Wednesday, 20 June 2012

My Favourite Blade (Number 4) - Colin Morris

It's a pleasure to welcome Lee Doane (@8LAD35) back to A United View to talk about his favourite Blade, a favourite of mine as well, Colin Morris. As ever, if you want to share your memories of the wing wizard, why not use the comments section below.

My first proper season as a regular attendee at Bramall Lane was the 1983-84 season, when United won promotion from the 3rd Division. The hero of the terraces was undoubtedly Keith Edwards, with his golden boot winning 42 goals. Although I loved The King as much as anyone, my hero was Colin Morris.

Colin had joined United in February of 1982, during the Division 4 championship season from Blackpool for £100,000. I didn’t know anything about him at the time but remember my Dad saying what a good signing he was. This proved to be true as, during the next few years, Colin made a vital contribution to the team’s success, mainly due to the quality of service he provided to the forwards, in particular Keith Edwards. Keith regularly pays tribute to Colin’s wing play in his work as a match summarizer for Radio Sheffield.

Colin was what you could call an “Old school winger,” a wizard of the dribble. I remember that he appeared to be able run down the wing as if the ball was glued to his foot. He would take on defenders and whip in the aforementioned quality crosses to the forwards. I just found him an exciting player to watch. From 1982-83 onwards, Colin was the regular penalty taker and also weighed in with his fair share of goals. Until Michael Brown’s feat of 24 goals in 2002-03, Colin was the last United midfielder to score 20 goals in a season in 1983-84. Ian Porterfield, the United manager at the time recognised Colin’s attacking threat and occasionally deployed him as a striker when Keith Edwards was injured or out of favour.

A particular memory of mine is the opening day of the 85-86 season, away at Stoke City. Colin put United 2-1 up from the penalty spot and rounded off a great opening day away win with a terrific goal on the break from a Stoke corner, where he collected the ball around the centre circle and ran through the defence to fire home from the edge of the penalty area.

Colin’s United career came to an end during Dave Bassett’s first season in charge and his swan song was a volley in front of the Kop in the play-off defeat to Bristol City.

So why was Colin my favourite at a time when Keith Edwards was the golden boy? It is quite odd. I used to read MATCH magazine and during the 82-83 season they printed a poster of Colin Morris. It was a big deal for me to have a Sheffield United player featured in MATCH and the poster went straight on the bedroom wall. When United announced an open-day at the start of the 83-84 season, I took my poster in the hope that I would meet Colin and get it signed. As soon as I arrived, I spotted Colin and made a Bee-line for him.

LD:  “Colin, would you sign my poster?”

CM: “Sure son. What’s your name?”

LD: “Lee”

CM: “Oh aye? My lad’s called Lee, here you go son.”

It was a magic moment for me and I was star struck. What was also nice is that whenever I bumped into him at Bramall Lane, Colin always remembered me and said hello. It made me feel ten feet tall. Also, I was a ball-boy for a couple of games that season and one of the games was a 5-0 win against Bolton on New Year’s Eve. Colin scored a hat-trick that day and I was able to congratulate him at the final whistle.

Fast forward to 1998 and I was delighted to see Lee Morris follow in his father’s footsteps and become a first team star for Sheffield United. When I think of Lee Morris, I always remember that day in 1983 when I met his Dad.

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