Oh, Ravel

January 31, 2012 Tags: Opinion 42 comments

The great white hope is dead; long live the next over-hyped Manchester United youngster. At least that’s the prevailing message today, as revisionism kicks in among the United fan base. Indeed, Ravel Morrison’s move to West Ham United has ended one of the most enduring dramas at the club. While the transfer also comes as a huge disappointment to many who have followed the youngster’s career, it is also a truism that the club and fans move on quickly.

The hugely talented 18-year-old – billed as everything from the new Paul Gascoigne, to the best Englishman since Paul Scholes – will no longer represent United after agreeing a permanent move south. It is a move all too inevitable since Sir Alex Ferguson and the club’s coaching staff decided late last year to part company with young Morrison. But this is a story with no clear narrative, encompassing high finance, personal ambition, and one seriously challenged young man.

The bare bones are these: Morrison has moved south for about £650,000 up front, rising to £2 million should certain performance targets be met. With Morrison’s contract running down, United had no stomach for the lottery that is the transfer tribunal. West Ham have a low-risk talent who could bloom into something far more valuable.

Meanwhile, the player will earn nothing like the erroneous figures reported in the press recently, with Morrison’s starting salary of £12,000 per week only rising in increments to £65,000 should the player become a huge success and promotion achieved. Morrison must attain performance and playing targets over the course of a four-and-a-half year contract to earn the big bucks on offer. Agents Nick Rubery, for Morrison, and Barry Silkmann for the Hammers, have certainly done well for their clients.

The player, who was also subject to bids from Newcastle United – rejected – and Bolton Wanderers – accepted – this window, officially completed the paperwork around 9pm on Tuesday evening, posing for the obligatory signing photo.

“I’m really pleased to have signed,” said Morrison on completing the deal.

“The move has happened very quickly and I’m looking forward to hopefully moving up to the Premier League with West Ham soon. I’m an attacking player and I’m hoping to get the fans on their feet. “ met with Sam Allardyce this morning and he welcomed me to the club. I also played with Robert Hall in the England team and I know him well so that will be really helpful to have someone here that I know.”

The transfer details are the easy part though in the multi-faceted story of how one of the finest talents of the past generation has left Old Trafford. “Too good to fail,” MUTV co-commentator Paddy Crerand once said. Indeed, it is not without just cause that Ferguson has regularly praised the Wythenshawe-born player’s magic feet and superb balance. Talents, some may argue, wasted at Championship level.

Yet, here is a player with the world at his feet who too often gave the impression of caring little for the game that should make him a millionaire. While Morrison’s tendency to drift out of matches has improved, to some extent, with age, the player’s attitude to training has irked far too many at Carrington. Coaches, senior pros, such as Paul Scholes, and particularly Ferguson have all spent time attempting to pull the player back from the brink.

It hasn’t worked though. “I don’t know why the United fans rave about Ravel,” one youth teamer reportedly told fanzine United We Stand recently. “When he can’t even be bothered to get out of bed in the morning.” The player, having been told he would make the first team squad should he attend every training session for three months failed even that seemingly simple task.

Running concurrently through Morrison’s time at Old Trafford has also been a series of off-the-field problems, including two appearances in court for assault and witness intimidation, and a 12 month referral order. None of which had previously precipitated Morrison’s removal from the club.

Then came the move that often drives change: Morrison changed agents last summer, from Colin Gordon at Key Sports to Nick Rubery’s Prostar Sports Management. It was a move widely thought beneficial in Old Trafford circles. Indeed, Rubery had no part in driving the widely reported, but factually incorrect, stories about Morrison’s outlandish wage demands.

Surprisingly, Ferguson chose his pre-match press conference a fortnight ago to lambast the youngster for an “unrealistic” financial requirements. It was an unseemly smear against a youngster whose principle gripe in recent months has been lack of playing time in the first team. True, Morrison has only himself to blame for not making the first team picture. The talent was always there; the attitude perhaps not.

Ultimately is was United, and not Morrison, that chose the path that has led this multi-talent youngster not to the lights of Old Trafford, but to Upton Park. Rejection will hurt the youngster. Failure to turn Morrison’s life and career around will injure Ferguson just as acutely.

Strange then that Ferguson should choose to bring money into the equation when, by all accounts, the Scot was the last man standing in the Morrison camp at Old Trafford. Every other coach had simply given up on the player. But with the manager’s sponsorship of Morrison’s progress, also comes culpability. Failure here was perhaps simply too hard to take.

