Ravel: Unravelled

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Manchester United’s ‘next big thing’ may believe his own hype but many others are starting to doubt it after more cracks began to show both on and off the field for the young star.

After his standout performances in last season’s Youth Cup many believed this would be the season the Manchester-born winger would break into the first team at Old Trafford. However, as is often the case with supremely talented young footballers things aren’t that simple. With the world at his feet Morrison’s career could still go one of two ways.

Hailing from Denton, Greater Manchester and a lifelong United fan, Ravel Ryan Morrison initially signed as a first-year scholar in July 2009. Making an immediate impact at schoolboy level and scoring in United’s Youth Cup defeat to Chelsea in 2008/09, while only 15. A pacy attacking midfielder, capable of playing out wide or in the middle. Superb balance, vision, strength and tenacity allowed Morrison to stand out from the current crop of youngsters vying to make it big at Old Trafford.

A year after his antics against Chelsea, Morrison signed his first professional contract with The Red Devils, by this time he was already a regular in the Reserves and many were clamouring for Sir Alex Ferguson to give him a chance in the first team. Arguably the most gifted footballer to come through the ranks since Paul Scholes, Morrison was undoubtedly going to be the next of Fergie’s Fledglings to set the footballing world alight.

While on the field everything looked rosy, off the field things were far from perfect. Wythenshawe was where Morrison honed his footballing abilities but it was also the place that shaped him as a person. An estate in South Manchester renowned for guns and gangs, Morrison spent most his free time on the streets causing trouble, something that didn’t go unnoticed by his club, or the police.

At 15 Morrison was cautioned by police for an assault on his own mother. Two days after signing professional terms at Old Trafford he was arrested for intimidating a witness.

It’s a story that is all too familiar where young footballers are concerned, former England and United captain Rio Ferdinand knows all too well the issue at hand. Growing up in Peckham Ferdinand has admitted he can relate to the story of Ravel Morrison and even reportedly offered to take the youngster into his home.

Things on the pitch were still going well despite this and in October 2010 Ferguson handed Morrison the number 49 shirt and a senior debut against Wolves in the Carling Cup. The same season he was named Man of the Match as United won the Youth Cup for the 10th time. Morrison scored two and won a penalty as United beat Sheffield United 6-3 on aggregate.

Still there were doubts, was his refusal to comply with authority going to affect him on the pitch? His coaches at England obviously thought so and were reportedly about to give up on the player before something, probably his outstanding talent, made them change their mind. Ferguson though appears to have been less stringent. That kind of leniency isn’t unheard of at Old Trafford, exceptions have been known to be given to especially gifted players, notably messrs Eric Cantona and George Best.

The bad boy wasn’t done yet and in May of this year Morrison escaped a prison sentence that would surely have meant an end to his Manchester United career. Let off the hook as his girlfriend refused to press assault charges, a fine for criminal damage was all that was added to his record.

Again though, he was given an other chance, just five months later he pulled on the number 49 shirt once again, replacing Mame Biram Diouf against Aldershot in the Carling Cup. Looking assured on the ball, dangerous when in the final third and energetic throughout, Morrison showed that despite his problems he is still improving.

After his fleeting taste of the big time he was returned to Warren Joyce’s reserves, something which doesn’t appear to sit right with the laborious teenager. Morrison took to Twitter last week to air his grievances at being left on the bench against Everton, tweeting, “—- take” and “I can not waite til the end of the season” after the game had ended. Thankfully this time his anger was channeled peacefully and not violently, still that didn’t stop him receiving a warning from one time boy-wonder, Wayne Rooney. Morrison quickly backtracked but his sentiments were clear.

The choice is his. He can repay the faith shown in him by the club, his team mates, the fans, even his own family. Or he can continue down his path to destruction and become another one of football’s tragedies. Either way, the Ravel Morrison story doesn’t end here.

Watch Ravel score as Manchester United Reserves beat Bolton Wanderers Reserves 1-0 a few weeks ago. It was a dire contest but it was suddenly brightened up and won by Ravel with the final kick off the game.


