Bohs hope to keep Murphy
League champions Bohemians are praying that they will not lose their double-winning manager and their award-winning goalkeeper by the end of the week.
It's been another difficult week for the Dalymount Park club as they were in court in Dublin yesterday, where a case for wrongful dismissal was taken by their former manager Sean Connor, who was sacked by Bohs 12 months ago.
Connor and Bohs agreed to settle out of court after one day's evidence before Judge Brian McGovern.
Although both parties have refused to reveal details of the settlement under a confidentiality agreement, it's believed that Bohs have paid Connor a settlement of €50,000. This takes the final tally of costs against Bohs close to the six-figure mark, but well below the figure of €220,000 which had been touted in some sections of the media.
Today could see more trophies coming in the direction of Dalymount as Bohs' Pat Fenlon, Owen Heary and Brian Murphy are front-runners for the big prizes at the eircom Soccer Writers Association of Ireland's annual awards dinner in Dublin tonight.
But there's no guarantee that Fenlon and Murphy will still be at the club next season, as Murphy has been linked with a move to Scotland on a free transfer under a clause in his contract, while Fenlon could decide to quit in frustration at the financial position of the club which has left him with just 11 senior players contracted for next season.
Fenlon, who won the double in his first season as Bohs manager, is due to meet club officials before the awards dinner later today.
But the former Shels boss is growing impatient with off-field events at Dalymount.
Bohs have told Fenlon that they have no money to add players to the squad or re-sign players from the double-winning squad who are out of contract: nine of last season's squad are out of contract, three have left but the other six are in limbo as Fenlon is keen to retain some of them but does not have the finance to offer them new deals.
Fenlon has also been forced to withdraw offers he had made to other players he wanted to bring to the club.
Fenlon does not want to quit Bohs -- especially as he walked out of his previous job at Derry City only last year -- less than one year into a three-year contract, but Bohs will have to work hard to persuade him to stick with them over the winter months.
And the Bohs boss is also said to be angry at the way in which it became public that star keeper Brian Murphy had a clause in his contact that would allow him leave on a free transfer if a foreign club made a bid in a two-week window after the end of the season -- the deadline for that clause closes on Sunday.
Fenlon reportedly received an initial approach from the manager of a British club -- believed to be SPL side Hibernian -- who were willing to bid £150,000 for Murphy, but that offer was off the table when it was then made known that Murphy could go on a free transfer in that two-week period.
Murphy, who was today named as the eircom Soccer Writers Association of Ireland Player of the Month for November, on the back of his heroics in the FAI Cup final, today spoke of the move and the former Manchester City man stated that he has no wish to return to Britain.
"I don't know where the bid came from to be honest. I think it's been in the papers now that I'm on a free, so if Hibs are doing their homework they will realise that," said Murphy.
"A person in the club announced it so I wasn't going to go to the papers about it. If the club want to mention it out there then fair enough.
"Last year I turned down a move back to England. It would have to be the right move for me career-wise and financially. Career-wise is the most important thing for me at the moment. But if that's not right then I have no problems with staying, we just need a bit of stability here in the club with everyone pulling in the right direction. At the moment that doesn't seem to be happening.
"It would be nice to see the club pulling in the same direction that the players and the manager want to go. We have to wait and see as its entirely in their hands and in Pat's," added Murphy, who stood by a decision by the squad to reject a club request to take a 30pc pay cut.
"They haven't enforced cuts, the players had a meeting although we didn't get to meet the board. The clubs in this league have agreed contracts with players and some clubs haven't honoured them.
"Fellas have families and mortgages to look after and people forget that, it's not just about football, its a job. To take that cut, and the way it was put to us was a bit unfair.
"We'll probably have 50-plus games next year and you can't go into the season with a skeleton squad. You'll end up forfeiting games and getting fined and kicked out of the league. I hope it gets sorted out as there's a good thing going here," added Murphy.