This is also a highly troubled young man, whose apparent links with criminality have never been far from the surface. At West Ham, under Sam Allardyce’s guidance, Morrison will find a close Ferguson ally. There will be no secrets left in the closet for the Hammers to discover later.

But moving a division lower, and 200 miles south, is a chance, or perhaps a sign, that the penny has dropped. Morrison’s talents will surely be on display sooner rather than later, with West Ham riding high in the Championship Allardyce.

The rest is up to the player. Far from home – far from the distractions of Manchester – Morrison may well find a new focus. Salvation, the player hopes, will come in East London. That is if the bright lights and loose cash of the London lifestyle does not get to the youngster first, cynics might add.

Here’s where the frustration comes in of course. If Morrison does make it to the game’s summit, with the accompanying wealth, fame and adulation, there will be more than a small corner of Manchester with a rueful smile. His is a talent that absolutely should grace the highest stage. If only he wanted it badly enough. If only the demons inside could have been defeated.

It is this regret – anger if you will – that has led to no little revisionism in recent days. Suddenly, gone is the great hope. Ravel, it is now said, is a “fool”, “stupid” or, worse still, “greedy”. None of this is true.

And with little delay, and no ceremony, Ferguson will move on. The fans will move on too. The new hero may already have been born, with French midfielder Paul Pogba putting in a staring cameo appearance against Stoke City on Tuesday night.

One eye will be on Upton Park though, with a secret hope that a newly arrived youngster will eventually live up to that huge promise.


West Ham Fan No 32 - February 1, 2012 Reply

nicely written article, we will watch this space, hopefully he is old enough to realise that this jolt to the system is an opportunity not to be wasted.

Violent Banana - February 1, 2012 Reply

Glad he’s gone – terrible attitude and by all accounts not a very nice individual. He’s blown an incredible opportunity at United, but here’s hoping this can be the wake-up call he needs to sort his life out.

Dave - February 1, 2012 Reply

Watched him for years and the lad is talented. Not as much as this article suggests though. He is certainly not on the level of Scholes or Gascoigne.
I thought he might make it at United though in some capacity. Fringe first teamer.
Good luck to him. He will certainly find the first team football he craves down at west ham.

Ralphy - February 1, 2012 Reply

Anyone who has a big chance to make it at united and blows it because they can’t be arsed to turn up to training, amongst other things, is a FOOL and is STUPID. Its a shame about the greedy jibe as it now looks as if he was telling the truth about not wanting that much money. I can’t help but thinking it was a final act of fergie calling Ravel’s (and agents) bluff, and his immaturity, stubbornness and naivety have culminated in this worst case scenario.

I loved watching him play for our youth and reserve team. If Ferguson can’t tame him and feels that he’s undermining his coaching staff and setting the wrong precedent for other youngsters at the club (who want it more), then we have to assume that it wasn’t meant to be.

bman - February 1, 2012 Reply

Sounds like Fergie did him a favour by sending him to Allardyce — either there’s a buyback clause in there somewhere, or else he genuinely wanted to give him the best chance to get his shit together, in spite of it all.

Attitude is at least 50% of what makes a good player. If the lad’s not got the right attitude, he’ll never be that good.

rob - February 1, 2012 Reply

there is no buy back clause

Aussihammerfan - February 1, 2012 Reply

Must admit I was both surprised and excited to get this boy, not to mention just a touch concerned about his off field antics. Like the plan seems to be, I really hope for all involved, not least the kid himself he fulfils his talent away from Manchester, and if he can’t do it with your lot, we most definitey will be wishing him to do it with Us! We have been missing a creative midfielder which wthout knowing much about him is what I am assuming he is,so he will make a big difference to our side. (Should have had him last night!)No doubt Sam and SAF will be having some future dialogue………

Dave - February 1, 2012 Reply

This sounds like an interesting signing for West Ham. What have we let ourselves in for?

I must admit I’d never heard of him until until that Ferguson press conference the other week.

I hope he settles with us and doesn’t find even more distractions down here.

It sounds like everyone can gain here. You’ve got rid of a lad who maybe became more trouble than he was worth, My skint club get a talented player without too much of a financial risk. And he gets a second chance. I hope he makes the most of it. If he does he could well thrive cos like Man Utd, we’re one of those clubs who hold exciting flair players close to our heart.

We’ll see.

