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A genuine hero and a true legend

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Two thoughts spring to mind as Geordan Murphy reaches his 300th match for Leicester Tigers.

First, what a man. The wiry youngster whose natural talent stunned men of the quality of Bob Dwyer, Dean Richard and Pat Howard has turned into a man for all seasons, forging his individual skills for the benefit of the team and ultimately leading the Tigers as captain.

Second, as unbelievable as it sounds to reach 300 games for the club, Geordan is the 35th man to reach that figure in red, white and green. No one will ever match David Matthews and his 502 appearances, but to think that 35 men have given more than 300 games of service to this club says a lot for them and for us.

From its earliest days at the end of the 19th Century, the club has inspired loyalty from its subjects. And not just any old players either, all good men and all very good players. Supporters also see attachment to Leicester Tigers as a long-term love affair. There are no one-hit wonders at Welford Road.

Thinking of the 14 years of Geordan’s career so far The Tig recalls the skinny, skillful and agile wing who turned into the model of professional full-back, brave and reliable but never ordinary.

The Tig remembers well the casual flick of the foot to lift the ball from the floor into his hands, the shimmies and the magical sidesteps, the burst of pace and the dives over the tryline. There have been some fairytale scores too – the try at Thomond Park could not have been better scripted – and individual moments of brilliance worth club membership on their own.

Incredibly for a man familiar with success, in Geordan’s case the seven Premiership titles, two European Cups, the international caps and the Lions tours tell only part of the story.

More than anything, The Tig salutes his place in the upper ranks of the club’s 130-year history just for being, well, Geordan. A man of the people in his adopted home, he’s a legend made in the true Leicester style – talented but hard-working, straight-talking but honest, successful but humble. Top man.