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[FM15] The Morgan Chronicles - Maidstone United FC

The managerial journey of Lionel Morgan
Started on 9 December 2016 by Feliks
Latest Reply on 15 December 2016 by Feliks
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MORGAN TO TAKE MAIDSTONE SEAT

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July 1st 2015
Ex-Wimbledon youngster Lionel Morgan has been announced as manager of newly promoted Maidstone United, who have been promoted into the Vanarama Conference South this season.

Morgan fills the void left by Jay Saunders, who had managed the club since 2011 but left the club to pursue business opportunities outside of football. Saunders led The Stones to the Isthmian Premier Division title last season and now Maidstone will be playing their first season in a national division since its foundation in 1992.


Lionel Morgan at age 18, playing for AFC Wimbledon

This is Morgan's first full-time managerial position, having coached the reserve team of Isthmian club Wingate and Finchley for a short time in 2007 on a part-time basis. The 32 year old will be the youngest manager in the Conference South but is as qualified as any other in the league, having gained his National A coaching license.

It is the beginning of a new, national era at Maidstone United FC and Lionel Morgan will have work to do to continue the fantastic progress by ex-manager Jay Saunders with the season starting in little over a month.

Lionel Morgan speaks to the press


July 2nd 2015
Our new manager Lionel Morgan attended his first press conference today, sitting down at Gallagher Stadium to answer the media's questions. Here's an excerpt of the proceedings.

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Do you feel the expectations asked of you this season have been fair and realistic?

If the club is to really progress towards the higher reaches of the game, everybody has to be ambitious and aim high. That's what we're doing at the moment.

While some managers are famous for their hands-on approach, other maintain a more reserved manner with their players. How do you see your management style?

I think things work best when players feel valued as people as well as footballers. Having gone through adversity myself, I know how much support footballers need.

Maidstone clearly have lofty ambitions and hiring you is said to be the latest step in meeting them. Are you the right person to deliver on their apparent promise, especially in the short term?

It's far too early to say. Obviously I hope so, but football is a funny old game and anything can happen.

It is often said that different managers favour different competitions. Will you be concentrating primarily on getting good results in the Vanarama South?

Absolutely, that competition is my main focus.

On the off-chance that any agents read your comments today, is there a particular area of the squad which you are looking to strengthen in the near future?

I'm not prepared to talk about transfer policy right now, and I'm happy with my squad.

What made you take this job?

I believe in their philosophies and feel that this is the ideal place to take my career to the next level.

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Blast From The Past - Lionel Morgan


News has slowly trickled out of the Vanarama South that one Lionel Morgan has been announced as manager of Maidstone United, and the BBC Sport team quickly did their research to discover that it is indeed the same Lionel Morgan who had his career so brutally cut short by injury back in the early 2000s. This week on Blast From The Past, we'll be having look at a player once described as the next John Barnes, who we never got to see at his very best.

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Morgan was born in the London Borough of Enfield and grew up in Tottenham. As a youngster he played for Broadwater United F.C., a community club on the Broadwater Farm Estate. He joined Wimbledon's youth system at the age of 10, and went on to represent England at under-16 level. He scored a goal on his full debut for Wimbledon's reserve team aged only 16, and impressed on his next appearance.

His first-team debut came on 26 August 2000 in a goalless draw against Watford; the 17-year-old set up a chance from which John Hartson headed against the goalkeeper. He played three more first-team games before breaking his ankle in an under-19 game. He played twice more for the first team at the end of the 2000–01 Football League season, then surgery to knee cartilage damaged in a pre-season friendly caused him to miss the first two months of the 2001–02 season.[ He made an impressive return to the reserves, and in November 2001 played for England under-19s in a European Championship qualifier against their Georgian counterparts. The match, a 4–1 win, was televised, and Morgan was named by Sky Sports' Nigel Spackman as man of the match.


