Vale Hugh Murney

Football Victoria is saddened to learn of the passing of Life Member, North Caulfield and Moreland City Hall of Famer, Hugh Murney.    

Hugh Murney was born in Scotland on January 29 1939, and was a promising young footballer in his homeland, debuting for Greenock Morton at the age of 18 and missing all but five league matches in his first senior season in 1957-58. He became the club’s youngest captain the following season before a move to Dumbarton beckoned in 1961.

A club hopper throughout the early 1960s, Murney moved to Queen of the South in 1962 and Gloucester City in Northern Ireland the following year, before returning to his homeland with East Stirling shortly thereafter.

Hugh Murney
With over 280 league appearances across several clubs in Scotland and Australia, Hugh Murney made an indelible mark with Hakoah over eight seasons.

It was during a party in Paisley while he was with the Stirlingshire club that Murney met Billy McIvor, playing with Kilmarnock at the time. Within weeks, both of them would travel to Melbourne, signing with Hakoah, where they played the remainder of the 1964 Victorian State League season.

While McIvor would move on to Alexander, Murney, or ‘Shuggy’ as he was affectionately known to the football community, would play eight seasons with the club, earning a reputation as a quality half-back during an era where a host of Scots complimented the wave of talent that arrived from the European continent. Arguably his finest moment came in the opening round of the 1968 State League season, where he scored a hat-trick against Alexander. He was also a member of Hakoah's 1966 Dockerty Cup winning team, scoring in their quarter-final win over Box Hill enroute to the final.

Hugh Murney and Ferenc Puskas
Hugh Murney and his brother Gerry Murney, pictured with a young and not so young Ferenc Puskas, and as Shuggy recalled, he "became friendly with the great Ferenc Puskas – we sank a good few beers together."

Olympian and Socceroo Ted Smith has fond recollections of his club teammate, “Shuggy was a very talented player, he had a great leap, but he didn’t like training all that much.” The two forged a strong friendship during their time at Hakoah, but Murney also spent one season at Lions as Player-Coach in 1970, and it was here where he began an even longer and more influential involvement in the game.

The list of clubs that Murney coached reads as a who’s who from metropolitan Melbourne – from an assistant role with Heidelberg United, he took the helm at Albion Rovers (two stints), Western Suburbs, Kew Park Rangers, Prahran Celtic, Richmond Alemannia, North Caulfield, Ashburton and Beaumaris. His list of Championships and promotions are too numerous to mention, but one only has to look at the honours bestowed from two of these clubs to gain an appreciation of his legacy.

Moreland City Team of the Century
Hugh Murney was named as Head Coach of Moreland City's Team of the Century in 2016. Photo courtesy of My World Is Round.

Firstly, in 2003, he was inducted into the North Caulfield Club Hall of Fame, a testament to his influence with its predecessor Hakoah as a player, and Maccabi, where he coached with distinction. In 2016, Moreland City named him as Head Coach in their club Team of the Century due to his unqualified success with amalgamate Kew Park Rangers, where he won the Championship and achieved promotion in successive seasons. 

As Smith points out, Murney was a leader of men, “players were loyal to him, often following him to clubs as he moved through the leagues”. His eye for young talent was also a skill well honed, “he unearthed two very good players in goalkeeper Jeff Olver and full back Steve Blair, both of them going onto distinguished careers in the National Soccer League and with the Socceroos.”

Murney’s influence as a coach in the broader football community was ultimately recognised by Football Victoria in 2014, where he was honoured with Life Membership.

Hugh Murney Life Membership
Hugh Murney was honoured with Football Victoria Life Membership in 2014, alongside Alan Davidson, Theresa Deas, Jimmy Rooney and David Wilson.

Hugh Murney passed away yesterday, aged 83, after a long battle with Dementia. 

The FV Board of Directors, executives and staff send our sincere condolences to the Murney family.