 
Follow me on Twitter to read more of my ramblings on/at Ravel Morrison and other football related rubbish. @MFJOEL

Joel D

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41 Comments

  1. hey joel. guess what! nobody cares about your stupid opinion. true manchester united supporters support the players and dont write one sided blogs focusing on the negatives and ignoring the positives. cantona well into his 20’s used to do more bad things in a week than ravel has done in his whole life. of course blogs like this didnt exist back then so idiots like you didnt have a platform to spread their pointless views around the world. hes a young kid trying to do the right things. you dont him you dont know whats going on behind the scenes. as long as the club are satisfied with him why the fuck would anyone care about your opinion.

    • easy fella, its only an opinion. Player in question hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory . It may not be so pointless if one of our own is heading down the wrong path

    • hes a young kid trying to do the right things

      Is going awol from Moss Lane because he couldn’t get a game for the Reserves ‘doing the right thing’?
      Is not turning up for training for 3 weeks ‘doing the right thing’?
      Is intimidating a witness (allegedly) ‘doing the right thing’?
      Is calling the end of seasons club awards ceremony “shit” ‘doing the right thing’?

      The lad’s got a terrible attitude and until he grows up and out of it then ‘terrible blogs’ like this one will continue to offer a view on it.

      There’s many a positive word been written about Ravel on here by me and others, Joel has merely chronicled his short career and life (that we know about) so far.

      This is only your 2nd comment on RedRants SW, in the first you stated how terrible this blog is and now you’re welcoming a new writer by telling him no one cares about his opinion. Either use this place for friendly discussion or don’t comment mate. I presume YOU don’t know Ravel either OR what’s going on behind the scenes, therefore how do you know what’s written is right or wrong?

      • oh im sorry if i if i hurt joels feelings. give me a break! think about it for a second. joel is an anonymous person on the internet who has just wrote a damning piece on an 18 year old kid who is not anonymous but in fact very well known. this 18 year old kid basically lives in a fishbowl where his every act gets scrutinised and analysed to death by people who dont know him. he never asked for this and he has never commented on joel. (Im sure joel is absolutely perfect and never does anything wrong) so why does it bother you so much that some dude hiding behind his computer gets criticised yet you want to stand up for his right to publically criticise a young kid who has nowhere to hide. no point in dishing it out if he cant take it.

        • He hasn’t criticised him, he’s just chronicled what’s already been reported and asked the question ‘where will it end?’. That’s a question everyone wants answering and only time will tell.

          And I’m sure he can take it, but personally I dislike people having a pop at someone unfairly, and your first post was imo a bit unfair.

        • and just to add to that….you’re also hiding behind your screen. Would you say ‘nobody cares about your stupid opinion’ and ‘why the fuck would anyone care about your opinion’ to a perfect stranger the first time you spoke to him in the street?

          I doubt it because you’re probably an ok bloke really…..without a keyboard! πŸ˜€

        • look the only one here whos going to suffer is the guy who has to read yet another piece pointing out his faults and mistakes to the world. neither me you or joel is going to be affected by this. i think its a very one sided piece and if ravel has any sense he wont read it (despite the fact that joel sent it to him on twitter) and will just get on with his football. the true united supporters are behind him and not on his back.

        • I agree, and I’m honestly not taking the piss here but, if Ravel can read (and believe me I know there’s a chance that he can’t read very well) there’s absolutely zero chance he’ll bother to read it even if he can.

          And to find out how behind him I personally am then read my season review of the academy last season and the FAYC posts, no one wants him to grow out of this and concentrate on his football more than me…..I’d say that’s pretty positive.

          http://soccerlens.com/manchester-united-the-2010-2011-academy-season/70899/

        • Rimmers you don’t need to explain yourself mate. All the regular bloggers on here know how much you are wanting to see Ravel succeed. But the lad has to realise the scrutiny on his life young or old when playing for a club like Man Utd.

