Albert Einstein once said: ‘The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits’. Never has a statement summed up one former West Ham ‘wonder kid’ better than those words.
Of course, I am talking about Ravel Morrison, who whilst West Ham were attempting and failing to sign William Carvalho took a giant step into the unknown and moved to Mexican side Atlas FC. The move got tongues wagging in England and during Sky Sports News’ ‘the debate’ former Irons gaff er Sam Allardyce led a scathing attack on the ex-Manchester United academy graduate.
The former England manager described Morrison as the ‘biggest waste of talent’ he has ever worked with. The full quote goes onto to suggest that the Wythenshawe-born wide man had it all, but the mental side of his game held him back.
Allardyce then told Geoff Shreeves and Craig Bellamy that Morrison was a ‘match winner’ for three months at West Ham before he fell off the radar after more troubling times off the field. For starters, I cannot remember Ravel being a ‘match winner’ for three months, and a brief look at his stats will echo that point.
In three years at the club, where he spent time away on loan on three separate occasions with Birmingham, Queens Park Rangers, and Cardiff City, he managed just 18 appearances scoring just three goals, hardly a match winner for three months Sam. So I’ll take you back to my opening gambit, he was at times a genius and obviously a very talented boy, scoring that absolute worldie at White Hart Lane to kick-start his West Ham career and make him something of a cult hero at the club.
Genius is a word that isn’t often bandied around the footballing circuit outside of maybe Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Now Morrison couldn’t hold a candle to those two, but in terms of natural ability, he was one of the finest I have seen in recent times at West Ham.
He could take on a man with such ease, but as Einstein said, genius can only take you so far. Morrison was seen as quite a coup for West Ham United at the time of his arrival after Sir Alex Ferguson called him the most talented player he had seen out of the Manchester United academy. Not bad praise considering some of the stars that have come through at Old Trafford.
The problem was always to do with his attitude and off-field antics that held him back. That was the first alarm bell for me. If Sir Alex, a person known to be a fantastic man manager couldn’t sort him out, surely he would be a lost cause. Maybe a move away from Manchester could fix him, or at least that is what we all hoped, in hindsight moving to London probably wasn’t a sensible move for him.
He has since flitted around other major cities in Birmingham, and then to Naples during his time with Lazio, but nothing could fix his issues, so to a degree Allardyce is spot on with his words. But the fault doesn’t just lie with Morrison; this is a failure of the football system in this country
These young bright things only know football from such a young age, they are paid far too much and have everything given to them on a plate as teenagers. The education these players receive is often not substantial enough and more often than not these players fall into bad habits, Morrison is an obvious example of this.
He believed his own hype, and once you get told you are a genius by two well-respected British managers you are going to carry a bit of a swagger. It then comes down to whether your agent or manager can handle that swagger and bravado. There is no denying that Ravel obviously had a tricky upbringing, and you cannot doubt that that had an effect on the youngster.
That is what is the most frustrating thing for manager, fans and fellow pros alike. He could’ve been a world beater and of course, he might still turn out to be one after his spell in Mexico. Perhaps a change of scenery could work wonders for the Manchester lad, and I am sure I am not the only one that wants him to succeed in the game. But make no bones about it, it’s a long road back for the onetime heralded wonder kid.
Is he the biggest waste of talent ever? Well I think Allardyce’s quote has been taken out of context slightly. He was talking about players he has directly worked with, and with no disrespect to Sam, his side often lacks flair players anyway minus Jay Jay Okocha of course. But in recent times it is hard to think of players as talented as Ravel fall off the radar in quite such alarming fashion.