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New Article: Morrison slipping away quietly, bringing in the youngsters and the medium term......

Something bothered me when Morrison went to Birmingham. He slipped away quietly. First, he went on loan and then the separation seemed less painful when the news came through that it was a permanent move. I just about bought into the loan; he does strike me as a player that needs to play regularly (I may be wrong, of course). But, the permanent deal was treated by most on here, it seemed, as "well, best of luck to him".

The "something" that bothered me has festered away over Christmas. Yes, it is partly due to the poor results - we all felt a win was important over the festive period. The "something" has become a little more clear now. We have a lost a good club man. My insider at The Valley also tells me that he is a good team man and generally likeable. Now, I'm not suggesting that Messrs Ben Haim, Bikey or Onyewu are not good guys or good team men. However, I do worry that if a bit of guts is needed to stabilise the ship, I would rather have Morrison there than any of those three even if he is the least skilled. Before you shout "what do you know?" or "how many games have you seen?", I should say that it is an opinion which has formed from afar - I don't get to see too many games, so please correct me if you feel I am wrong.

Perhaps, it was the recent Crazy Gang programme that stirred me over Christmas. That team did not have the best players in the world, but as a team they performed above expectations. And, I guess that is the point that I am getting to slowly. Yes, Ben Haim and Bikey are a better class, but do they help to form a better team? This style of knocking the ball around the back might be the way to go in Champions League tussles between two gifted but careful sides, but when Blackpool come to town, should we approach the game in the same way? Would a bit of "up and at 'em" serves us better? Which brings me back to Morro. He is a solid, old fashioned centre half - steady, solid, probably not capable of playing a division higher, but a good team player.

It's the same with the young players that are being pushed into parts of the team and filling the subs bench. Can you really expect them to play the way that Ben Haim played when he was at Bolton, Chelsea, Man City and Portsmouth in the Premiership? I exaggerate, of course, but hopefully you get my point.

Championship teams seem to me to be generally solid yet unspectacular outfits. Maybe, a bit more muscle and strength getting forward would serve us well. And, I feel, a team that is "up and at 'em" a bit more might be a better option. Teams like that tend to get results at Championship level, but, of course, get found out a division higher when the opposition doesn't let them get near the ball once it is given away.

Maybe, I am getting old and soft. I was sorry to see Powell go and sorry to see Kermorgant go. However, Morro's departure seems worse to me. He wasn't my favourite player or anything like that, but he epitomised a team spirit. I remember his and the team's reaction after the game we won 1-0 at Sheffield Wednesday in the promotion year. That promotion team, that seemed to gel so well, is now almost totally dismantled. His departure feels like a departure from getting a team that is more than the sum of the parts.

I worry that TBH and Bikey will be off at the end of the season and we will be looking at new recruits or youngsters to see us forward. I suppose I need to wait and see.
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Comments

  • edited January 2015
    Morro leaving may well have affected some of the squad - the Essex contingent, of which Morrison was a large part, are quite clearly off the boil at the moment. Jackson, Wilson, and Pope (who I think shared north of Blackwall car duties with Morro) have all been well below par over the last few games when they have played, and maybe they are missing Morro, who was obviously a good friend to them (see the delivery of season ticket video and Xmas hospital visits for evidence).

    Clubs move on, and if that means Wilson being sold, and Jackson benched, then we will have to get behind their replacements as best we can!

    As for the up and at them, maybe if we have eight players over six foot tall (like Ipswich) then a more direct game would work, but without and only two decent headers of the ball (as quoted by Bob), that just cannot happen.
  • Agree 100% TMA. BP (or RD and his advisors) seem to prefer the player that looks good rather than one that may look less skillful but is more effective. Compare JBG (until the last few matches, perhaps) with, say, Danny Hollands. JBG has flattered to deceive with very little end result whilst DH never looked smooth and skillful BUT I know I prefer the DH type of player. The same goes for Morrison - I'd wager that he is probably a better defender than TBH and AB - he may not look as comfortable on the ball but for me that is secondary to his first task which is defending.
  • interesting piece TMA.

    Personally i think you are onto something. Firstly, i just can't get my head around letting a proven, experienced Championship centre half leave the building so easily when our squad is so thin approaching the busiest time of the season. Neither Bikey or TBH or 40+ game defenders. The decision just doesn't make any sense.

    Secondly, the team spirit aspect is something i really worry about. We are not winning because we are giving away cheap goals, really cheap goals. When a team / squad is tight, those things tend to happen less. We've gone from giving none of these away in the early stages of the season, to one or two every game.

    Things slowly but surely seem to be negatively unravelling. In that instance you need every player who you can rely on to pull it all back together again. Morro would / could undoubtedly have played a part in that.
  • Players leave.

