Graeme Murty ends Royal dream on hat-trick highBy Jonny Fordham
July 21, 2009
Loyal Royals descended on Madejski Stadium to give Reading’s greatest and most successful captain Graeme Murty a hero’s send-off last night.
The right-back, who signed from York City for £700,000 in July 1998, played more than 300 games in his 11-years at the club and captained them to the Premiership for the first time in their 135-year history.
Sadly his fairy-tale story in Berkshire ended when he was released by the club at the end of last season.
Famous for scoring a penalty against Queens Park Rangers in 2006 when Reading reached the top-flight, Murty helped himself to three on an emotional goodbye at his testimonial.
He was joined by Nicky Shorey and Steve Sidwell, now at Aston Villa, Glen Little, Leroy Lita, Phil Parkinson and John Salako amongst others.
Royals’ record sale Kevin Doyle, who joined Wolves for £6.5million last month, was unfortunately ruled out after picking up an injury with his new club out in Australia.
When Murty got his first touch for the record-breaking 106 Championship side less than a minute into the game the whole stadium erupted with shouts of ‘shoot’.
That set a precedent for the rest of the evening and ever the dedicated professional, Murty continued to bomb down the right-wing throughout the full 90 minutes bringing back pleasant memories for his adoring 7,500 plus fans watching.
Many who know Murts will also tell you that even at 33-years-old, he still loves a practical joke.
And when the linesman judged striker Leroy Lita to be offside whilst clean through on goal, the 106 captain marched up to the man in black, stole his flag and handed it to the referee who then booked his colleague much to the delight of the fans.
And Murty was intent that nobody else was going to steal the show when he smashed in a penalty against his own keeper Scott Howie on 32 minutes after a foul on Simon Church.
Bizarrely, Murty scored past Howie keeping his 100 per cent penalty record and becoming probably the only player in Reading’s history to score an own-goal from the spot.
Right-winger Hal Robson-Kanu smashed in Royals’ second in the 38th minute after a Beckham-esque 40-yard cross-field pass from new season-long loan signing Ryan Bertrand at left back.
Murty then doubled his tally with another penalty, this time for his own side, after the referee pointed to the spot 10 minutes into the second half and minutes later he completed his hat-rick from the spot.
Legendary ex-captain Parkinson, who made more than 400 Royals appearances, got the second biggest cheer of the night when he replaced Brynjar Gunnarsson.
Substitute Scot Davies rattled in Reading’s third to spoil Murty’s party, but the full-back would have let him off for the quality of his finish.
Final Score: Reading 3 (Murty, Robson-Kanu, Davies) Reading 106 2 (Murty, Murty)
Referee: Michael Rowley
Reading: Federici (Hamer), Rosenior (Armstrong), Bertrand (Taylor), Karacan (Mills), Cisse (Bikey), Pearce (Davies), Tabb (Matejovsky), Sigurdsson, Church (Bignall), Henry (Antonio), Robson-Kanu (Bryant, Noel Hunt).
Reading 106: Hahnemann (Howie), Murty, Shorey (Hunter), Sidwell (Watson), Duberry (Brown), Gunnarsson (Poulston), Halls (Hateley), Little (Parkinson), Salako (Butler), Lita, Cureton (Igoe).