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Exclusive: Steve Morison raves about Millwall fans, discusses ‘difficult’ Leeds spell

The Welsh international spoke with pride when reflecting on Millwall’s most recent Championship campaign.

Jake Jackman



Steve Morison
Photo: Getty Images

Millwall achieved an impressive 8th placed finish during their first season back in the Championship and were ultimately only three points off of a play-off place.

The Lions were one of the surprise packages of the 2017/18 Sky Bet Championship season and Neil Harris deserves a great deal of praise for the results that he has delivered at The Den.

One player who symbolises what the club represents is striker Steve Morison.

The 34-year-old has played over 200 matches for the Lions and will undoubtedly go down as a Millwall legend.

In an exclusive interview with The Boot Room, the Welsh international spoke proudly about the recent campaign, praising the incredible team spirit as the reason behind the club’s success:

“We’ve got an incredibly tight-knit and committed squad of players who work hard both individually and collectively.

“Since he first took charge, the manager has implemented a way of playing which gets the best out of the players he has at his disposal and also, since the back end of last season, we’ve formed a great bond with the supporters.

“Each of those elements are important individually, but when you add them all together then it shouldn’t really be as big as surprise that we have surpassed expectation as it has been made out by some.”

(Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Although Millwall cannot compete with the finances of some of the bigger clubs in the second tier, they boast an ardent fan-base and they have found a set of players who have been successfully able to connect with those in the stands.

In the past, the supporters have been difficult to play in front of and some players have struggled to live up to expectation but that hasn’t been a problem for the current squad. Understandably, Morison was keen to emphasise the tremendous role that the supporters played throughout the campaign.

“They can be a tough crowd to play for when things are going against you but so long as you keep putting everything in to each performance, playing with passion and desire, then they will continue backing you.

“I’ve played at Millwall for a long time now all-in-all and I’m sure they respect my achievements and personality, as I do their honesty and love for the club.”

It is no surprise to hear Morison speak highly of the club’s supporters. After all, he has played more matches for Millwall than he has at any other club he has been with.

This is his third spell at The Den and he is a player that the supporters have formed a genuine connection with.

A no-nonsense centre-forward, who benefits from the atmosphere created by the fans, Morison doesn’t shirk a physical encounter, making him the perfect striker for the current squad.

“This really feels like home for me as a player. The club gave me my big chance when I first moved here, which was a platform to go on to play for my country and in the Premier League.

“Since that first spell I’ve been back twice, firstly on loan which wasn’t so successful for me or the club, and more recently since the gaffer took over.

“The style of play suits me and I suit the style of play, which is why I think my best performances have tended to come in a Millwall shirt.”

This season, Morison has shown no sign of slowing up, playing 44 of the Lions’ Championship matches and becoming one of the mainstays of the team under Neil Harris.

The 34-year-old only scored five times, but he was an important part of Millwall’s success. In addition to his goals, he contributed eight assists and was a handful every time he stepped out onto the pitch.

Over the course of the campaign he moved to within ten of 100 goals for the club.

(Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

“Personal records and accolades are always nice to receive but if I’m not scoring and the team is winning then I’m far happier than I would be if it was the other way around.

“I’ve had some great memories of my time at Millwall and hope there is many more to come, including reaching that goal landmark which any player, no matter what club they play for, should be proud of.”

That would be a major landmark to reach and it is likely that he will be given more than a fair opportunity to get the goals required.

Naturally, Morison is right to speak about the team being more important than personal achievement, but there is a good chance that he can enjoy both at The Den.

It would be a great moment for him, as he has enjoyed his best years at the club and to reach 100 goals would be a fair representation of his contribution.

Morison will be remembered fondly by the Millwall supporters, but the current manager in the dugout is already legend at the club.

Neil Harris achieved a lot as a player and has had a similar impact since taking over as the number one at The Den.

His former team-mate speaks positively about his current boss and it is obvious that he sees him as havingd a bright future in management.

“The gaffer is one of those who knows how to get the best out of players both individually and, when all put together, as a team. He is very honest and up front and we regularly have lengthy chats about all sorts of things. He respects the opinions of his players, especially senior ones like myself.

“He knows this club so well – he’s a Millwall legend – but he was right when he said, after his appointment, that he wanted to be judged on his performance as a manager and not as the player he was.

