UK news 'Morgan Day' was special but it was all about the team, not just about me, claims Glentoran legend Chris Morgan last news
MetiNews.Com - He's a reluctant hero in many ways. Chris Morgan may have written his name into the rich fabric of Glentoran Football Club, but the Drumbo man visibly cringes when a certain date is mentioned.
Breaking News ! "He's a reluctant hero in many ways. Chris Morgan may have written his name into the rich fabric of Glentoran Football Club, but the Drumbo man visibly cringes when a certain date is mentioned. 'Morgan Day' is now an occasion every Glens fan wants to celebrate. Saturday, April 23, 2005. Who will ever forget it?It may have been 15 years since Chris tapped in what was effectively a title-winning goal against his former club Linfield in front of a packed house at The Oval, but he maintains it was no one-man show.Having moved across town the previous season, it was inevitable that Chris would emerge the match winner once Blues goalkeeper Alan Mannus had pawed away a header from Michael Halliday. It was a tap-in for a predator supreme."It came second nature to me, I always followed in. I'd been doing it since I was nine years of age," smiles Chris. "A lot of times the ball didn't break for me, but it paid off that time."I very nearly missed it. I was just outside the line of the post when I hit it, so it could have been one of the most famous missed chances ever. It was so instinctive."To be honest, I can't even remember my emotions after it. I had scored in the League Cup Final that season, beating the Blues 2-1. I also scored in the Boxing Day game at Windsor when it finished 1-1. But I didn't celebrate either."I celebrated that one. My mum was at the game, so I ran towards her general direction. I pointed to the upstairs section (of the stand), but she was actually in the bottom half."Sometimes I get a little bit embarrassed because the result was not all about me, there were 11 of us that all played a part. I did play well, I scored and created the other two, so it was job done as a front player. But Pat McGibbon and Leeper (Paul Leeman) were brilliant at the back, so it's not fair on those guys that it was dubbed 'Morgan Day'."For someone who has clinched an Irish League title winners' medal at three different clubs, it's perhaps no surprise that Chris is the man for the big occasion. The first of those triumphs was with Crusaders when he was a fresh-faced teenager."I joined Crusaders as an 18-year-old, I was playing for Saintfield in the Amateur League," he recalls."When I was 14 or 15, I had problems with my back which impacted me throughout my career as I always had groin or hamstring problems. I was a year out at one time."But we played Crusaders reserves in a pre-season friendly and we beat them 5-1. I played in the first half and scored four. Billy Sinclair asked me to Seaview after that game. I didn't know if I was good enough. He reminded me that I'd just scored four goals against his team."That was a Monday night. I travelled up to Seaview and played for the Crues reserves - and scored - on Tuesday. I played again on Thursday and scored again. It was all pre-season stuff, but I was included in the first-team squad on the Friday night. I made my debut away to Chimney Corner."When the season officially kicked off around a week or so later, I came on for the last 10 minutes against Omagh Town and scored. That was it. It all happened really quickly."Roy Walker was the manager. He told me I would be part of the first-team group, although I would still play with the reserves. In the first year, we won the League and I played around 10 games."We'd a great squad - Kevin McKeown, Glenn Dunlop, Sid Burrows, Kirk Hunter, Stevie Baxter, Glenn Hunter and, of course, the Dublin contingent, Marty Murray and Robbie Lawlor and that crowd."The dressing room was full of big, big characters. They were good guys, but they would have tested your character very quickly. It was all about toughening me up as well. They trained the way they played. They tested you, but they also protected you. It was a great experience and we won the League again in 1997.
.Chris adds: "I had knocked back the Blues twice previously, I knew I couldn't afford to do it again. I may not have got another crack at it. I think it was right for me personally."Everything about Linfield was different, in terms of expectation levels. The club had a difficult few years, but David Jeffrey and Bryan McLoughlin were nurturing a squad capable of challenging for trophies."When we won the League (in 2000), it hadn't been done for the previous five years. There are not too many times in the club's history that had happened."After that, we just took off, we were simply brilliant. We were 20 points clear after the turn of the year in 2000. We may have lost up at Coleraine, but it was the day we clinched the title - it was incredible."My dad, Jim, died in December 1999. It was a tough time for me, but I had great support from people in and around the club."In my years at Linfield, it was as good a time as I had in football."Glenn Ferguson, Davy Larmour and Lee Feeney were the three front players and a lot of people questioned my desire to go there."I improved as a player and my standards improved. I think the bigger stage probably helped me. The bigger the game, the better I would have played. If I had a criticism, I didn't do it all the time. I don't know whether it was a mentality thing or not. If every game had been a Cup Final, I probably would have been a better player."For a one-off game, the 2002 Irish Cup Final win over Portadown was up there with my highlights because I scored our two goals. One of the goals that day was special, I hit it well and the ball flew into the top corner. Everything about the day was magical."Portadown went into the game as champions, so we were in the unusual situation of probably being underdogs. That's my only Irish Cup medal, I also lost in two Finals."Chris admits his lowest point in football came the day he wasn't offered a new contract at Windsor."I had a stinker in the penultimate game of the 2004 season at Larne. I missed a penalty early on and then a sitter with my head. I was hooked after about an hour. I had a bad day. I was left out the following week when we beat the Glens to win the League," he says."David (Jeffrey) obviously had other ideas and he signed a few other guys. I think it came down to a choice between Davy Larmour and I who stayed and he opted to keep Davy."I was hugely disappointed because I was very close to a lot of people in the dressing room. I never held any hard feelings. It was my most difficult moment in football. Had I been offered a 12-month contract, I would have signed it."Chris was on the verge of joining Ballymena United when Glens boss Roy Coyle came knocking."My dad was a great Glentoran man," adds Chris. "He grew up supporting the club. He used to watch me in a Linfield shirt, but I'm sure he would have loved to see me in a Glentoran shirt."I knew as soon as I put pen to paper, I kissed goodbye to anything that happened to me at Linfield. I knew exactly what it meant and I was aware of the baggage that came with the move."Any sympathy Linfield fans had for me after being released was totally forgotten about."But from a football point, it was the right move. My mum's side of the family are all dyed in the wool Linfield fans, but my dad's side were Glentoran so I suppose it kept both sides happy. I think it was the right thing to do, especially as dad wasn't around anymore."Coyler gave me a great piece of advice, stating, 'Don't go and try to prove Linfield and David Jeffrey wrong, just prove yourself right'. It is something that has stayed with me.""
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