Mens Team

Andy Morrison: A Man of the Time

Andy Morrison: A Man of the Time
Few players have had quite the impact Andy Morrison did when he first arrived at City.

Initially on loan from Huddersfield Town and with an imposing physical presence, the strapping centre-half looked more like an army drill instructor, or perhaps a nightclub bouncer than a professional footballer.

But if anyone thought he’d be better-suited to those particular roles, within a couple of appearances for City they had evaporated into thin air.

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As the old saying goes, if you were in the trenches, you’d want somebody like Andy Morrison in there alongside you.

For any centre forward that was even slightly feint of heart, Morrison cut a menacing figure.

Tough as old boots, the former Plymouth and Blackburn defender went in where it hurt and when he hit players in the tackle, they stayed hit. In the nicest possible way, he was an inspirational beast of a player.

He was also the perfect man to help resurrect an ailing City team who were floundering in Division Two – essentially, a ship without a captain.

Joe Royle brought Morrison in on a month’s loan and his impact was seismic.

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He scored in both of his first two games for City – one a last gasp winner against Colchester and the other a 20-yard volley at Oldham and he galvanised a lightweight back four that had been soldiering on with young Nick Fenton at centre back.

In this dog-eat-dog division, youngsters like Fenton were easily bullied by any number of gnarly journeyman strikers lying in wait.

Royle moved quickly to seal a permanent move for Morrison and at just £80,000, the Club had at last acquired a genuine leader to take halt the slide and jumpstart our fading hopes of promotion.

Mozzer hated slackers and was forever shouting, cajoling, and organising the defence – in short, he was a natural captain.

City’s form turned slowly, but surely and we lost just two of their final 25 games (both defeats at home) as Royle’s side powered their way to the play-off decider against Gillingham.

Morrison was injured early on at Wembley and had to be substituted, but he was able to collect the trophy at the end after the City triumphed on penalties – and boy, did he enjoy it.

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He was a good player, too and far from the stereotypical centre-half he was, no doubt, often perceived to be by casual observers.

He could pick 50-yard passes with precision and weight that Glenn Hoddle would have been proud of and was dominant in the air, but was the first to admit his anger sometimes got the better of him, resulting in the occasional dust-up with the opposition.

But the City fans loved him for it. He was wholehearted and dedicated to the cause and he was finally earning the recognition he deserved after many years in the lower leagues.

Why it took him so long to climb the ladder is a mystery.

City began the new season like a runaway train and Morrison played his part to the full but following a 2-1 win over Port Vale in October 2000, he picked up a nasty knee injury that ruled him out of the remainder of the campaign.

For Mozzer, after finally finding a club he could make real progress with, it was a devastating blow that he understandably didn’t take too well.

 He also missed the first half of the Blues’ return to the Premier League but was fit for the first game of the New Year.

It was a different Andy Morrison who returned, however, looking unusually hesitant and making the odd uncharacteristic mistake.

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He scored in his second comeback game, much to the delight of an ecstatic Maine Road crowd, but it was clear that his knee injury was perhaps more serious than anyone had realised.  

It was just his heart and desire that was pushing him on.

City’s 4-2 defeat at Liverpool in the FA Cup was to be his last game for the Club, just six games into his comeback.

He then went on loan to Blackpool, Crystal Palace and Sheffield United in a bid to convince Royle that he could compete with new signings Steve Howey and Richard Dunne, but despite 14 games with other clubs, he was never selected again and left City in the autumn of 2001 and was forced to retire shortly after.

A wonderful servant to the Club, his enthusiasm and efforts have never been forgotten by the City fans and he undoubtedly inspired a team heading for anonymity to win promotion in successive seasons become the Premier League side they are today.

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