“Since then we’ve been to Wembley twice, winning promotion once, and almost secured a Play-Off spot for a chance to get to the Premier League. Those achievements speak for themselves and ultimately say a lot about his quality as a manager and a person.”

(Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

There are times when a manager and club fit like a glove. Harris and Millwall are an example of that.

He played the majority of his career at The Den and is one of the players who, like Morison aims to, scored more than 100 goals for The Lions.

During his playing career, he learnt everything there was to know about the club and it isn’t a shock that it has allowed him to transition seamlessly into management.

Harris started as the boss of the Under-21s and is now emerging as one of the most exciting coaches in the country.

Millwall’s style of play is functional, but it has earned the club good results.

An 8th placed finish is a superb achievement and sees them finish above the likes of Leeds United, Norwich City and Sheffield Wednesday, all of whom were seen as teams that could challenge for promotion this season.

He may now be seen in a similar way to Harris, but Morison hasn’t been at Millwall for his entire career.

The Welsh international tested himself at a higher level with Norwich in the Premier League. Meanwhile, he also played for Leeds United, but failed to make an impact at Elland Road.

It didn’t work out for him in Yorkshire, but he doesn’t want to make excuses for his lack of impact.

“I’ve been fairly honest in my assessment of my time at Leeds in the past. It just didn’t work out anywhere near as well as I’d hoped or the club had hoped for me. It was a difficult time to be a player with the controversy and uncertainty in the background, which does have an impact on performances and results.

“But as an individual I don’t want to make excuses. I didn’t play as well as I would have liked and as I have done since.”

Although it didn’t work out for Morison at Leeds, he won’t finish his career looking back at the spell with regret. Ultimately, it led him back to Millwall and that is where he feels at home.

The atmosphere and playing style allow him to play to a high standard, despite approaching 35 years of age.

Although some would consider Morison to be nearing the end of his time as a player, he isn’t ready to call it a day just yet.

“So long as I feel fit and I’m contributing then I want to play as long as possible. You’re a long time retired as a footballer and I want to prolong my own career as much as is possible.

“I feel that I’ve contributed well again this season and am looking forward to coming back for training again at the end of June to get ready for another campaign. I don’t look too far forward.

“As a club we’ve got to ensure that this season and the success we’ve enjoyed becomes a platform for progression and even bigger and better things in 2018/19. That has to be our aim.”

There is a lot for Morison to achieve before hanging up his boots. The 100 goals will be on his mind, even if it isn’t his main priority. Also, he will want to continue to play a part in the progression of Millwall.

The Lions finished 8th this season and there will be a desire to go one step further and make the play-offs during the 2018/19 campaign. It would be an incredible achievement for the club to reach the top-flight, but the last 12 months show that it shouldn’t be considered impossible.

Morison still has a part to play and it is clear he has the hunger to deliver sustained progression at the club.

Jake is a journalist based in the South East. He is a Newcastle United fan and has a keen interest in Dutch football. Jake can be found on Twitter here - @jakejackmann.

Nottingham Forest

The Nottingham Forest starting line-up that could challenge for promotion

Nottingham Forest will undoubtedly be looking to challenge for promotion next season.



Nottingham Forest
Photo: Getty Images

It is safe to say that the Championship is one of the most competitive leagues in world football and that means that prior to the 2018/19 campaign getting underway several teams will be considering their promotion chances.

Nottingham Forest have spent big this summer in an attempt to arrest some mediocre form of recent seasons and make a genuine assault on securing a place among the country’s elite in the Premier League.

Spanish boss Aitor Karanka is the man tasked with reviving the East Midlands-based club and his nine signings so far this summer have gone a long way towards suggesting that he means business during 2018/19.

After years of boardroom mismanagement the Reds are now showcasing a togetherness throughout the club that hasn’t been evident in former years and that is a trait that can only bode well on the pitch, as the club looks to move forwards.

Although it will be a tough task for the Reds to plot a promotion push next season, there is now genuine belief within the camp that the squad possesses enough talent challenge in the higher echelons of the division.

With that in mind, we take a look at the potential Forest starting line-up that would make them genuine Championship promotion contenders.

GK – Costel Pantilimon

The Romanian goalkeeper arrived back at the City Ground on a permanent deal this summer after impressing during a loan spell during the second half of the 2017/18 campaign.

Every promotion chasing side needs a solid custodian and in signing the ex-Manchester City man the Reds have now ensured that they will have one of the very best goalkeepers in the division next season.