    It happens all the time at every club. I liked Morrison and he is proving again at Brum that he is a decent Championship defender. Were we right to let him go? I don't know. He wasn't playing and may well have wanted to move on rather than be a sub. Still seems an odd decision until we see who comes in to replace him, if anyone.

    But I do think the write up on the OS, while quite rightly containing kind words of thanks, is ridiculously short on info about his time with the club or info on the deal. He and just about any player leaving deserves better.
  • edited January 2015
    Food for thought, tma.

    Like me, and I'm sure many others, you try to analyse our current predicament in an effort to make some sense of what's happening at our Club.

    A fantastic team spirit, akin to that of Alex Dumas' boys, was an important component of the promotion winning team and the following season.

    However, with the departure of key players from that tight knit squad, I fear the camaraderie may have been damaged.

    Although Captain Jacko will have done his utmost to rekindle that closeness, a new manager plus previously unfamiliar arrivals may have made that task extremely difficult.

    The jokers in the "old" pack have left the building....Hamer and now Morro in particular. And whilst I have NO idea how the atmosphere in the dressing room has evolved ( best ask Weegie !) , I fear it may be less than harmonious, with rumours abounding to that effect.

    I read that there was a whisper linking Jacko with SCP's Huddersfield which was rubbished on here but should "enough be enough" who knows whether one of our last men standing could decide to relocate in the twilight of his career....

    More questions and fewer answers make Fanny a worried woman.

  • The team fought very well with ten men in the second half against Cardiff. I would have liked to keep hold of Morrison because he is a decent Championship defender. I think we have got some strong characters in the team Bikey, Ben Haim, Jackson. Yes some of the players are feeling tired and morale has dropped. It is nothing that winning again won't solve. We will have a better chance of winning if we make our squad stronger by buying better players. The wound is becoming bigger and a small Elastoplast is no longer working.
    Over to you Roland.
  • Good post. Ben Haim and Bikey have proved to be a more than decent central defensive pair this season. Alas, this has meant no place for Morrison who has been a stalwart (to put it mildly) for the past few seasons.
    Morrison is a proud professional footballer. He wants first team games, Brum offered him the chance under a new and very bright manager, he was right to get away and start a new career as 'damaging' as it may appear to be to CAFC. Such is life. Good players must be difficult to placate and keep happy when they can't get a place in the first team.
  • Players leave.

    It happens all the time at every club. I liked Morrison and he is proving again at Brum that he is a decent Championship defender. Were we right to let him go? I don't know. He wasn't playing and may well have wanted to move on rather than be a sub. Still seems an odd decision until we see who comes in to replace him, if anyone.

    But I do think the write up on the OS, while quite rightly containing kind words of thanks, is ridiculously short on info about his time with the club or info on the deal. He and just about any player leaving deserves better.

    Exactly how I see it. As, you rightly say, players come and go all the time. when a fans favourite leaves (particularly as he was part of a successful side) there will always be a bit of an inquest going on.

    Ultimately though, it's the people running the club or the manager who have the final say. He wasn't in the team, BP preferred his own men (I use that phrase losely), and until things started to go wrong it on the pitch nobody could question his choice.

    The player clearly wanted first team football and to be valued, an opportunity came along that worked for him so he took it.

    The only thing that doesn't sit well with me was the lack a transfer fee, can't work that one out.

    The network thing, uncertainty over manager, who picks the team, Roly's intentions etc,etc don't help matters, but that's another story.
  • edited January 2015
    It's all about opinions, but mine (for what it's worth) is that I'd rather Morrison in my team than Bikey. Both have their strenghs & weaknesses, but overall, Morro would get the nod from me. I think it was a case of Bob signed his own 2 CB's so feels obliged to play them ahead of one of the "old boys". This sort of thing has happened for years and will continue...........
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  • The lack of muscle is in the middle of the park. Buyens tackling is utterly pathetic, Jackson is chasing shadows, JBG is no tough man for all his skill and whilst Cousins is more robust he still would not scare anyone. At to that the large but weak Tuc upfront and that is our issue.

    As you say, Champ teams are generally solid, muscular. You have to earn the right to play by standing up to them. We lose this battle time and again and until this is corrected with some more powerful, dynamic CM's and a striker we will always be second best and have a soft under belly.

    Sadly for Morro the one space we have muscle (except RB where despite his size Solly is one the the best tacklers I have ever seen) is CB where we have 3 monsters. I am still sad to see him go and think he would be ideal coming in now to give Bikey a rest. It is a nonsense to have got rid of him.

  • As you say, Champ teams are generally solid, muscular. You have to earn the right to play by standing up to them. We lose this battle time and again and until this is corrected with some more powerful, dynamic CM's and a striker we will always be second best and have a soft under belly.

