaks and on-going knee problems mean he barely plays 3 seasons.
Throughout all this time, I knew, I still believed that we had England’s number one in our treatment room. No one did what he did.
I was telling anyone who would listen, and most didn’t, that when he came back, he’d bring us back up and would keep us there.
I could not have been smugger that season he came back under Mick. There he was, doing what I said he would. PFA Fan’s Player of the Year, our Player of the Season and named in the Team of the Year.
Dragged that team of misfits into the play-offs. Then another shoulder injury and another knee injury and we would never seen him play again down the Molineux.
I can’t help but wonder. In a game full of ‘what if’s’ I find myself deliberating this more than any other.
Looking back at what could have been, the average England goalkeepers. Robert Green, Paul Robinson, David James etc. Murray was so, so much better than all of them.
He played 100 games for us. 100 perfect games for me.
While I look at our current team and think, wow, Neves, Jota, Jimenez and the previously mention Mouthino. They are some of the greatest players to ever wear the shirt.
I do not feel how I did when watching Matt Murray play.
Maybe this is a controversial choice, or just letting my inner teenager/hipster mind lead my heart?
But with that current crop of players I mentioned and even they have failed to displace Matt Murray, maybe no one ever will?
Uncle George may prove me wrong in a few seasons, but until then Matt Murray is my personal G.O.AT.
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