Former footballer, Tipperary man Fred Murray, is now a physio to the stars

A-list clients include rock stars Dave Grohl, Morrissey and Marilyn Manson

Eamonn Wynne

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Eamonn Wynne

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ewynne@nationalist.ie

Fred Murray

Former professional footballer, Clonmel man Fred Murray established the exclusive London-based Remedy clinic in 2016

A Clonmel man who started studying physiotherapy when a series of injuries blighted his professional football career in England is now heading an exclusive health service that has established a global reputation for its outstanding standard of care and rehabilitation.

Fred Murray founded the London-based Remedy clinic in 2016 and its clients include Dave Grohl, frontman with famous American rock band The Foo Fighters, who in several media interviews in recent years has paid tribute to the 38-year-old Clonmel man. 

Grohl has said that if it wasn’t for Fred Murray he wouldn’t have walked again, after he suffered a bad leg break when he tripped and fell offstage during a concert in Sweden six years ago.

Remedy also works with elite sportspeople, as well as stars of the entertainment and rock music world from around the globe. 

Its impressive client list includes Marilyn Manson, Morrissey, Gerard Butler, Cuba Gooding Junior, Billie Eilish, Hans Zimmer, Greta Van Fleet, Henry Cavill, Tom Holland and members of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Alice in Chains.

It’s all a far cry from Highfield Grove in Clonmel, where Fred grew up with his parents Pat and Fred and brothers Wayne and Darren. 

After showing promise with his local club St Oliver’s and Belvedere in Dublin, he signed a professional contract in 2000 with Blackburn Rovers, who were then a well-established club in the Premier League.

However, the full back had the misfortune to tear the cruciate ligament in his knee in his first week at the club. 

He left Blackburn in 2002 without playing for the first team and subsequently had spells with Cambridge United, Northampton Town, Stafford Rangers, Stevenage Borough, Exeter City, Gray’s Athletic and Luton Town.

His bad luck with injuries followed him around England, as he underwent nine surgeries before finally calling time on his career shortly before his 29th birthday in 2011.

Did all those injuries as a footballer influence his decision to turn to a career in physiotherapy even before his playing days ended?

“I think it did indirectly,” Fred says on the phone from London.

“I had been around some physios who were very good in my early years and I was heavily influenced by the profession.

Injuries were blessing in disguise

“Those physios were mentors. When somebody brings you back from a career-threatening injury there’s a bond between you, and I have had the same effect on people. It’s an interesting dynamic.”

Injuries that at the time he looked on as a nightmare he now considers a blessing, as they opened a route and started a journey to a career that he loves.

However, he travelled a long and sometimes difficult road to reach the position that he now occupies, doing a job he enjoys so much. 

He started studying physiotherapy from the age of 24, recalling that he would play football and train during the day before setting out on a two and-a-half hour drive to Manchester to study at Salford University, where he earned an Honours Degree in physiotherapy, as well as a Masters degree in sports rehabilitation.

Those were the times when he would often eat his lunch in the car before heading up the M6 to Manchester.

Work placement completed in Ireland

Every summer he would come home for six weeks to see his family and do placement work in a hospital, which included stints in Cashel and at St Gabriel’s in Limerick.

“That was my first experience of working with people from a healthcare point of view. 

“I’ve so much respect for those who work in hospitals. Their job is difficult, even more so now because of Covid-19.”  

He also studied physiotherapy in Australia, where he achieved another Masters degree from Curtin University in Perth.

One of Fred’s first jobs as a physio was with Queens Park Rangers. Manager Harry Redknapp promoted him from an academy role to the first team, where he worked during the club’s time in the Premier League.

He says that all of the hard work he had put into his studies for years equipped him to succeed when the right opportunities came along, and he was “in the right place at the right time” when he established Remedy five years ago.

“I’m a big believer that the harder you work the luckier you get. I put in the hours and thankfully I got a few breaks.”

Remedy operates a clinic in central London in addition to its base in Kingston-upon-Thames in Surrey, where the top-class facilities include a swimming pool, three high-quality pitches, two gyms, tennis courts, a pilates studio and the very best in rehabilitation and performance equipment. 

“We get called in when there’s a problem that people cannot solve, when people are at the end of the line and don’t know what to do,” says Fred.

“We deal with complex injuries that are long-term projects and we’ve become very good at those jobs.”

Globally, Remedy employs eight staff (twelve pre-Covid) and also works with a handful of consultants.

“We go where the work is. I spent five months in France last year and the previous year I was in Bulgaria for four months.”

The pandemic hasn’t affected its operations to any great degree, with elite sport and many areas of entertainment continuing during lockdown.

“It has been a challenge but has opened up other areas that we’ve been able to seize. 

“We can transition into different areas. Any good business has to be able to pivot.” 

Understandably, Fred doesn’t discuss his clients or the nature of their injuries, apart from Dave Grohl who was eager to announce to the world that he had been very successfully treated by the Clonmel man.

“Dave Grohl is a genuine bloke and a beautiful person,” says Fred.

“For somebody at that level of fame to be that thoughtful is very unique.

“He has been great to my family, and his relationship with his mother is like the relationship I have with my mother, Pat.

“I’m lucky enough to call him a friend, and to have been able to help him back from injury. Working with him has been such a joy and it was very nice of him to thank me publicly.”

Although he has lived in London for many years and is very happy there, Fred says that Clonmel will always be home and he loves visiting.

“I’m lucky to have a great family. It’s the most important thing in my life, my work is a close second.

“The more I travel and meet different people I realise how close our family is and what a great childhood I had.

“That drives me every day to keep going and achieving stuff,” he says.

For more Tipperary news see Cliona Maher dedicated to improving the provision of the arts in Clonmel