Murray lauds Carlisle ambition
By Stephen Bateman
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Paul Murray snubbed Crystal Palace, Hull and Oldham before rejoining Carlisle United.
Paul Murray snubbed Crystal Palace, Hull City and Oldham in favour of a return to his hometown club Carlisle United.
The 29-year-old has joined The Cumbrians until the end of the season and will be hoping to recapture the success he enjoyed during his first spell in the Border City.
Murray featured heavily during United's successful 1994/95 campaign - a season which saw them reach the final of the Auto Windscreen Shield whilst also winning the old Division Three title by a clear eight points.
His eye-catching performances soon began turning the heads of watching scouts, however, and in March 1996 he left Brunton Park for Queens Park Rangers - initially on loan - before sealing a permanent switch two months later.
After a successful spell at Loftus Road he made an ill-judged move to Southampton before linking up with current Palace boss Iain Dowie at Oldham Athletic.
Although he proved a popular figure at Boundary Park, in 2004 he left in order to link up with old Carlisle boss Mick Wadsworth, who was then manager of Portuguese outfit Beira Mar.
A combination of Wadsworth's exit and a serious knee injury saw him leave Beira, ultimately causing him to head back to his native Cumbria where he impressed United boss Paul Simpson while taking advantage of the club's training facilities.
Now Murray, who has confirmed that he did consider an approach from Dowie, is targeting another promotion at Brunton Park and, considering the irresistible form that The Cumbrians are presently in, few would suggest that he will be disappointed.
"I spoke to Iain at length and he wanted me to go down there but without my registration I wouldn't have been able to play for their reserves and show them what I could do," he told the News & Star.
"I've seen the potential here. If I didn't think this club was going forward, I might not have signed. But I'm totally convinced we're going to be successful.
"I've come here to get promotion. Carlisle will be one of the best clubs in League One and I'd rather be here than anywhere else in that division.
"And then we've got to kick on. The long-term aim must be to get into The Championship - we can't look back now.''
Murray is the latest in a raft of high-profile signings to arrive in northern Cumbria, and he feels that it is only a matter of time until the football world awakens to the club's massive potential.
He added: "Other people will see the club has signed Michael Bridges, Mark Rivers and now Paul Murray, and they'll sit up and take notice.
"Carlisle United is on the map again and we're coming back in a big way."