The 31-year-old built up a solid rapport with the Forest faithful during his time at the City Ground last season and a tremendous double save against Derby County still lives in the memory of the club’s supporters.

RB – Sam Byram

The former Leeds United defender hasn’t checked-in at the City Ground just yet but if the reports doing the rounds are to be believed, the 24-year-old could soon be a Nottingham Forest player.

Byram is down the pecking order at the London Stadium and their new boss Manuel Pellegrini is keen to offload certain players in his squad to make room for new additions.

Tendayi Darikwa is Forest’s only senior right-back at the moment and it is imperative that the club sign another one ahead of the season kicking-off.

The former Burnley man was in decent form for Forest at the back end of last season but if a coup like Byram can be pulled off, it seems highly likely that he will get the nod to start the campaign.

(Photo by Ashley Allen/Getty Images)

CB – Michael Dawson

Aitor Karanka delighted the Nottingham Forest faithful earlier in the summer by completing the free transfer of fan favourite Michael Dawson, who checked-in following his release from Hull City.

Dawson had pushed to return to the City Ground during the January transfer window but a deal couldn’t be struck between the two clubs leading to a delay in the inevitable switch.

Although Dawson is now 34-years-old he will still be a massive player for Forest next season and his leadership skills and vast experience could prove invaluable attributes as the Reds hope to push towards the top end of the Championship.

CB – Tobias Figueiredo

The Portuguese central defender has turned his loan move into a permanent one this summer and it is a transfer which has given Forest supporters genuine hope of challenging for a place in the top six.

When Aitor Karanka raided Sporting Lisbon for his services back in January, some Forest fans questioned who the 24-year-old was and saw the central defender as a bit of a gamble considering his lack of experience in English football.

It was clear once the youngster was unleashed on the Championship, however, that he had the required quality to be a good signing for the club. Figueiredo faces a race against time to be fit for Forest’s opening game of the 2018/19 campaign, but nonetheless he looks set to be a big player for the club over the next nine months.

LB – Jack Robinson

The former Liverpool trainee arrived at the City Ground on a free transfer this summer following his release from Queens Park Rangers where he had been an key member of their team last season.

The 24-year-old played 31 times for the R’s last season at central defence but it seems likely that Forest boss Aitor Karanka will view Robinson as more of a left-back for the Reds.

The left-hand side of the back four has been a problematic area in recent seasons for Forest and although Ben Osborn filled in admirably last season, it would seem logical that Karanka will look for a more natural solution during 2018/19.

(Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

CM – Ben Watson

Aitor Karanka pulled off a major coup when he completed the signing of Ben Watson on a free transfer back in February and the ex-Watford man is firmly established as the Forest captain.

Watson worked tirelessly hard in the middle of the park during the second half of last season and on his day he is still one of the Championship’s very best midfielders.

The 32-year-old is the epitome of the sort of players that Aitor Karanka wants at Nottingham Forest and his experience of winning promotion previously could prove crucial in the Reds’ push for a place in the Premier League.

CM – Jack Colback

If you believe what you read in the newspaper then the Reds are set to complete the loan signing of Newcastle United midfielder Jack Colback in a deal which is sure to delight the majority of Forest supporters.

The 28-year-old made 16 appearances for the Reds last season during a loan spell with the club and the partnership he struck up with Ben Watson was particularly impressive.

If Forest can field Watson and Colback alongside each other again next season it would give them one of the most organised midfield pairing in the whole of the second tier.

(Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)

RW – Gil Dias

The 20-year-old arrived at the City Ground this summer on a season-long loan from French giants Monaco and he comes with a reputation as a star of the future.

The man who spent last season on loan with Fiorentina opened his Forest account this week by netting a superb solo goal in a 3-0 win over Malaga, dancing through four challenges before slipping the ball under the advancing custodian to instantly excite the club’s supporters.

Forest have signed a number of attacking talents this summer and it seems likely that Dias will get the nod to start on the right-wing ahead of academy graduate Matty Cash, who showed some promise in a similar role last season.

AMC – João Carvalho

Forest smashed their transfer record this summer when they paid £13.2 million for Portuguese prospect João Carvalho and the club will naturally be eager to see their record purchase smash the Championship to pieces.

