Filed: Friday, 17th January 2014
By: Paul Walker
How we handle the Ravel Morrison situation could define our season… and he most certainly should not be sold to any of our rivals in the relegation dogfight.
Such is the enigma that is Morrison, there are many - including me - who have been just waiting for something to go wrong with his time at West Ham.
Those who know a bit more about the lad from his Manchester United days have watched with bated breath for the whole thing to explode in our faces. It was going to happen just as night follows day.
Morrison, for all the stunning talent I have watched and monitored over the past few years in Manchester, is an insular, selfish, unpredictable young man. He seems to lack respect for anyone in authority and resents any form of pecking order.
He’s been told since he was eight that he is a brilliant prospect, and his days in the excellent Fletcher Moss youth teams in south Manchester, his Manchester Schools days and ten years in the Manchester United academy system has probably never seen him play in a bad team.
He has also never had any doubt about his value. He knows he is brilliant and expects to play because he believes he is better than the rest. The fact that Big Sam has left him in the bench or not picked him at all in the last few months is probably the reason for the rumours that manager and player have fallen out.
Now he clearly wants out, as Fulham’s rather arrogant coach Rene Meulensteen has informed us all. But because of his obvious talent and what he is capable of, we must not let him go to Fulham - or Cardiff for that matter - under any circumstances.
Why give our rivals a boost of a fine young footballer, for all his inadequacies in other ways? If a team in the top six want him, fine, they can pay the money and it will not come back to hurt us.
Fans get angry sometimes when players are working their ticket out of a club. Loyalty gets mentioned and the club are told to let the player rot in the reserves. That’s always unrealistic in the modern era.
But just in this case it should be our last option. The lad is supposedly on £15,000 a week, which is £60,000 a month and £240,000 between now and the end of the season. If we go down it could cost us close on £100m from enhanced prize money and all the spin-offs from being in the Premier League.
Refusing to sell Morrison until the summer and taking the hit on his wages seems a small price to pay. But deep down I know that is a naive view and won‘t wash in this day and age.
When I first heard of Meulensteen‘s comments post-match after the Cup win over Norwich it was obvious that they broke the rules. How did he know Morrison wanted to joined Fulham?
The regulations over transfers and illegal approaches are roundly ignored by everyone these days, family members, friends, even tame journalisms, can do all the tapping. But the line seems to be drawn when a manager goes public and talks openly about another club’s player.
Harry Redknapp always says something along the lines of “He’s a quality player and we are always interested in quality players. But he’s not our player.” That just about covers it even though everyone knows what he really means.
But when you say what the Fulham coach did, maybe he’s learned too much from being at Old Trafford for so long, you are crossing the line. It’s destabilising and it is telling everyone else that the player wants to leave.
Big clubs like Man U get away with such things, but not when you are Fulham. And just guess what would happen to us if our manager said something like this about a potential target. They’d be down on us like a ton of bricks.
On the subject of Man U, surely the biggest tap-up of all time was when Alex Ferguson invited David Moyes to his home mid-term last season to offer him the Old Trafford job. You can bet he didn’t ask Bill Kenwright at Everton first!
But I feel we should all accept that Morrison is now history. It started to unravel (sorry) I believe when the lad was overwhelmed in the 3-0 home defeat by Chelsea. It really brought him down to earth.
He came on as a second-half substitute in the next game at home to Fulham, and produced a spell-binding performance to destroy the West Londoners. But the next game he was a waste of space at Crystal Palace and could have easily been sent-off for that push in the face.
He was equally over-powered in the defeat at Manchester United when he no doubt really wanted to shine. Since then he has been generally poor, maybe in need of a rest.
His display at Nottingham Forest was little short of a disgrace. Big Sam had made sure he was cup-tied, and the lad just played for himself. He stopped tracking back and only wanted to go off on a run to score another wonder goal. When he might have been expected to stamp his quality onto a Championship side, he failed.
He was only on the bench at the Etihad for the League Cup massacre and word then was that he was unimpressed by that decision. Then the groin injury miraculously appeared again, and he wasn’t even in the squad at Cardiff.
All the time the Fulham interest has been in the background, and surfaced again in the media on the morning of that match. I am sure Sam was far from impressed. Now I am sure there is not much sympathy for Sam on that score, he must surely understand the dark arts of the transfer market, but it could well be that Morrison had already become a disruptive influence.
That is why the Fulham coach maybe felt he could come out so brazenly and talk about a player he wanted to sign and who "wants to come to Fulham".
Some felt Morrison only knuckled down because he was told he had a chance of going to Brazil. That surely is dead in the water now, whatever Roy Hodgson has said recently. There has been rumours of problems at West Ham, and I have also been told of an alleged incident on England under 21 duty, involving a row over a table tennis match!
I also have an old acquaintance who is part of the England set-up who tells me that the big fear about Morrison is how he would cope being stuck in a hotel for several weeks at the World Cup with the pressure on and the eyes of the world on him. They fear he couldn’t cope with the isolation and could not be trusted. Something could go badly wrong.
Sadly I feel we have seen the last of the lad in our claret and blue, I may be wrong. Part of the reason he fell out with Fergie was a laughable contract demand from his advisors. It is no surprise that all this has happened recently with us stalling on giving him a new contract and £65,000 a week.
But where does he go? Are Man U brave enough to risk a re-run of his previous behaviour, and do Man City want to risk the same with the lad back in an environment Fergie once said he just had to get away from? Spurs might be interested, Chelsea and Arsenal with their midfield quality surely not. And Liverpool and Everton are to near the Manchester region.
But I implore our club not to let the lad go to somewhere that would see him with the chance to damage our dodgy position in the top flight.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
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