FORMER Wales and Premier League footballer Steve Morison has today announced his retirement from playing – and immediately set his sights on management.
The ex-Millwall, Norwich and Leeds forward scored 248 goals in 662 games during a twenty-year career which saw him become the only player to net in every one of English football’s top six divisions and at international level.
Now 36, Morison completed his Pro Licence managerial qualification last month (SEPT), and has decided to leave current club Shrewsbury Town to take up a role coaching at Northampton Town where he first turned pro.
Morison said: “I’ve spent an amazing two decades as a professional footballer and have so many wonderful memories, but I feel the time is right to move on to the next stage of my career – and I couldn’t be more excited.
“I learned so much while playing for my country and some great clubs, alongside and under so many fantastic players and managers, that I can’t wait to put it all into practice as a manager and coach in my own right.
“Coaching at Northampton, the club I started at as an 18-year-old and continue to live nearby, is going back to where it all started for me as a player.
“As such it feels like a good place for me to start my coaching career and hopefully that can follow a similar path to the top as I experienced while playing. It was an offer I couldn’t turn down.”
Morison spent four seasons in League One and Two with Northampton as a teenager in the early 2000s before being released into non-league and making his way back into the Football League with Millwall via Stevenage.
The Enfield-born striker made his name at the South London club, and remains their third highest goalscorer behind Neil Harris and Teddy Sheringham, with 92 goals in all competitions across three spells at The New Den.
In 2010 Morison was rewarded for his fine Millwall form with a call-up to the Welsh national squad, for whom he scored one goal in 20 appearances, under John Toshack and the late Gary Speed.
Morison’s goalscoring secured him a move Norwich, where he spent two seasons playing in the Premier League.
He scored 10 times during his first term at Carrow Road, including a well-taken late equaliser in a dramatic 3-3 draw at Arsenal, before enduring a turbulent spell at Leeds under eccentric owner Massimo Cellino, and a move back to Millwall.
Morison became a Millwall legend with his never-say-die attitude, FA Cup heroics which saw them knock out several Premier League opponents, and for scoring the winning goal in the 2017 League One Play-Off Final.
He joined Shrewsbury at the start of this season, making eight appearances before deciding to retire to start coaching.
Morison said: “I’d like to thank the Shrewsbury Chairman Roland Wycherley, Chief Executive Brian Caldwell, and manager Sam Ricketts, for being so understanding regarding my situation, and I wish them the very best for the coming season and beyond.”