        • Dudes … stop your fighting over nonsense. Ravel needs to decide what he would like to do … play for UTD or be a stupid lil Ganster wannabee. It’s all up to him now. Utd should move along and get rid of him if he doesn’t come to the party. I’d love to see him break into the 1st team but UTD cannot wait forever for him to sort out his personal life.

        • sheesh, you’re deep man, only my 2 cents but you probably shouldn’t be on a blog.

        • Mate who are you saying shouldn’t be on a blog – SW ? I think it is his post you are answering – right?

        • And the comment on my feelings is really grating on me. I never said I was perfect and why would Ravel Morrison comment on me? I’m no one, he’s someone who one day, if he plays his cards right, is going to be idolised by millions of kids around the world. No one wants their child to have a petulant, troublemaker as a role model.

          I totally understand he is 18 but when you do live your life ‘in a fishbowl’ then it’s time to grow up a bit, Ravel knows he’s in the public-eye to a degree and anyway since when was ‘being a kid’ an excuse for criminal behaviour, be real.

          I’m not hiding, gladly criticise me, you’ve criticised what I wrote but what do you have to criticise me on personally? I’m not as successful as I want to be, I dropped out of University, I’m in a pretty dead end job, I’m an average lad from Manchester, so do you worst. Ravel Morrison is not any of that. He has the chance to escape that mediocracy and believe me, worse things than this article are going to be written about him in years to come. So get used to it.

        • Nowt wrong with an average lad from Manchester Joel = OT is full of them, and said average Manc lads will be helping pay Ravel’s wages in the future if he succeeds at United!

        • He’s right Joel, don’t put yourself down in an attempt to quantify your opinion, the facts are there.

          Anyway, shall we talk about his football….?

          Seriously, has anyone ever seen a more naturally gifted English player? I know I haven’t.

        • Your right Ian – Ravel is certainly most naturally gifted. He has football genious in those boots of his – I hope he makes it big at Man Utd.

        • Ravel is playing for Mcr United – of course he lives in a fish bowl like all United youngsters – sheez! If you think his activities on and off field are not going to be continually scrutinized – then I have to ask you where have you been when it comes to Man United mate? Every United player young or old is scrutinized! It comes with the Man Utd territory – more scrutined than any other club on the planet.

      • You tell him Rimmers – and I agree with you 100%. No doubt this SW is a friend of Morrison, or a definate family member – I mean come on!

    • This isn’t exactly an opinion piece, I was mainly just trying to chronicle his time at United so far, albeit mainly off the field and posing a question. If I was to write about Ravel’s footballing ability then it would be full of superlatives. I’m not saying he’s the baddest lad in football, just commenting on what he has done.

      If you don’t care about my opinion then don’t read it. I understand what you’re saying but why should anyone ‘true United fan’ or not stand by and not admit a player’s shortcomings? I don’t agree with what he’s doing off the pitch, mainly the things that affect him at United (Moss Lane incident) but I also think, from what I have seen, he is being a very ungrateful, selfish and sometimes arrogant young man. He’s in a very privileged position and as I said in the article has the world at his feet. Why wouldn’t I criticise what he’s doing?

      He has the chance to be part of something that is far bigger than him, to contribute to the success of the biggest and best club in the world and make a shit load of money out of it in the process. He needs to realise that and regardless of what you think we shouldn’t have to but up with his often petulant behaviour.

      And for the record, I’m not hiding behind a computer screen, I will gladly say what i wrote here to anyone, yes I sent it to Ravel on Twitter, it wasn’t intended seriously and I knew he wouldn’t read it but it was worth a shot.

      I’m not in the business of arguing with fellow United fans, especially ones who I agree with. I’m willing Morrison to live up to his potential but I also want him to cut out a lot of the other things he’s doing. Why would anyone support someone who could end up in prison or worse if they don’t stop certain things they are doing. He’s not going to wear that number 7 shirt in Strangeways.

      • Joel you said right – and you are right in your assessment of Ravel, both in what you say about his personal problems and his footballing contribution. Big difference between the two and you should highlight the big differences. The nine thumbs up SW got, were no doubt from Ravels teenage friends – end of!

