As he lay crumpled in a heap on the Selhurst Park turf in May of 2013, Glenn Murray could have had no way of knowing what the next two years would bring. Fresh from another vital goal in yesterday afternoon’s game at the Britannia Stadium, the experienced striker will finally have felt as though he’d proven himself on the biggest of stages.
Ruled out of the second leg of our play-off game against Brighton, and the final against Watford at Wembley, Glenn was forced to watch on with frustration for a huge chunk of last season, before returning in the closing stages of the campaign, showing some minor glimpses of his class, when offered a chance in the team by the then Palace boss, Tony Pulis.
By the summer, Murray felt as though he was back to something approaching his best, before the arrival of Neil Warnock threw a spanner in the works. Perhaps it was a simple error of judgement on Warnock’s part, but as the transfer deadline neared, Murray was sent out on loan to Reading, with Kevin Doyle arriving as his replacement; unsurprisingly, most Palace fans were utterly dumbfounded by the switch.
Whilst at the Madjeski Stadium, Murray scored goals, just as we all knew he would, with Doyle struggling to make an impact in red and blue. From the stands it was obvious, but things looked destined to remain the same, until the arrival of Alan Pardew, when almost immediately, Murray’s Palace career sparked back into life.
Given a starting place against Dover Athletic in the FA Cup, Murray was given a hero’s welcome by the traveling fans, all of whom were elated to see him back in the side.
Some wondered if it was a mere moment of PR genius from Pardew, a way of getting the fans on his side from the very start, but in the months that have followed, the striker has flourished on numerous occasions, vindicating Pardew’s decision and filling Murray with the belief that his future lies in the top flight.
Far from the lower league journeyman many from outside the club has labeled him prior to this recent run of form, Murray has demonstrated a wily intelligence at the head of the side, holding the ball up with relish, bringing others into the game at every opportunity and displaying an understanding of space that few can better in England’s top division. He may not be blessed with blistering pace or the “look” of a top class striker, but make no mistake, the Cumbrian has always been good enough to mix it with the best.
Having added another goal and an assist to his tally againsg Stoke, Murray has grabbed the limelight afforded to him by Marouane Chamakh’s absence with both hands, proving pivotal to our newfound sense of attacking prowess after a few tactical tweaks by Alan Pardew. Now, Palace look a threat whenever they get into the opposition’s half, with Murray playing a huge role in almost every chance we have.
After plenty of doubts were voiced over Murray’s readiness for the rigours of the Premier League, the frontman is proving that he is here to stay. For many who’ve watched him from week to week since he first pulled on a red and blue shirt, it will be no surprise.
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