Date: 26th January 2011 at 11:25am
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Brighton stiker, Glenn Murray made his 100th league appearance for The Seagulls against Colchester United.

Glenn Murray’s man of the match appearance against Colchester United marked his 100th league appearance for Brighton & Hove Albion. It has been a story of many ups and downs since he arrived from Rochdale in 2008.

He was signed by Dean Wilkins for £300,000 during the 2008 January transfer window, from Rochdale, then of League Two. He came on as a substitute away at Northampton, looking lively in a 1-0 defeat.

Murray soon endeared himself to the Brighton fans on his home debut, where he banged in two goals in a 3-0 win over Crewe. He finished his first half season with the Seagulls scoring 9 goals in 21 appearances.

His first full season was effected badly by injury, with his lack of fitness leading to a loss of form and confidence. Matters were made worse, when he was harshly criticised by fans at Withdean for not tracking back Fabian Delph for his wonder strike for Leeds.

During the season, Murray had surgery for a hernia and on his groin, struggling to fully recover before the end of the season.

Murray was finding it hard to settle on the South Coast, with issues in his personal life seemingly taking its toll.

He handed in a transfer request to the club, which was refused, but remained at the club scoring 12 goals in the 28 appearances he made, including a goal in the famous League Cup win over Manchester City.

During the 2009/10 season, Murray’s partnership with Nicky Forster seemed to flourish, despite them sometimes not always agreeing on the pitch. His fitness improved, and he began to start more games.

The season started controversially, when he appeared to wind up a minority of Brighton fans who watched the 0-0 draw at Brentford, by ignoring them and not applauding.

It lead to personal abuse being thrown his way. Issues about his personal life were always being speculated about, and it was reported that he handed in a second transfer request, again refused by the club.

Finally Murray began to settle in the team, famously scoring 4 goals in one game against Wycombe, including a brilliant overhead kick.

His discipline then became an issue, as a red mist sometimes seemed to descend around him. He was booked 14 times, and sent off twice. Despite this, he was still scoring goals, notching 14 in his 38 appearances.

This season, Murray has been his best form for the club. It coincides with his longest period at the club without any fitness worries, or niggling injuries.

Without Murray in the team, Poyet’s table toppers look some what laboured. Murray’s work rate, which has often been criticised since he signed is now first class.

He is a constant threat, harrying defenders, winning fouls in dangerous attacking areas, and holding up the ball and linking up play with the midfield.

This is something that the other strikers find hard to do. He is a vital part of the team now, but his contract is up at the end of the season.

Murray has already found the net 11 times this season, including a wonder strike at Prenton Park. His team mates say he is a bit of a man of mystery, often keeping himself to himself.

The 28 year old from Cumbria, has a trade mark celebration, but he won’t tell the secret behind it to anybody.

His style of play has landed him with the tag ‘The Lower League Berbatov,’ he has class on the ball, and a great footballing brain to got with the 42 goals he has scored in his 100 league games in the colours of The Albion.

He was a real marmite player, dividing the Brighton fans in their opinions. His skill wasn’t really put to question, it more about his commitment to the cause.

Now Murray has settled, he has won over nearly every Brighton fan, and attracted attention from outside – Scunthorpe, Sheffield United and Wednesday were all linked with the striker.

Murray has stated he is happy at the club, and Poyet has said contract talks have begun, although there is no rush.

Brighton fans are now keen for him to put pen to paper, so they can keep their prize asset in the push for promotion to The Championship. Murray has been man of the match in three of the four last games at Withdean.

That shows everyone how vital he is to the club.