Brighton & Hove Albion striker Glenn Murray admitted that he always wanted to return to the Seagulls after leaving in the summer of 2011.
The forward was a key part of the side that won promotion to England’s second tier in the 2010/11 campaign, scoring 22 goals in the process before leaving for Crystal Palace that off-season. But he emphasised that he always hoped for a return to the south coast.
He said, “I didn’t think I’d be scoring a goal for Brighton again when I left – but I always hoped that it would happen.
“I always felt that I left the club with unfinished business and after having had such a good season when we went up with a good group, it was difficult.
“We were always being shown round the Amex too and we saw the progress – to miss out on that and the chance to play for the club in the Championship was tough."
Murray’s return was complete when he linked up with Chris Hughton’s squad ahead of the promotion-winning 2016/17 campaign on loan from AFC Bournemouth – a move that was made permanent that winter.
He revealed that his first impressions of the group that summer were extremely positive, as well as looking back on the significance of the switch at that stage of his career.
“I signed the deal and came out with the squad in pre-season to Tenerife and it felt good – it was what I wanted, and I was thankful the club had shown interest.
“For me personally it was a big move – people thought that the move was because of where I lived and the proximity, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
“I’d seen a lot of Brighton and I liked the way they were playing in the forward areas – they’d gone so close the year before so for me to come back just made sense.
“It meant I could spend extra time at the club to work on extra bits and take a bit more care as I got older – that journey out to Spain felt like a homecoming.
“It was an important move for me because there was a bit of pressure on it – the move to AFC Bournemouth hadn’t worked out and at my age one more move where you don’t play or score can be difficult.”
That season’s top marksman opened his account in the side’s first home contest of the campaign – a 3-0 victory over Nottingham Forest.
The forward grabbed a brace after Anthony Knockaert had given the home side the lead on the south coast, and he recalled his fond memories of that day.
“Scoring against Nottingham Forest was really nice – pre-season had been a bit topsy turvy and I didn’t feel like it had gone to plan.
“To get out at the Amex for the first time as a home player was really special and it was a Friday night game on Sky Sports too which gave it a bit of an edge.
“I remember going up to Stanmer House and just sitting there with a coffee quietly and thinking ahead to what might happen that night – it couldn’t have gone any better.”
Murray was speaking as part of an exclusive interview on Seagulls TV, where the forward watched back a selection of his century of strikes for the club.
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