Has Steve Morison turned from villain to hero for Leeds?

Elland Road

A long-awaited goal was followed by some choice comments on the situation at Leeds United and now Morison may have found favour with some Leeds fans.

It is possible that had Morison not scored in the 2-1 defeat to Charlton on Saturday, he would not have had the opportunity to speak his mind on the ever-farcical events at Elland Road. So not only did his first goal of the season heighten Morison's profile with the critical Leeds fanbase, but his outspoken comments on the cliques that have developed in and around Thorp Arch this season also found much sympathy.

Morison's first-half volley ultimately counted for nothing, as Leeds sunk to a fifth consecutive defeat in the Sky Bet Championship, but his post-match comments probably did more to raise his popularity with Leeds fans left bemused yet again by events at their club.

The 31-year-old striker spoke about how difficult it had been to live with the cliques and divisions at the training ground and also expressed sympathy for head coach Neil Redfearn having to work without his assistant Steve Thompson. 

Morison said in his post-match interview on BBC Radio Leeds:  “We’re around it every day. People draw their own conclusions about what happened. It’s a tough situation because you have to take everything at face value. It is what it is and it’s been like that all season. It depends which way you want to look at it. It’s been one of those seasons where every day something different happens. Every week. I’ve never known anything like it in football.”

The honest and humble tone of Morison's comments found much sympathy among the Leeds fans who are desperate for people they can trust, and not surprisingly Morison also expressed some compassion for Neil Redfearn's situation at Elland Road: "Neil’s been brilliant for us. It’s quite sad watching him out there every morning on his own, putting out balls and cones. I’ve never known a manager have to do that. He seems to be doing a hell of a lot. He counts us onto the coach, gives us our cards when we get to the hotels and all that. He has gone above and beyond.”

Morison's humility extended to his own attributes, and having listened, many Leeds fans will perhaps see the striker in a new light. Despite his limitations, Leeds fans crave honesty and hard work, and if nothing else Morison offers that, in sharp contrast to how the injured "Leeds Six" are currently viewed. Having struggled to find the net all season, Morison has still been instrumental in the team's 2015 resurgence, playing the lone front man role to good effect in the revised 4-5-1 formation.

But of the team spirit at Leeds, Morison said: “I’ve played in teams who are scrapping for their lives, like Millwall last year, and for teams who are promoted. I’ve played in the Premier League with a bunch of players from the Championship who should never have stayed up. The one thing we had, ultimately out of all of that, was team spirit. Sometimes you can get away with being very, very average if you have that. I would class myself as an average football player. But I’ve had a ‘team’ around me in my career. And it works.”

In a closing dig at how the situation has been managed at Leeds United, Morison could have raised his popularity to new levels, and a couple more goals before the end of the season may yet resurrect his Leeds career.

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