The 21-year-old has arrived at the City Ground from Benfica where he tasted experience of playing in the Champions League and all eyes will be on Carvalho in the early stages of next season as he looks to adapt to the Championship.

Carvalho is comfortable on the ball and he is also capable of playing in a number of attacking positions, although it seems very likely that he will start the campaign in a number ten role.

LW – Joe Lolley

Given his impressive performances at the back end of last season it seems probable that Aitor Karanka will keep faith with Lolley when it comes to picking his team for the start of the 2018/19 campaign.

Forest secured the services of highly-rated Portuguese youngster Diogo Gonçalves this summer, so if Lolley is to get the nod to begin the season he will need to ensure that his performances maintain the consistency which they did at the back end of last season if he is to keep hold of his place.

The 25-year-old ex-Huddersfield Town man can really ignite his career at Nottingham Forest and the club’s supporters have already warmed to him following his arrival at the City Ground in January.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

ST – Lewis Grabban

Forest flexed their financial muscle by forking out £6 million to bring the prolific Lewis Grabban to the City Ground, in a deal which will have undoubtedly made the rest of the Championship stand up and take notice.

The 30-year-old talisman notched 20 times last season in loan spells at Sunderland and then Aston Villa, where his form helped them to the Championship play-off final.

Forest struggled desperately for goals during last season and their supporters will be ecstatic that Aitor Karanka has finally nailed down a clinical striker with proven ability of scoring in the Championship.

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Mohamed Eisa could be Sunderland’s answer to Jamie Vardy

The Sudanese striker has been in goalscoring form his entire footballing career.

Mathew Nash



Sunderland look in pole position to sign Mohamed Eisa from Cheltenham Town this summer. As reported by the Roker Report yesterday, Sunderland made a seven-figure bid for the player last week. That has since been reported by the Sunderland Echo to be in the region of £1 million and would be an excellent piece of business from the Black Cats.

Sunderland desperately need a new striker. The club are lacking any real striking options other than youngster Josh Maja.

Eisa has been in fine form for Cheltenham. Last season he scored 25 goals in 50 games for the League Two side in his debut Football League season.

(Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

There are of course reservations over his footballing background. The Sudanese-born Londoner has never played above League Two level. He came through the non-league ranks with Dartford, Corinthian and Greenwich Borough – never receiving any ‘formal’ academy football training.

But his raw talent could be enough to carry him through to success at Sunderland. The 24-year-old has a career record of 98 goals in 161 games.

That is comparable to Charlie Austin, who made his name with the likes of Hungerford Town, Poole Town and Swindon before heading for the big leagues. The best example, however, is probably Jamie Vardy.

Stocksbridge Park Steels, Halifax Town and Fleetwood Town is where he cut his teeth. Now he is an England international, Premier League winner and record breaker.

Sunderland will be aware this is a gamble but, as evident, those gambles can pay off. If Eisa goes on to become their very own Jamie Vardy, then £1 million will look a bargain in the years to come.

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Leeds United

Leeds United round-up: Vydra wants Premier League, Omeruo comments and Bounedjah no-go

All the latest news and gossip from Leeds United.

Mathew Nash



Vydra woe

Another stumbling block has emerged in Leeds United’s attempts to sign Matej Vydra this summer. As reported by The Sun, the Czech Republic forward is waiting on a potential move to the Premier League.

Whilst he is keen on a £11 million move to Leeds, and his club Derby are prepared to sell, the 26-year-old is also wary that it might be time to try his talents in the Premier League again.

The former West Brom and Watford attacker was the Championship’s top-scorer last season.

(Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)

Omeruo to follow?

Nigerian international defender Kenneth Omeruo has sparked talk of a Leeds United move, after commenting on new Leeds signing Jamal Blackman’s Instagram.

As reported by The 72, Omeruo commented ‘wait for me’ on Blackman’s post.

That has led many to wonder if he might be West Yorkshire bound.

Considering Leeds have also signed Lewis Baker on loan from Chelsea this summer, then a deal for former Middlesbrough loanee Omeruo is not beyond the realms of possibility.

Deal pulled

Leeds United have ended their interest in Baghdad Bounedjah. The Algerian paper L’Expression reports that the Al Sadd striker was simply too expensive for Leeds.

The Qatari club wanted a fee in the region of £13.25 million for the player, who scored 25 goals in 19 games last season.

But considering his lack of European experience, Leeds were not willing to pay the quoted price.

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