A FORMER League Cup winner in both England and Scotland has now hit the back of the net doing something very different after a foray into the nightlife of Marbella and Essex.
This former roving left-back was born in Hartlepool in 1984 and was a graduate of Middlesbrough’s academy alongside future England winger Stewart Downing.
But international recognition also came our man’s way also, with his displays at youth level earning him Three Lions’ caps of his own for the under-16s.
Despite a first-team squad packed with superstar names such as Croatian striker Alen Boksic, Brazilian World Cup winner Juninho, now England boss Gareth Southgate and Paul Ince, the defender soon found himself sitting alongside those famous faces in the Boro dressing-room.
And it did not take long for him to get an opportunity under then boss Steve McClaren – and he even marked it with a debut goal.
The player we are talking about is David Murphy, who burst on to the scene with a strike against Northampton in the League Cup – a competition he enjoyed great success in both sides of the border – back in 2001.
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More appearances in the cups followed for the then teen that season before he made his Premier League bow off the bench in a 2-1 win over Fulham.
Another eight appearances followed in the next campaign but his progress was halted by a broken foot at the start of the 2003/04 season.
Once recovered, he headed down to League One with Barnsley in order to regain his fitness, playing ten times and scoring twice for the Terriers.
Now with a thirst for first-team football and his contract up at Boro, he headed north to join Scottish Premiership side Hibernian that summer.
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Murphy went on to become a legend at Easter Road throughout his four years there and played the full 90 minutes as they thrashed Kilmarnock 5-1 in the 2007 Scottish League Cup final.
Later that year he etched his name further into Hibernian folklore as his strike sealed a famous 1-0 victory over Rangers at Ibrox to send them top of the league for the first time in seven years.
His performances were catching the eye of several clubs back down over the border, and the lure of the Premier League proved too hard to resist when Birmingham City coughed up £1.5million to sign him in January 2008.
Unfortunately, he was unable to stop the Blues from being relegated but he played a key role in their instant promotion back from the Championship.
Agonisingly for Murphy, he suffered a broken kneecap and missed the entire first campaign back in the top-flight.
But he celebrated his return to action with a goal in, yes you guessed it, the League Cup in a win over Rochdale that helped set Brum on the road to glory.
Birmingham went on to lift the trophy that season, memorably beating Arsenal 2-1 at Wembley, where Murphy was an unused substitute.
That also secured them European football for the first time in 50 years, and he was back amongst the goals in 2-1 victory at Club Brugge in the Europa League.
Birmingham also suffered relegation again in the same season as their cup success, but Murphy scored seven goals to help them reach the play-offs and earn a new two-year contract.
He was then sidelined with knee cartilage damage for ten months but bounced back again to return to the first-team fold.
However, an adverse reaction in his knee meant he had to go under the knife again before further injury setbacks followed, leading to him announcing his retirement two days before his 30th birthday.
During his playing career, Murphy invested some of his money earned into bars in both Marbella and Essex.
But after meeting businessman Garry Wells, the two are now partners of the highly-successful Wells CRS commercial refurb firm who work across the country.
And he is loving life more than he ever did out on the pitch.
Murphy told the Northern Echo: “The last few years have been fantastic. It comes down to trust and me and Garry trust each other 100 per cent.
“We both have the same ideas and thought processes on how we want to grow and expand. It is rare in a partnership.
“For me it is a completely different world to what I was used to but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Even when I played I didn’t get wrapped up in the limelight, I just wanted to concentrate on football.
“But now I am away from that world, I am still dealing with lads on a day-to-day basis and it’s been easy to transfer skills and qualities gained from my playing career into this field. Team morale is key.”
He added: “I get a buzz dealing with the clients, keeping them all happy, and it is all worth it when you see the finished product.
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“I was involved in bars and clubs in Marbella and Essex during my playing days and I wanted to get involved in the refurb side of the business after I retired in 2014 because of injury.
“I did a bit in football initially, scouting, but quickly found out that staying in the game wasn’t for me. I wanted to broaden my horizons and set myself a new challenge.”
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