By Tony Tomlinson
Buxton FC’s longest-serving manager, Bob Murphy, has died at the age of 83.
Murphy’s seven-year stint at the Silverlands,his last permanent job in management before retirement,may not have had the number of honours won as in his earlier magnificent spell at Mossley but the Buxton challenge was of a different order when he arrived in the early summer of 1985.
The club was at its lowest ebb for 30 years, facing a second successive appeal for re-election to the NPL, and there were knowledgeable observers of the non-league scene who believed it was only Murphy’s appointment which persuaded fellow NPL clubs to give a vote of confidence to Buxton.
With finances extremely tight,the challenge was considerable but Murphy gradually rebuilt the club’s image, performances and league position, bringing in talented players such as Paul Bennett, Robert Brown, Leroy Dove, Kevin Gorman, Kevan Keelan, Stuart Lowe, Jim O’Donnell, Tibor Szabo and briefly the American Ted Eck.
It was the sales of Ally Pickering and Tony Rodwell which helped Murphy raise a remarkable £60,000 in fees over the seven years for the club.
Pickering’s transfer to Rotherham United, negotiated by Murphy, is still a club record.
In recent years Murphy had occasionally returned to the Peak and could always be sure of a warm welcome and he will be long remembered as a master manager.