Belfast Telegraph

David Jeffrey: Darren Murray's bid to move from Portadown to Cliftonville is disrespectful

By David Jeffrey

I lost a little respect for Darren Murray this week.

The way he has gone about trying to engineer a move away from Portadown to Cliftonville is unprofessional and shows no sense of loyalty to Ports boss Ronnie McFall.

I’ve met Darren a number of times, enjoyed his company and believe he is a good lad at heart.

He is a talented player, comes from north Belfast and I know has a desire to move to Cliftonville.

But he has gone about this the wrong way. I’m all for ambition, but make sure it is done in the correct manner.

I read that Cliftonville were interested in Darren — especially with their top striker Joe Gormley having moved on to professional football with Peterborough.

But Reds boss Thomas Breslin was quick to point out that Darren was under contract at the Ports for a further two years and it was unlikely the Shamrock Park club would entertain allowing their striker to leave.

Darren put up on social media that he was going nowhere and was committed to Portadown.

However, just a few days later he demanded a move away from the Ports by sending them a transfer request via email. I thought this was totally disrespectful to Ronnie, his team-mates but, more importantly, the Portadown fans.

Darren said his reasoning for moving on was to further enhance his chances of making it across the water in full time football.

Is this then saying that Portadown are not a big club?

I can tell you Portadown may be a provincial club but they ARE a top club in the Danske Bank Premiership with excellent talent in their squad.

It should be noted that they finished above Cliftonville in the league last season and also reached the Irish Cup Final. This was without a lot of input from Darren who, through indiscipline, was out of action for some time through suspension.

Darren was a nonentity when Ronnie brought him to Portadown from Donegal Celtic.

He gave him an opportunity to shine in a decent team and this undoubtedly helped Darren improve as a player.

Darren should be indebted to his manager, instead he wants to turn his back on him. Ronnie now has a major issue because Darren is obviously not committed to the Portadown cause, doesn’t want to be there and therefore will no longer produce his best in a red shirt if he is forced to stay. It’s human nature. Portadown have been backed into a corner and this is totally unfair on the excellent supporters of the club.

Darren believes moving to Solitude could give him a chance of following the likes of Liam Boyce and Joe Gormley across the water.

I certainly feel Darren should follow the example of Liam to become a top player — by focusing on a strict strength and conditioning programme.

When he went to Ross County, Liam lost a great deal of weight through a whole new programme of fitness and this has undoubtedly allowed him to improve as a player in the Scottish Premiership.

Darren maybe felt when he sent that transfer request that he was doing the honourable thing.

But in my mind, he scored a huge own goal.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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