    • Well now – you obviously care about Joel’s opinion, or you wouldn’t be on here spouting – now would you? Who are you anyway????? I never saw you post on here before – so legitimate question? πŸ˜€

    • You still read the whole article though i bet!! Why does it bother you so much that someone has taken the time to write an article about a player? Which i dont think is biased and one sided at all, he critises the bad and praises the good, not really one sided and biased is it…

  2. The twitter comment is blown WAY OUT OF PROPORTION and is just such poor “journalism” (if we can call it that). Ravel was going on vacation with his cousin/friend and had booked tickets for end of season.

    Saying: β€œI can not waite til the end of the season” means absolutely nothing and that Rooney should “reprimand him” is just a joke — does Rooney even find us a competitive side worth playing for unless he is paid 150K+/week?

    Why can’t a kid who plays reserve games at United look forward to vacation with one of his best friends and tweet/scream/facebook it all he wants?

    He is just a kid and kids do stupid things… unfortunately, when you are a kid and a United player these “things” get hyped to the 10th degree and Ravel is made out to look like a criminal.

    Finally, the title injects tremendous bias into the piece… unraveling implies collapsing or failing, in case the author didn’t know and just wanted to revel (<– see I can play with words too) in words?

    • I think he meant Unravelling the story….nothing else. Be honest, the word just fits nicely so it’s an obvious title, I wouldn’t read to much into that tbh.

    • Look, believe what you want about the Twitter comment, regardless it’s been mentioned in the press and is something to touch upon in an article chronicling the player’s career, so I did.

      I understand he’s just a kid, I was a kid once and I did stupid but I never ended up in trouble with the police as much as Ravel has been, I understand the spotlight is on him but no one can argue what he’s done is wrong, not once but twice.

      As for the title it was mainly wordplay not meant to inject bias. I meant it not to imply failing or collapsing but to meant to clarify or explain, a secondary definition of Ravel. So please, read no bias into the that.

  3. I would say though Joel, this is the problem with talking about/or getting involved in discussions about Ravel.

    Better left alone imo and we’ll all see eventually what he does with himself.

    • Come on now Rimmers – Ravel Morrison is a United player – and why is his character and contribution to United cause excused. It needs to be discussed. He is a great footballer in the making, but his off field behaviour from all accounts leaves a lot to be desired! Shame because he could and should be a United great. It all depends what sort of people he gathers around him as hangers on – because I hear his family are A OKay!

    • Because the press (and blogs πŸ˜‰ ) puts unrealistic pressure on Ravel (i.e. expects him to act like Queen Elizabeth).

  4. I think it needs to be pointed out to SW and even Ravel himself if he reads this that we are all behind him. He’s got the skill, but many talented people have suffered from being a bit of a dick.

    Gazza and Best are two prime examples of great talent that was never truly fulfilled due to personality problems, and I truly believe that without SAF’s guidance you could add Rooney to that list.

    Rooney is a hot head who could have easily spiralled into the nonsense that Gazza did. The only difference is Fergie. If Gazza had signed for us instead of Spurs like he was meant to, he’d have been a different person. Again, Ravel has that chance to learn from Fergie, and everyone in Manchester is desperate for him to knuckle down and do it.

    • I hope he doesn’t read this now Trav for your sake, you just called him a bit of a dick!

      Heel b rwnd ur gaf frowin stonz at ur window n evryfin!

      πŸ˜€

  5. What a load of rubbish, the old excuse he is young. Well I was 18 once and I can’t remember ever assaulting my mother or intimidating a police witness. I an sick and tired of excusing the behaviours of grown adults simply because of tribalism support. The guy is a scumbag, yes he has bags of ability but so did Jemaine Pennant. There are so many young footballers who think they are gangsters, it is embarrassing, they need to grow up an realise they have a great opportunity, which many would saw their arm off for.
    As a human being I have my own standards, the great club I support has incredible standards, this idiot doesn’t regardless of talent.

