Obituary: John Michael Murray, 87

John Michael Murray was committed to youth football. Picture: contributed
John Michael Murray was committed to youth football. Picture: contributed
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A much-loved former football official has died at the age of 87.

John Michael Murray was born in Musselburgh in March 1927 and went on to take the reins at local club, Musselburgh Windsor FC.

He got involved in amateur football by chance one Saturday afternoon. He had recently given up following Hibs after being left appalled by the spread of hooliganism across the game in Scotland.

Along with his friend, Musselburgh councillor Bill Caird, he gave up his season ticket after witnessing scenes at Easter Road he described as “appalling”.

After finding himself at a loose end some weeks later, John stumbled across boys club Musselburgh Windsor FC in action at Pinkie Playing Fields in the East Lothian town.

Initially, John fought off the persuasive powers of legendary founder Joe Brown, who was determined to bring fresh blood into the club.

Little did John know that he would go on to become linked so tightly to Musselburgh Windsor FC that he would be known around the community simply as Mr Windsor.

Mr Brown’s persistence eventually paid off and he got his man, with John joining the ranks in 1972 before spending more than 30 years serving and acting for the good of Scottish youth football.

In his first season, Windsor reached the Scottish Cup final, but were beaten by Salvesen 2-1.

A year later, the sides incredibly met again in the final, only for Musselburgh to turn the tables and take home the trophy after a 2-1 win of their own.

John always described it as his favourite moment at the club’s helm, branding it “the making of Musselburgh Windsor FC”.

When the Scottish Youth Football Association was formed in May 1999, John was one of its inaugural members, serving on the executive and finance committee and attending its first ever meeting.

He was fully committed to the youth football cause in this country and after frequently travelling to Glasgow and stayed long into the night during meetings at Hampden as he helped shape the future of the game in Scotland.

John remained chairman at Musselburgh Windsor FC until the end of the 2000/01 season and presided over significant changes at the club.

Regarded as the godfather of Windsor, even in “retirement” he attended most monthly club meetings, offering his observations and sound advice drawn from his many years of experience.

The club even named a prestigious annual award after him. The John Murray Shield has for the last 20 years honoured the contribution made to Windsor by coaches, players, supporters or sponsors and is regarded as the club’s highest accolade.