- in Science
“I was working in a fish factory in Aberdeenshire. I went down to Aston Villa and I think scored the quickest-ever hat-trick at Villa Park – in the first 12 minutes of the game – and they more or less signed me there and then.”
Scott Murray used to spend his weekdays gutting fish, his Saturday afternoons playing Highland League football, and his Saturday evenings watching his heroes on Match of the Day.
That was until the winger’s scintillating display for Aston Villa reserves in 1994, a blistering hat-trick in a trial match that catapulted him from little Fraserburgh to an English heavyweight, and ensured he never worked another fish factory shift.
Incredibly, from that humble start, Murray found himself running drills alongside giants of English football. Dwight Yorke, the striker who would become a treble winner with Manchester United, was all of a sudden his team-mate.
Although making just four first-team appearances in three years at Villa, he still cherishes his time there over two decades on.
“It’s four more than I would have ever expected,” Murray says. “At the time they had players like Dalian Atkinson, Dwight Yorke and Paul McGrath. I had gone from watching them on Saturday on Match of the Day in Mintlaw to training with them on Monday.
“It was unbelievable really for me. I think I learned more there in three years than the rest of my 20 years put together.”
‘The body was shutting down’
A move to Bristol City followed, and it was there where Murray earned cult status, scoring 91 goals in 426 appearances for the Ashton Gate side.
But his love affair with the club does not end there. In 2012, three years after he had moved on, then-City manager Derek McInnes rang him up.
“He said, ‘The kit man is leaving, ‘you would be my number one choice”. I was turning 37, the games weren’t getting any easier, the body was shutting down, so it was a no-brainer,” Murray says.
The Aberdonian has been in the role ever since. His day now begins at 06:15 when he arrives at the training ground to prepare the circa 70 kits belonging to the first team, under-23s and staff.
It may not sound like rocket science, but players can be very particular over their clobber – as Murray was soon to discover.
“In one of the games, there’s four lads in the team who wear full-length socks,” he says.” I got the delivery for socks and they’re all cut-off socks, so I had to phone up the four lads and tell them the bad news,” he says.
“Three were alright, one wasn’t so happy. He ended up giving away two of the goals so I got a bit of a bollocking! It’s the first and last time I have done that so I definitely learned my lesson there.”
Murray has no desire to move in to coaching, saying he lacks the “little daftie streak” required to be a manager.
He also enjoys a rare luxury in modern-day football – stability.
“Usually when a new manager comes in he leaves the kit man, so unless some foreign tycoon comes in and changes everything hopefully I’ll be safe for a few years yet,” he says.
“While the club still want me to do the job I’ll carry on doing it, if it’s the next 20 years then so be it – happy days.”