    • That’s where the whole irony is, I honestly don’t think he is a scumbag mate

      Ok I don’t know the lad but I’ve watched his behaviour on and around the football pitch and in public he appears to conduct himself well. I’ve seen him sitting in the stands signing autographs, (bear in mind they’re very intimate stands at Carrington, holding about 250 people say and, only a few rows deep, so there’s no hiding place, if you sit in them you WILL be noticed) and chatting with (I guess his agent) but happily having his picture taken with people who’ve probably just butted into a conversation. I actually work with 2 lads who went to school with him (apprentices – yes they do get sent for tartan paint and a long stand now and again! πŸ˜€ ) and another who’s older but played football with him on his street in Stretford. They’re able to tell you plenty of good, bad, funny and not so funny things Rav got upto. Obviously the one common subject is how good he was. He plays football with mates at the JJB arena (for anyone who doesn’t know, there’s about 60-70 5-a-side pitches there and it’s packed every night), you can imagine the amount of attention he gets there! These aren’t the actions of a gangsta! He’s far from that, he’s just been aloowed to get away with whatever he wants both at home and to a certain extent at the club, for far too long.

      Watch him next time he scores. I noticed this especially last season, that when he scores HE’S always the one to end up doing the hugging! That probably sounds daft but most other scorers are jumped on by team mates and hugged. When Rav scores it seems to be the other way around. Maybe David Cameron was right about hugging a hoody! πŸ˜€

      United are recently treating him the same way he’s treated them and he’s not liking it. They’re excluding him from matches and playing hard ball with him and he doesn’t like because it’s not happened before, he wasn’t expecting it and doesn’t know how to deal with it, hence the twitter outburst and the storming off at Alty in the reserves last time out.

      Anyway, what I’m saying is…..he’s not as bad as people make out but a leopard doesn’t change his spots….especially not overnight. Time grows people up, that’s what he needs, for his sake though he needs to hope he doesn’t completely ruin it before time runs out.

      • I hope so becuase he has a special talent, but I am fed up with these young players on big wages thinking they have made it.
        But scumbags assult their mother and for me that is what he is.

  6. Well, enough on Morrison… Let’s see him in the first teamsheet before we conclude or debate over things.. VDS has spoken! In true words to what we all know, he said:

    “We need to play more touches on the ball, personally speaking,” Van der Sar told Goal.com.

    “Not playing long anymore, we need to have more touches on the ball, especially in the midfield. Hopefully, if we do that we can beat them [Barcelona] this year.

  7. SW used the Cantona example but also remember that Cantona spent half his career jumping from club to club until a change of country (and presumably greater maturity) allowed him to start to flourish.

    SW also used the Best example but Best early in his career was a relative saint; it was only later in his career he started boozing and womanizing and those two things put a premature end to his career.

    Ronaldinho went to Barcelona and after some incredible seasons got turfed out and ended up a washed up geriatric at AC Milan.

    And I could go on. Prodigious talent can easily be eroded by a bad attitude or a bad lifestyle.

    Of course it is not altogether Ravel’s fault. It is easy to grow up with the wrong crowd and have that warped concept of loyalty to people who are a bad influence. Clearly he has family problems. And yeah he has probably been told he is brilliant from a very young age and given special treatment by the club. And it is difficult when you have a “past”.

    And we have a ridiculous situation where youngsters who have achieved absolutely nothing get salaries a thousand times that of their non-footballing peers, simply because of potential.

    But if he wants to be a professional footballer he has to behave like one, on and off the pitch. That means staying out of the courts, showing respect for the club in the private and public domain, being punctual and showing humility; and cultivating the right friendships and relationships which give him the support every footballer needs; and not bad friendships and relationships which leech off his priviliged position.

  8. Van Der Saar is a legend. Unfortunately we do not have any ball playing midfielders comfortable in possession now Scholes has gone. I would have loved to see the Carrick Sneijder combination with Cleverley thrown into the mix in the big games for a bit more bite.

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