Filed: Monday, 17th February 2014
By: Paul Walker
Am I surprised that Ravel Morrison’s time at the Boleyn is going to end with him departing under a cloud? Not one bit. Am I gutted it is ending amid so much acrimony? You bet.
Along with many, I am sure, I wanted this troubled young man to be a massive success with us; there is no doubt he is one of the most talented players of his generation in this country, despite all the baggage and controversy that comes with the package.
But he is on his way into Harry Redknapp’s waiting arms with a simmering row raging. One side suggests he has, at best, been exaggerating an injury to avoid playing any more for Big Sam, who has suggested "he is not the sort of lad" to play through a bit of pain.
On the other side there are barely concealed claims that there have been, frankly, attempts to bully him into changing agent to Sam’s mate Mark Curtis. How very nasty it all sounds.
But none of this , sadly, surprises me. Curtis has previous for this sort of behaviour, you may recall the uproar when Andy Carroll changed agents when he was at Newcastle to join Curtis.
And Morrison’s behaviour at Manchester United involved many claims that he ducked training and made life a misery for the Old Trafford coaching staff. I recall a few weeks back making observations on KUMB that Morrison’s character, team ethos and reliability was questioned constantly there.
Now I got a bit of stick from readers for mentioning such things who doubted I knew what I was taking about. I can only say that I have been close enough to the situation at Manchester United for a number of years to know a lot about young Morrison, and nothing I have seen happening at our place in recent weeks surprises me one bit.
But there has been a war of leaks and sniping from both sides in this saga that does nobody any credit.
It reminds me a little of the furore surrounding Kevin Pietersen’s axing by the ECB. He is high maintenance, a superb talent with an ego to match. Basically, hard work to handle and disruptive.
Morrison and his advisors have a high opinion of themselves; the boy is clearly hard work with a selfish streak and belief he is better than the rest. But the tragedy of Pietersen and Morrison is that good management at top level should be able to handle such fragile talent. That this s not happening is a real shame for the people who matter most, those who pay at the gate to witness quality, even genius at work.
Morrison has a lot to learn. He ability is not in question, but his adaptability and place in a team situation is questionable. As I said before, he has never really played in a bad team at any time in his life, so lacks the heart and fight needed in a relegation battle. He must look at a journeyman like Matt Taylor running his guts out in our midfield and wonder why he is not there instead . Answers on a postcard please.
Sadly, our current good recent run and clear strong team spirit could be undermined by this latest saga. Nobody should allow this to happen at our club, which is probably why a loan to QPR is being sanctioned. We were right not to sell him to Fulham, a stupid suggestion with the west Londoners in the same relegation fight.
But denying him that move to be with his 'mate' Rene Meulensteen - since axed himself - has created the current sulking and 'groin injury'. So if it was clear he was going to be a disruptive influence around the place, and we were going to have to pay him anyway, it seems sensible to let QPR pay some of those wages. There is no clause to allow a permanent transfer, so he could still return. Under the current cloud that seems a faint chance - but at least we need to still get a good price for him.
Contract talks broke down before Christmas, with agent Nick Rubery looking for a significant pay rise for his client. There were also mutterings that the Morrison camp were annoyed at the wages being offered to our loan players signed in January. All experienced, full internationals, none of which applies to Morrison.
David Sullivan is believed to be pretty upset that the situation has reached this point if you believe all the stuff on various blogs. Frankly, I’d be shocked if he wasn’t.
My lil bro: A "great talent" is how Morrison was described by team mate Carlton Cole
But for a trustworthy account of what is going on, certainly from the Morrison camp, then a very good piece by Guardian writer Daniel Taylor is worth a read. Danny is a bright young reporter based in Manchester who was very much on top of this original story when it was all about Morrison’s court case and rebellious attitude.
Taylor clearly has good contacts with the Morrison camp. There is still a sound piece of writing by Taylor from a few years back when the lad, then 17, was appearing in court that can be found on the net.
His latest piece explains the Morrison camp view and certainly stands up the stuff about Curtis and attempts to persuade the kid to dump Rubery.
Allardyce has virtually accused Rubery of turning Morrison’s head in the Fulham situation, and Sir Alex Ferguson was not impressed by huge contract demands for Morrison when he was still at Old Trafford. That situation, more than anything else, led to the boy being dumped by Fergie, who was very tolerant over the general wayward behaviour.
As for the attempts to muscle in on Morrison’s future by Curtis, that smacks of the similar moves to sign up Jack Collison and James Tomkins when Allardyce first arrived at the club. And if my memory serves me right, there were suggestions then that Mark Noble was also approached in the same way.
Either way I have never liked the link-up between Curtis and Allardyce that dominated the manager’s time at Bolton, Newcastle and Blackburn. Too incestuous, too much of a club within a club for my liking, and Rubery and Morrison seem not to have wanted to play ball. Mind you, Rubery’s insulting tweet about our performance at Chelsea - 'non football', was the accusation - is more than annoying.
Did he expect Sam to field Morrison in central midfield at Stamford Bridge and to attack Chelsea? If so, he’s living in a dream world.
So here we are watching the final moments of what is a nasty, undignified exit from the club by Morrison, who should not forget how much genuine support he has had from the Boleyn fans who know talent when they see it.
Everyone just wanted to boy to settle in and show his quality. Somewhere along the line this has gone badly wrong with everyone involved sniping away at each other. What a terrible, terrible shame.
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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