Tusmeister - February 1, 2012 Reply

Few leave and go onto greater heights, Fergie just doesn’t let long term quality talent go (Poss Piquet the exception) and I can’t help thinking that Morrison is another Keith Gillespie. Also for a troubled man with a background of ‘gangsta’ attitude, East London might not be the best place for him either. Then again, I’m guessing he could find bother in Norwich or anywhere else if so desired so its really up the lad to change peoples perception by becoming the player they say he could be and not disappear into a world medioracty.

admiral awesome - January 23, 2015 Reply

fergie doesn’t let long-term talent go, eh? you’re gonna love paul pogba, 2012 boy =P

Denton davey - February 1, 2012 Reply

In the FA youth cup final, he looked like the young (uninjured) Ricky Kaka BUT it appears that his off- field ( and training regimen ) was more comparable to Paul Gascoigne. In North America we say “a million dollar arm but a ten cent brain “.

Robert S - February 1, 2012 Reply

Sad to see him leave. We should have given him some kind of long term contract, and then send him out on loan for 1,5 years to some small town club really far away from manchester. If he gets rid of his wrong friends, the future may still look bright for him …

ja - February 1, 2012 Reply

A well structured article. No one comes out of this with credit particularly. Ferguson was crass in lying about the money angle a few weeks ago. Could just have said it was an attitude problem. But perhaps most pertinently, Ferguson’s stupid team selection against Palace was the final straw. Picking Gibson and Diouf ahead of Pogba and Morrison was idiotic. 3 have now left the club, question mark as to whether it will be all 4 by the summer.

Brown man - February 1, 2012 Reply

Shame. Thought that , if anyone, SAF would knock sense into him – I wish Pardew luck but can see Morrison being out of the game at 25.

Brown man - February 1, 2012 Reply

Meant Allardyce. Still stuck in 2006…

Blimey - February 1, 2012 Reply

If Ravel Morrison reads any of these articles/
comments, he should wake up and smell the coffee!
He’s blown a dream opportunity at Man Utd and has been given a lifeline by West Ham, show some f***ing gratitude Ravel and grow up.

RedScot - February 1, 2012 Reply

Great article.As normal well written and considered.
Just a very very sad tale for all concerned(at United) in this publicly played out drama.
Wish Ravel good fortune to rid him-self of his non football demons.

triggs - February 1, 2012 Reply

If Ravel had half a brain cell, he would have cried last night.

United cantered to an easy win to go joint top of the Premier League, while Paul Pogba, an excellent talent, who’s patiently waited for his moment, came off the bench for a fantastic cameo of his abilities, which will leave fans clamouring for him to start PL games ASAP.

At the same time, West Ham lost 5-1 to Ipswich in the Championship and Ravel’s agent/s cashed in.

I really hope Morrison comes good in London, but I sincerely doubt he will.

rob - February 1, 2012 Reply

He will come good you mug . He’ll score the winner at your place next season.

triggs - February 1, 2012 Reply

Good luck with that.

The last time Fat Same brought a team to OT it was 7-1.

Pablo - February 8, 2012 Reply

And the last time the hammers played Manc Utd…

Ed - February 8, 2012

Pablo – hate to be a pedant, but actually this was the last time West Ham and United played…

shauno - February 1, 2012 Reply

Oh well it is what it is. All I would say is that the odds are heavily stacked against him. Away from home in a strange place, lower standard of facilities and now even more hurdles in front of him to accomplish a career in the top flight.

He will now have to excel beyond all expectations in order to have a football career. If he had done enough to just get first team action at United in the same way as Gibson then next stop would have likely been another half decent Prem side. Even better if he played well then UCL next season. But now anything less than brilliant could see him tumble down the leagues going from pillar to post. Not a bad life if you have the strength of character to hack it and don’t waste your money. Is Ravel that type of character I don’t think so. Just stop and think about what he has done. He had United wanting him to be the best he could be and pay him tens of thousands to play football and he couldn’t even turn up for training as requested and stay out of trouble. As a United fan putting on a Man Utd shirt at OT didn’t mean enough for him to sort himself out. Doesn’t bode well for West Ham or Ravel.

On the plus side Pogba looks good. If he can translate his youth team form and fill out a bit then he could be first team standard. Give him a free role from time to time next to CM and/or behind CF in a 3 man midfield and you may see some interesting development in him.

Digga - February 1, 2012 Reply

i find it very hard to wish him any kind of luck. in fact, i hope he learns the hard way what a cunt hes been. had a chance to play for United, fucking waste

shauno - February 1, 2012 Reply

I think people are being a bit harsh. He hasn’t killed anyone. He is just guilty of spurning one of two opportunities. Granted one that we would all have loved to have had. But thats all.

