Club news

Murray's Non-league Story: Plasterer To Premier League

By Kieran Cleeves • 12 October 2018

Brighton & Hove Albion striker Glenn Murray revealed the fascinating story behind his journey from working as a plasterer to scoring goals in the Premier League, as he pinpointed a ten-goal spell at non-league Barrow as a pivotal part of his career.

Ahead of Non-League Day on Saturday, the Seagulls striker reflected on the pathway he took into the professional game, as he plied his trade further down the footballing pyramid in search of fulfilling his childhood dreams.

Murray tells his story…

“I was working as a plasterer, it was quite a tough gig, we were up early in the morning and I used to get home after a day’s work at around five o’clock, have some cold pasta and get ready for a game.

“Once I started playing amateur and non-league football, the dream of making it as a professional had sailed — I felt the dream was no longer achievable.

“I went and played in America. I spent three seasons over there and played from March until September/October. I then came home and played non-league for Workington Reds from when I landed until March.

“On my third season in America, Sunderland came out on a pre-season tour and Mick McCarthy invited me back for a trial. I spent about eight weeks in Sunderland and it never materialised.

“Mick asked if I wanted him to call anyone, and I asked him to call Paul Simpson at Carlisle for me. He played with Paul at Barnsley and he said it wasn’t a problem to make the call.

“I waited for the call from Carlisle and it didn’t come for about six weeks. So in the meantime I gave up and lost interest in football. I was fed up because I had a taste and then got knocked back again.

“I got a random call on a Tuesday night and was asked if I wanted to come and play for Carlisle’s reserves. My first thought was ‘I haven’t trained and haven’t been playing football’.

“But I managed to play and get on the scoresheet. I was then invited for a trial with the first team, I trained there for ten weeks but Paul just couldn’t make his mind up.

“He said ‘Barrow have been on the phone’ and they had been in the Conference North — Carlisle were in the Conference at the time, so they were only one league above.

“He said ‘I can’t make my mind up on you at the minute. I understand you’re using a lot of petrol money and you’re not making any money. I know you’re living with your parents but you need to earn.’

“He said ‘Lee Turnbull has been on the phone from Barrow, why don’t you go down there and play on Saturdays but train here during the week’, so I was happy to do that.

“I trained every day with Carlisle, keen as mustard, and played for Barrow. I scored ten goals in ten games and gave Paul Simpson no option but to give me a contract.

“He gave me a contract until the end of the season. I scored on my debut and got promoted. I then got a new contract and the rest is history.

“The ten goals for Barrow were critical. I don’t know if four goals in ten games would have done it for him, I’m not sure if he was looking for a goalscorer or a target man.

“Those ten goals in ten games earned me that opportunity to progress. Non-league football was huge for me.”

Click here to read about Non-League Day and what games you could attend on Saturday afternoon.