    This is the thing I noticed on Saturday, yes they were better than us, but they were also bigger and stronger than us. What would have happened if Rhodes and Gestede were playing. They actually slaughtered us 2-1.

  • I thought MM was a very steady competent championship defender and an honest pro. Are Bikey and TBH better than him ? In my opinion yes. BP wants defenders comfortable on the ball and the reality is that Morro was a traditional british style centre half. Nothing wrong in that but not what our current coach wanted. Nothing wrong in that either. Footballers fall in and out of favour with managers, clubs and fans. It's the way it is. It's the way it will always be. Good luck Michael Morrison. You did us proud while you were here and I'm sure you will do likewise for Birmingham.
  • edited January 2015

    Agree with all of that.

    Just a couple of seasons ago we had a talented team full of team spirit and you could tell the players genuinely loved playing for the manager and with each other. Couldn't be further from that now.

    Completely agree. Real football is not a science. If you're playing championship manager or FIFA you get the best players with the best statistics and put them in the same team and you win. But real football doesn't work like that. Maybe to an extent, but there are countless examples at every level of football of 'on paper' better players being beaten and outdone by better, more organised TEAMS. Charlton have been that side on many occasions; Countless sides full of highly paid internationals have been relegated into the championship and rather than cruise straight back up have plummeted into obscurity; Chelsea won a champions league with a grossly inadequate side due to a real belief and determination between team, staff and players (not to mention supporters); Wimbledon 4 divisions below are giving Liverpool a right game as we speak with an 18 stone forward and a load of our rejects.

    There are better examples but the point is football is not a science. You need good players but it doesn't end there. Personally, I have never been behind Roland and never will be - but trying to put that aside and look it things logically, unfortunately Roland seems to think he is playing championship manager and that is the big flaw in his crazy network idea. Unless he gets very very lucky by unearthing a Mourinho / Curbishley-esque genius who is able to perform a miracle turning a group of needy, self interested and inadequate odds and sods from all sides of Europe into a ruthless, organised and determined outfits, I don't think it can work.

    But thanks for the wireless broadband connection you've given us.
  • In my opinion giving Morro away (presume no fee involved) was and is our biggest mistake.
    He was the club vice-captain, always gave 100%. Peeters is saying our players are tired.
    Then why let Morro go. Bikey looks knackered of late and needs a rest.
    This will come back to hurt us, as did letting Kermogant go.
    Personally have no faith in this new regime and will think hard about renewing my season ticket.
  • The fact that Peeters is now playing three centre halves makes it look even more of a mistake. Where Fox and Gomez both looked lost in a three at times during the Ipswich and Blackburn game respectively, you would have expected the more experienced Morrison to put in a better shift playing in that position.

    Also, as the weeks go by, where TBH gets better and better, I'm not so sure that Bikey is actually a better player than MM....
  • edited January 2015
    The fact that Peeters is now playing three centre halves makes it look even more of a mistake. Where Fox and Gomez both looked lost in a three at times during the Blackburn and Ipswich game respectively, you would have expected the more experienced Morrison to put in a better shift playing in that position.

    Also, as the weeks go by, where TBH gets better and better, I'm not so sure that Bikey is actually a better player than MM....
  • I thought MM was a very steady competent championship defender and an honest pro. Are Bikey and TBH better than him ? In my opinion yes. BP wants defenders comfortable on the ball and the reality is that Morro was a traditional british style centre half. Nothing wrong in that but not what our current coach wanted. Nothing wrong in that either. Footballers fall in and out of favour with managers, clubs and fans. It's the way it is. It's the way it will always be. Good luck Michael Morrison. You did us proud while you were here and I'm sure you will do likewise for Birmingham.

    With a small squad I think there is something wrong with the way bob treated him just because he's a different type of player. It was obvious to most he would be needed at some point in the season so keep him in the fold use him involve him. Mistake by Bob. I probably agree that Bikey an TBh are better i dont think Onyewu will be. And having morro to push them an keep the on their toes would be perfect. Also I'd have brought him in for the out of former Bikey more recently.
  • I don't think anyone could credibly argue with TBH and Bikey as the first choice pairing, as they've been excellent in the first half of the season. The overwhelming likelihood, however, is that one or both of them will pick up an injury or suspension over the next four months and I very much doubt that Onyewu - if he's actually fit - will be able to do the sort of job that Morro could have done. Nor would I be keen to throw a 17 year old Joe Gomez into the centre of the defence, certainly on an extended basis - I think that even Richard Rufus was 19 when he got into the side.