Alfonso Bedoya - February 1, 2012 Reply

Commenter said:
i find it very hard to wish him any kind of luck. in fact, i hope he learns the hard way what a cunt hes been. had a chance to play for United, fucking waste

^^^… This.

brianofnazareth - February 1, 2012 Reply

He’s a fool.

His career will un-Ravel right before his eyes…

Alfonso Bedoya - February 1, 2012 Reply

Commenter said:
I think people are being a bit harsh. He hasn’t killed anyone. He is just guilty of spurning one of two opportunities. Granted one that we would all have loved to have had. But thats all.

No, he hasn’t killed anyone… he’s just turned his back on the club that gave him the training, and the chance to be a star… even though he was a fuckin menace off field, causing Fergie and club nothing but headaches…

Granted, the club had its own motives for carrying him… they wanted to exploit his talent… but in return, he would have been made very wealthy, and given hero status by the fans… all he had to do was keep his head down, train hard and play football… something most of us mortals dream about.

Instead, he said fuck off… I want, what I want, and I want it now…

Fuck him… and I don’t wish him well… I hope it all goes to shit for him… selfish, greedy, cunt.

shauno - February 1, 2012 Reply

Yeah I don’t really disagree with you, you’re right. Life’s a two way street if you want to get the most out of it. Seeing someone act in a selfish, irresponsible way when others have invested so much time and effort and offered the world makes you think “well sod em”. I guess I don’t feel that let down because I’m a big believer in grit and determination and generally putting the effort in. He doesn’t fit the bill so he is useless to the club.

Seeing him toss it off and succeed would piss me off but equally seeing people like John O’Shea, G and P Neville with money in the bank and winners medals is great to see. Not the most talented but towed the line, put the effort in and came up trumps. I guess I just don’t feel that strongly about him and think united have done the right thing. United are right to get shut of him if he turns it around and becomes a world beater then thats fine but doesn’t mean that united were wrong to get shut. All in all I just don’t feel that strongly about it. I’d be more disappointed if we lost Pogba.

Damian Garside - February 3, 2012 Reply

Hey Alf what a sweet man you are.

If his loss is no big deal, why are you so full of bitter spite at his leaving?

uncleknobheadforfucksake - February 1, 2012 Reply

from an england perspective I wish him all the best

if he has a superb england career taggart will look like a cock, again

shauno - February 1, 2012 Reply

Maybe in some peoples eyes but the reality is, if it’s true about the fact he fell out with coaches staff, players and didn’t turn up for training he had to go. If united rewarded that behaviour it would have only got worse and been an affliction. Even if he does do well the press are gonna crucify the lad whether he does right or wrong.

You can imagine the scenario he does well and the press recount how SAF let him go then after that unless he becomes some kind of saint they will be all over him with lies, gossip etc. It would do my head in as a fan constantly defending him. It’s bad enough with Rooney. Can you imagine what its going to be like with a millionaire ex-gang member with a criminal record!

Alfonso Bedoya - February 1, 2012 Reply

This, from “quotes of the week”…

“Ravel will be fine at West Ham because he’s going to a winning environment surrounded by talented players.” Ravel Morrison should be fine now he’s left those losers at Manchester United to join West Ham, according to Phil Brown.


Bloody hell…

Gabagool - February 2, 2012 Reply

I can see him flitting from club to club over his career cos he’s gonna make enemies and piss people off wherever he goes. Talented, no doubt, but unfortunately as thick as pig shit with it. The next Joey Barton.
Fuck I hope we keep hold of Pogba now though.

nailyclops - February 2, 2012 Reply

Words can’t describe what a fool he is.

Alfonso Bedoya - February 2, 2012 Reply

You only post once a year now…

And that’s the best you can do?


Pikey McScum - February 2, 2012 Reply

Alfonso Bedoya said:
You only post once a year now…

And that’s the best you can do?



nailyclops - February 3, 2012 Reply

Alfonso Bedoya said:

Pikey McScum said:

Busy, busy, busy…

Alfonso Bedoya - February 3, 2012 Reply

Commenter said:
Hey Alf what a sweet man you are.

If his loss is no big deal, why are you so full of bitter spite at his leaving?

Who said his loss is no big deal?

I consider it a very big deal… he was rated as the best prospect we’ve produced in years… but he’s a dumb, greedy cunt, with no loyalty…

I think I’ve good reason to be bitter.

Anymore stupid questions?

uncleknobheadforfucksake - February 3, 2012 Reply

how much do you weigh

Alfonso Bedoya - February 3, 2012 Reply

Let’s just say it would take 2 of me to tip the see-saw with you.

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