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Former Linfield ace Winkie Murphy is delighted to retire on a high note at Glenavon

By David Mason

William 'Winkie' Murphy will pull down the curtain on a fabulous Irish League career when he walks out against newly-crowned champions Crusaders at Seaview on Saturday.

The big 41-year-old goes out on a high after helping Glenavon clinch a lucrative Europa League slot, worth around £150,000.

It's fitting that the silver fox goes out in such a manner. Before he moved to Mourneview Park two years ago, he picked up every medal on offer in a glorious 16-year period with Linfield - and that includes winning NINE league titles.

But after consultation with Lurgan Blues boss Gary Hamilton, Winkie has decided enough is enough.

"I had a meeting with Gary and Paul Millar yesterday. I told them that I intend to finish my playing days," said Murphy, who began his career at Carrick Rangers before moving to Ards.

He then joined Linfield and the rest, as they say, is history.

"Saturday will be emotional and I'm not ashamed to admit there will be tears in my eyes," said Murphy. "I made my Irish League debut in 1990 for Carrick Rangers and I've enjoyed 25 incredible years.

"But age catches up with everybody in the end. It was in my head to retire after winning the Irish Cup with Glenavon last season, but I decided to give it another year.

"I didn't expect to play much but I ended up playing around 20 games and I'm delighted to go out on a high."

But Murphy will be best remembered for his exploits at Windsor Park, where he is now a cult figure.

"I followed the Blues as a kid, so to play for them, captain them at times and win so much with them was a dream come true," added Murphy. "When I went to Linfield players were getting more money elsewhere, but we knew we would be treated right and we knew we'd have the chance of success.

"I don't think I could sum up what my 16 years at Linfield meant. It might be some time before I am able to reflect on what we achieved as a team from the Clean Sweep to six doubles in seven years. It was incredible."

Belfast Telegraph


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