Yeovil Town have completed their second signing of the summer. They have brought in 28 year old former Arsenal, Dagenham and Redbridge, Oldham Athletic and Forest Green Rovers striker Rhys Murphy, who was last on the books of National League South side Chelmsford City, scoring 28 goals in 43 appearances for them during the 2018-19 season.
Born in Shoreham-by-Sea in Sussex on November 6th 1990, he was a former Wimbledon and Arsenal Academy player as a teenager. The Gunners thought enough of him to give him a professional contract with the club in July 2008, and was part of their 2008-09 Under-18s side that won the Premier Academy League and FA Youth Cup. He didn't make it as far as their first team, but clocked up a six game loan spell with Brentford and a further five game spell with Preston North End.
When Arsenal released him in June 2012, he moved to Dutch Second Division side Telstar, spending a year with them and scoring seven goals in 30 appearances. He then moved to Dagenham and Redbridge for the 2013-14 season, spending a year-and-a-half at Victoria Road playing at League Two level, where he netted 14 times in 46 appearances. That alerted League One side Oldham Athletic, who signed him during the January 2015, playing under Lee Johnson. There he wasn't a big success, playing just 25 times and scoring three goals, and ultimately being shipped out on loan to Crawley Town (16 appearances, 9 goals) and AFC Wimbledon (7 appearances, 1 goal) perhaps suggesting that third tier football was a step too high for him at that time. His spell with Wimbledon made him a brief part of their 2015-16 League Two Play-Offs winning side, although he didn't play in the final stages.
Murphy chose to move into National League football in the summer of 2016, signing for Forest Green Rovers for a nominal fee. There he was a minor part of their promotion-winning squad, scoring 7 goals in 17 appearances, albeit that he wass out on loan at the time at the time they went up. Their promotion into the Football League saw him drop down the pecking order, and that saw him take in spells with York City (6 appearances, 2 goals), Crawley Town (15 appearances, 1 goal), Torquay United (9 appearances, 1 goal) as he hopped between National League and League Two.
During the second half of the 2017-18 season, Murphy had a strange single game spell with League One side Gillingham, who signed him on a short term contract. That led to him signing for National League South side Chelmsford City, where his career took off rather radically, scoring 28 goals for them across 43 appearances, including 25 goals in the league as the Essex side reached the divisional play-offs. Chelmsford released him at the end of last season, although presumably with them recognising that he was going to go off to a higher division club. On his way out he won their Player Of The Season, Players' Player Of The Season and Away Player of the Year Awards.
Rhys has now signed a two year contract with Yeovil Town, that will keep him on the club's books until the summer of 2020. Manager Darren Sarll said of the deal:
"Rhys had a very successful season last season and arrives with that hunger to do the same again. He's a fantastic finisher and will add that out-and-out goal threat to our squad and I'm looking forward to working with him. This club hasn't had a 20 or 30 goal striker since the days of Paddy Madden, so Iím delighted to bring Rhys in as our new number nine."
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