Irish League legend 'Winkie' Murphy in naked pic storm
Irish League legend William ‘Winkie’ Murphy is at the centre of an alleged vengeful blackmail plot after being snapped semi-naked in a nightclub toilet.
The Sunday World can reveal pictures of Murphy sitting in a toilet cubicle with his arms raised began circulating on social media earlier this week.
Murphy, who is a local sporting legend, is pictured, exposing his tackle, on a night out in a downtown Belfast club.
He willingly poses for the camera, naked from the waist down.
The graphic images appeared on social media early last week but were quickly removed.
Sources close to Murphy say he has been left stunned by the appearance of the picture and has made every effort to have them removed from the internet. The image attracted some comment with suggestive messages posted on Twitter and other social media outlets.
Soccer star Murphy was keeping his head down in recent days, though he was on duty as first-team coach at Coleraine Showgrounds yesterday where the Premiership club were taking on Warrenpoint.
Despite repeated attempts by the Sunday World to contact the former player he failed to return any calls.
An insider at Coleraine claimed Murphy had placed the matter in the hands of the PSNI, however, a police spokesman said they had no record of any complaint.
The Sunday World understands the picture was never intended to be shared online but was later posted in a clumsy blackmail attempt, driven by revenge.
Murphy was aware of the threat to publish the picture.
Sources close to the former Linfield captain, who is now assistant manager at Coleraine FC, say the picture was taken on a boozy night out but later fell into the hands of someone with a vendetta against the 41-year-old.
“This is revenge, pure and simple. Winkie posed for the picture but at no stage did he think it would appear anywhere,” said our source.
“It was a lad’s night out and things can get a bit crazy, it was all a bit of fun but it’s now taken a really nasty and sinister turn. The person who has done this threatened to do it before and, he says this is payback, for what I don’t know.
“Winkie is mortified by the picture, it has been reposted and retweeted all over the place. He knows he has some awkward questions to answer,” he said.
Despite being under pressure since the picture was leaked Murphy was on the side-lines at Coleraine Showgrounds in his role as assistant manager to Oran Kearney.
The Sunday World attempted repeatedly to contact Murphy but he failed to answer or return our calls. He also refused a request for an interview.
William 'Winkie' Murphy
A spokesperson for Coleraine FC said they were aware of the existence of the picture yet insisted they would not comment on what they describe as a “personal matter.”
The spokesperson also stated it was their belief that the matter was in the hands of the PSNI after Mr Murphy had brought it to their attention.
“This is a personal matter and because of that the club will not be commenting,” the press officer said.
The Belfast man is no stranger to controversy.
In May 2009 Murphy was detained while on a stag weekend in Spain, almost two years to the day he was scooped on suspicion of passing counterfeit Euro notes, also while on holiday in Spain.
The then Linfield player was suspected of bringing counterfeit bank notes into Spain whilst visiting Torremolinos. He was forced to remain in the country for two weeks while investigations were ongoing before being released without charge.
During a glittering 25 year career Murphy played for a number of clubs but is best known for his 16 trophy laden seasons during which he won nine Irish League titles and six Irish Cups.
He remains a club legend having played 639 times. He also turned out for Glenavon, Ards and Crusaders before hanging up his boots to join the coaching staff at Coleraine under former Linfield teammate Oran Kearney.