Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughIt's always darkest before the dawn - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough It's always darkest before the dawn - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

It’s always darkest before the dawn

Think back just over a decade when City were at their lowest position in their history.
When you ask City fans about the 1998-99 season and the majority of minds instantly jump to the last minute Dickov goal in the playoff final or the Weaver marathon run around the Wembley pitch. All those were great memories, I myself was on holiday in Tenerife at the time and remember the many bars that were filled with City fans.
They, like me, had felt the season was at a loss when they booked their excursions probably seven months or more prior. At that point City  (24th October 1998) were struggling. After 15 games they were mid table with just 21 points and only five wins. Things looked bleak and looking back now, had City not pulled it together through the second half of the season then we may very well have slipped into football oblivion!
A week later though a bulky lad recently signed from Huddersfield took his place on our defense and stopped us leaking. Before his signing we had conceded an average of a goal a game (16). In the next 31 games, of which he played 21 we conceded only 17 (and only 12 on his watch!)
Of course I am talking about the much underrated star of City’s defence, Andy Morrison. Despite him being a defender he also scored four goals, two of which were the difference between us getting four points or one point. The other two were in comfortable wins but nonetheless important. 
He missed the playoff Semi Finals but would return, with his Captaincy duties, in the Playoff Final against Gillingham. He is considered by a lot of City fans to be one of the best Captains that City have ever had and on the pitch he always seemed to know exactly what was needed. His leadership and nurturing the younger players was exceptional and his no nonsense approach to the game was inspirational to a City side on life-support. 
The next season, in Division 1, Morrison continued to be an inspiration leading the City side to five straight wins after an initial loss and draw to start the season. That said he was actually missing for one game while serving a ban for being sent off for sticking his tongue out Stan ‘Ladies Man’ Collymore. On November 3rd Morrison’s season was effectively over after picking up an injury. Up to that point City had won 11 games from the opening sixteen. That says a lot considering City would only win half of the remaining games. 
His next match for the City first team was in the League Cup defeat against Ipswich. That said, Andy Morrison did pick up the Man Of The Match awards. His next League game would be in the Premier League and a tie against Coventry. Even though this draw was not good for either team as both teams were in the relegation zone and eventually both get relegated, Morrison again picked up a Man Of The Match award. However the Scot was loaned out, first to Sheffield United then back to Blackpool, in order to try to regain fitness. 
The relegation saw Royle leave and Keegan arrive and  with the signings brought in it was thought that Morrisons career at City was over. He was loaned out once again to Sheffield United where he picked up an injury. Despite hard work on Morrisons part he failed to recover and was released at the end of the season. 
After his playing days were over, Morrison joined Bury as Assistant manager. However in a friendly match the opposition manager brought the referees attention to an off the field incident involving Morrison. After an internal inquiry the club fined Morrison, suspended him for three games and warned him of his behaviour. In addition to that the FA also fined him and issued a six match touchline ban. Morrison and Bury parted company the very next April.
This incident happened at the same point that Morrison had pled guilty to four charges of fraud. He was found guilty of claiming various benefits from 2003 to 2005 while failing to state his 58 grand bank account. Morrison was ordered to pay court costs and do fifty hours of community service.
We knew about his battles on the pitch but it is only in the last few weeks that we have been allowed into his private life and we got to see the extent of the demons that he battled off it. In his autobiography, ‘The Good, The Mad and the Ugly: The Andy Morrison Story’ he talks about his acts of violence, bar brawls and his alcoholism. He recounts his lowest time and he does it all the same way he played for City, with brutal, unflinching honesty. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *