The Monday Profile: Clinton Morrison
As the most experienced of Sheffield Wednesday’s summer recruits, much will be expected of the ex-Crystal Palace striker. Sadly for Wednesdayites, his story has been an all too familiar tale of promise descending into mediocrity. After his debut in the blue and red stripes at 18, there followed a four-season spell of much promise and no less achievement, culminating in 24 goals during 2001-02. A call-up to the Ireland national squad and a Â£4.25m transfer to Birmingham City seemed to confirm him as a player to watch. However, the dispatch of Andy Johnson in the opposite direction proved to be the most successful element of the exchange, as Morrison’s sojourn in the second city reaped a meagre 19 goals in 87 games. A return to South Norwood as a replacement for the prolific Johnson saw an improved performance, as the striker arguably found a more suitable level at which to practise his art, even taking 5th place in the club’s goalscoring list. Nevertheless, the depletion of Simon Jordan’s funds and enthusiasm led to a move back to the West Midlands, this time to Coventry City. A team and striker in decline never seemed to be an ideal match, and despite scraping into double figures in each of his two seasons in Warwickshire, Sky Blues fans never truly warmed to the player. A brief period of collaboration with fellow Irish international Leon Best apart, Morrison did not show enough of the talent for which Palace supporters still hold him in high regard.
The appointment, in June 2010, of Aidy Boothroyd in the place of his former Selhurst Park teammate Chris Coleman as manager didn’t bode well for the prospects of a contract renewal, and Morrison’s departure was confirmed shortly thereafter. To the surprise of some, Morrison chose a further downward step, to League 1. But Wednesday still have a big stage to offer and memories of Morrison poaching goals at Hillsborough in seasons past will bring predictions of a return to form. At 31 years of age, though, he doesn’t have long left to prove the critics wrong.