    I completely understand that Morro wanted to play and we don't, of course, know what discussions went on behind the scene with him and his agent and what his relationship was with Bob. There are, however, two elements surrounding his departure that leave me uncomfortable: first, the feeling that he was ushered out of the club with almost indecent haste (particularly given our wafer thin squad); and, secondly, that we didn't even get a fee for a 26 year old centre half, who is a model of consistency and commitment and of above average ability in this division.

    Fingers crossed that our two central defenders stay fit and that Bikey's erratic performance on Saturday was a one off.
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  • I agree! The squad is split down into three sections! Buyens,Gudmundson,Vetokele,Bikey,Ben Haim,Moussa,Tucudean and Bulot when you have the old squad Jackson,Wiggins,Pope,Church,Wilson,which as said Morrison was part of! proberly Henderson too and the young players! Is there team spirit hmm as said still not as much as say last season and season before that etc etc
  • The club is evolving to be sure. I was at the pre season Welling friendly and saw Bikey and Gomez second half - I was convinced there and then but wasn't sure about TBH who arrived later(?).
    Always remember that M.Duchatelet bought a club with a failing squad that were mostly out of contract last summer.
    Church is probably gone. Wilson?
    Back to centre backs...the ball playing build from the back style is being pushed for now and 2015-16... It's limited by a lack of skill and movement up top so the onus has to be on solving the front six between now and August.

    Once again thanks MM - sterling service and you didn't cut and run.
  • The word is that Bikey has a reputation for quickly losing interest/motivation and often needs a 'kick up the arse' in training. I fear we are starting to experience that in matches. Hope I am wrong.
  • Excellent thread started TMA. As I see it, our problem at the moment is that we are between squads. We will within a couple of years undoubtedly have a squad dominated by lads moving up from the Academy. We have decimated a team containing Kermogant, Morrison and others, and we currently are playing a team that looks like the French or should I say Belgian Foreign Legion. I wish that Roland would bite the bullet and tell us more about his plan for the next 5 and 10 years, he should understand that if we know more about what is happening, he will induce more support from us instead of the unrest which is starting to build, and will effect attendances and therefore income.
  • Granpa said:

    Excellent thread started TMA. As I see it, our problem at the moment is that we are between squads. We will within a couple of years undoubtedly have a squad dominated by lads moving up from the Academy. We have decimated a team containing Kermogant, Morrison and others, and we currently are playing a team that looks like the French or should I say Belgian Foreign Legion. I wish that Roland would bite the bullet and tell us more about his plan for the next 5 and 10 years, he should understand that if we know more about what is happening, he will induce more support from us instead of the unrest which is starting to build, and will effect attendances and therefore income.

    I think to stay positive rather than neutral or negative, you have to embrace the term you use "between squads". The argument that the Kermorgant, Morrison et al squad was not good enough to get out of this division has, being fair, proved to be true. Clearly Ben Haim is a class above and if more of his calibre are added to the team over the next 2-3 years, we will be a force to be reckoned with. As you say, we are in the dark. In Gliksten days, fans were always in the dark, but communication is different nowadays and some insight into the medium to long terms plan, even if it comes with a bit of spin, would be welcome.
  • edited January 2015

    In my opinion giving Morro away (presume no fee involved) was and is our biggest mistake.
    He was the club vice-captain, always gave 100%. Peeters is saying our players are tired.
    Then why let Morro go. Bikey looks knackered of late and needs a rest.
    This will come back to hurt us, as did letting Kermogant go.
    Personally have no faith in this new regime and will think hard about renewing my season ticket.

    For reasons that only Bob Peeters knows he didn't fancy Morro. He wasn't going to get games and was costing wages that could be better utilised elsewhere.

    Football finances are not what they were five years ago. The majority of players are not going to command a fee anymore. Especially ones currently not shining bright for their clubs.

    If he wasn't going to play under Peeters it made sense to move him on. We didn't give him away. The cold hard fact is that in the managements view he was worth nothing to us and was drawing a senior pro salary with no chance of getting a fee.

    Sad but true.

  • With the academy we are still going to be competing with the best clubs in Europe for our players on our doorstep, and those who are willing to be 'very nice' to the parents, is it a given that any kind of investment will necessarily bring a better academy? (perhaps a whole other thread)

  • I personally feel we would have let less goals in this season with him in the team. As a defender he is better than either of our current pair.
  • Commercially it's a shame we didn't get a decent fee.
    For those struggling with where we are going and why, see the quote from Belgium on another thread and try to imagine what the best 18 players at CAFC might look like in August ready for 2015-16.

    The fact is that the finance and the scouting is available to make another step change. After acquiring Vetokele, Gudmundsson, Bikey, Ben Haim and Henderson who might we land over the summer?

    Church and Wilson are out of contract...Buyens and Bulot (who?!) are on one year loans...the rest are contracted to the club for another 1-3 years. The youngest squad in the Championship will be one year older.
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Roland Out!