At the turn of the century, Jody Morris was attempting to edge his way into a Chelsea side who had recently experienced domestic and European success. The central midfielder clearly had a lot of potential, he was a fighter and his work rate and hunger made up for the fact that he lacked height and physical presence. At 5ft 5in, it was inevitable that comparisons to the legendary Dennis Wise would be made. So how did Jody Morris experience a monumental fall from grace?
It all started going wrong for Morris in 2003. The midfielder rejected an offer of a five-year deal with Chelsea, instead opting to join Leeds. However with the club short of money he was released from Elland Road after just 12 appearances and this prompted his career to take a nosedive down the football ladder into the depths of the lower league and out of the bright lights.
Morris has not helped himself throughout his career, often acting as the prime example of a trouble making footballer, he has proved unable to keep himself out of trouble. In 2003, whilst still a Leeds United player, Morris was accused of sexually assaulting a 20-year-old woman and although the charges were eventually dropped, it is an incident that clearly did the career of the former Chelsea man no good. Couple claims of sexual assault with numerous nightclub brawls and drink driving incidents and you have yourself a footballer who clearly has an attitude problem. Morris was anything but wise off the pitch and this contributed greatly to his downfall.
It is not until you compare Morris with his counterparts in the Premier League that you realise just how much his career has suffered. Morris emerged through the youth ranks at Stamford Bridge with John Terry and claims to be good friends with Premier League stars Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard. Whilst Terry has been leading out England with his partner Ferdinand, Lampard has been touted as one of the world’s best, yet Morris has been slumming it with teams such as Rotherham and Millwall in the depths of the Football League. The former Chelsea man even spent a year without a club in 2007, having trial periods at London clubs Charlton Athletic and Brentford. I wouldn’t have thought this is what he had in mind when he climbed the Wembley steps to collect his F.A Cup Winners medal in May 2000.
Jody Morris is a perfect example of how a player destined for great things at a Premier League side can fall from grace. I am sure that the player would have disappeared from many fans memories if it wasn’t for his recent revival at SPL club St. Johnstone. The Scottish side are most definitely a step up from the likes of Rotherham; however Morris is still far from the dizzy heights of his Premiership counterparts.