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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 September, 2003, 19:26 GMT 20:26 UK
Murphy returns to Leigh
Alex Murphy during his time as Wigan coach
Murphy enjoyed success at several clubs in the 1970s and 80s
Rugby league legend Alex Murphy is to return to the game as football director of Leigh after the promotion-chasing National League One club sacked coach Paul Terzis.

Murphy, 63, will head up a new coaching team after ending a six-year exile to return to the club he has coached three times in the past.

The Centurions parted company with Terzis just a month before the National League Grand Final, when they are expected to made a third bid to claim a place in Super League.

The club have installed player-coach Tommy Martyn and another Leigh stalwart, Norman Turley, as assistant coaches, and also appointed former Wigan and St Helens commercial manager Alan Rowley as chief executive.

Leigh's directors landed their target after flying to France, where Murphy is currently on holiday with his wife.

"We managed to coax him out of retirement," said executive director Derek Beaumont.

People ask me how old I am but I'm younger than Sir Bobby Robson
Alex Murphy
"He still has the club at heart and we're overwhelmed to have him back."

Murphy will fly back for Sunday's home game against Rochdale before returning to finish his holiday.

He will then join the club on a full-time basis and will be in position next year whether or not Leigh succeed in their promotion bid.

"It's absolutely great to be back, a big surprise," he told BBC GMR. "I turned the job down at first but I was impressed with what they had to say."

Murphy, an inaugural member of the Rugby League's Hall of Fame, was awarded the OBE in the New Year's Honours list of 1998 for his services to the game.

A brilliant scrum-half capped 27 times by Great Britain, his international career spanned three decades and he was a member of two Ashes-winning tours.

Murphy achieved legendary status at his home-town club St Helens, and went on to achieve success as player-coach at both Leigh and Warrington.

He has also coached Wigan, Salford and Huddersfield.

I can't understand the decision but I accept it
Paul Terzis
Terzis, who has been linked with the vacancy of assistant coach at St Helens, said he was shocked by the club's decision, three days before their final league match.

Terzis had made no secret of his intention to leave the club if they failed to win promotion to Super League and admitted he had applied for jobs both in this country and in Australia.

"I would have liked to have taken them into Super League but it's not to be," he said. "I am leaving the club with my head held high and with a smile on my face."

Terzis guided the club to two Grand Finals but each time the final goal of Super League proved beyond him.

In a statement, the club said: ""The club wishes Paul and his family all the success in the future and thank him for his exceptional service over the past four years."

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