RETIRED Carlton champion Marc Murphy says his time captaining the Blues under Mick Malthouse was "the most lonely I've ever been".
Murphy, 34, retired at the end of 2021 after 300 games over 16 seasons at Ikon Park.
He acknowledged the second half of his decorated career never reached the heights of success that he had expected, and said the club made "definitely the wrong decision" when it sacked Brett Ratten as coach at the end of 2012.
Three-time premiership coach Malthouse, who had departed Collingwood a year earlier, was installed as the Blues hierarchy sought a coach who they believed was better equipped to guide their team into premiership contention.
It quickly turned sour, though, with Malthouse lasting less than two and a half seasons before being sacked.
The Blues scraped into the finals in 2013 after Essendon was disqualified in the wake of its anti-doping scandal, but defeated arch rival Richmond in a thrilling elimination final before losing a semi-final to Sydney.
The wheels fell off from the start of 2014, though. Carlton won just eight of its next 30 games before Malthouse was dismissed following a 77-point loss to Geelong in round eight, 2015.
"It was probably the most lonely I've ever been, to be honest with you," Murphy told the Dyl and Friends podcast, hosted by his former Carlton teammate, Dylan Buckley.
"There were times I just hated turning up to the footy club, which is sad to say when you spend a lot of your life at a place where you should love, and I'd loved for quite a fair bit of my time there. There were times when I just hated turning up. It was extremely difficult."
Murphy said he found Malthouse to be a "very autocratic leader" and the pair had a strained relationship from the moment the legendary coach anointed the star player as skipper ahead of the 2013 season.
"He probably would have said that he would have chosen a different captain at the time and he even said that to me when I got appointed captain," Murphy said.
"He would have gone with someone else but because they weren't going to be featuring regularly in the side, he couldn't go down that path.
"Initially when you get told you're captain, you like it to be a real positive sort of a period, so it wasn't a great start.
"There's no point in me coming out and bashing Mick Malthouse because he's one of the greatest coaches of all time. He's got the record for longest coaching so what am I going to do coming out and slamming him?
"But I just think his time at Carlton, I don't think he was really in it for the right reasons and once it all turned pear-shaped, it was all about him, unfortunately, at the end and I was left to be thrown under the bus quite a bit.
"He was obviously a terrific coach but unfortunately at Carlton for us, and for me, and for the boys who were working so hard, it didn't work out."
Malthouse told News Corp in 2018 that hard-working midfielder Andrew Carrazzo had been his No.1 choice to captain the Blues after Chris Judd stepped down.
"Carrazzo was the standout applicant, but unfortunately he was too often injured. A leader needs resilience so he can play alongside his teammates as often as possible," Malthouse wrote.
"Kade Simpson was also in the mix, but as a then 29-year-old who puts himself in a vulnerable position with the courageous way he plays each week, I wasn’t sure how much football he had left in him.
"So I chose a young man who could grow into the position over the long term.
"I knew that Marc Murphy would need a lot of assistance, but he wanted the job, and I thought we had enough time to work on it together."
Murphy said he had moved on from the difficult years under Malthouse, saying it was hard to remember much of the details of that time.
"It's almost like I've got PTSD. Once you finish your career, you sort of try to reflect a little bit… over that period, and a lot of it I can't actually remember until I get prompted sometimes," he said.
"There's no doubt I've squashed it away somewhere but I think towards the back end, I was thinking about the younger guys and how I can try and help them by staying positive."
Murphy also said he rejected overtures from Richmond to leave the Blues at the end of the 2015 season, and that shoulder problems throughout his career had left him unable to raise his left arm above his head.