He returned to first-team action as a substitute at the end of January 2002. In February, Tottenham Hotspur made an offer of £750,000 for Morgan's services. Manager Terry Burton was unwilling to sell, but the club's reported £20,000-a-day losses prompted chairman Charles Koppel to consider the offer. Koppel was later insistent that Morgan would only leave "at the right price" and the player confirmed he was happy at the club. Meanwhile, Morgan scored for England under-19s in a friendly against Germany, and speculation in the press was that Wimbledon would not reach the play-offs unless Morgan was part of the starting eleven. In March he scored his first senior goal, the only goal of the game against Rotherham United, from a free kick described by assistant manager Stuart Murdoch as "Beckham-esque". A few days later he damaged his cruciate ligament against Crewe Alexandra, an injury which required two operations and kept him out of first-team action for seven months.

After scoring in his first league start of the season, he received a call-up to represent England under-20s, and played the whole of a 2–0 defeat to Switzerland. In his third game back in first-team action after a knee cartilage operation in January 2003, he was forced out of the game with a bruised and lacerated ankle resulting from a foul tackle by Portsmouth's Tim Sherwood; manager Murdoch accused the player of singling Morgan out for rough treatment. In April he underwent further surgery on his knee cartilage.


In June 2003, Wimbledon F.C. went into administration; Morgan's proposed transfer to Tottenham, for a fee of £400,000, fell through when he failed the medical, although it was reported that the deal could proceed once the player proved his fitness. His next first-team comeback, in September, lasted just three games before a training-ground knock aggravated the knee problem and two more operations ensued, though the prognosis was hopeful. However, the player's contract was due to expire at the end of the 2003–04 season, and the club chose not to renew it. Manager Murdoch said Morgan was attempting to regain fitness in time for pre-season training so that he could find another club, but he did not play professionally again.
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Maidstone Bring Back Fan Favourite



Maidstone United FC have made their first signing for the 2015/16 season, bringing back winger Alex Flisher after the 23 year old had left the club late last season. Flisher is believed to have had a falling out with former manager Jay Saunders but is happy to return to the club.

New manager Lionel Morgan had a few words to say on the signing.

"I joined the club and learned pretty quickly about Alex because he's been at the club for a while and he's a bit of a fan favourite. There was some animosity with the old manager but I was happy to bring him back. He's been here since he was 17 and he's played over 150 times for the club so I think he deserves to be here in this important year."

In other Maidstone news, Nathan Campbell, Michael Phillips and Ade Osifuwa have all been released from the club, with Morgan reportedly only having players on part-time contracts. The trio elected to leave the club instead.
Great start to this man!! I wish you all the best in your journey.

MAIDSTONE SIGN SIX

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Maidstone United have signed 6 players on free transfers in the lead-up to the new season, following the re-signing of Alex Flisher and the earlier signings of Matt Johnson and Danny Blanchett.

Concerns over the playing list heading into the Vanarama South campaign have been addressed although there is still a nucleus of players who achieved promotion last season. Today, we'll preview the six new signings at Maidstone.

#1. Danny Stevens

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Stevens is one of the shortest players in England, standing at a mere 5'1", but at 28 the left winger brings experience to the Maidstone squad. He is a former Tottenham academy player, making 1 appearance in the Championship at the age of 18 for Luton, before embarking on a 7-year stint at Torquay, playing over 180 times for the club in the Conference and Sky Bet League 2. Leaving the Gulls in 2013/14, Stevens spent last year playing for Havant & Waterlooville in the Vanarama South.

#2. Tom Phipp

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Tom Phipp is a familiar face at Maidstone, spending a short time on loan at the club in 2013/14 and making a definite impression, scoring thrice in 4 games. As a youngster, Phipp played 126 times for Ebbsfleet in the Vanarama Conference and South and can play all the way across midfield. The 23 year old is reportedly extremely determined to make his way up the football pyramid.


At just 18 years old, George will be one of the youngest players in the squad and joins the club after being released by Crystal Palace. The centre back was unable to attain a professional contract at the London club and has moved to Kent to further his footballing career. He is the kind of player to build a team around in the coming years.

#4. Zac Fagan

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Fagan also plays centre back, but has 2 years and 5 inches on Matthew George. He played a full season in the Vanarama Conference last season for Welling, turning out 42 times for the Wings, but was deemed surplus to requirements and has been snapped up by Maidstone. Fagan was in the Arsenal youth squad as recently as 2014 and like George, will be looking to rebound.

#5. Jamie Slabber

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An experienced journeyman, Slabber has signed for his 15th club and his 6th Vanarama South team, having played 163 times in the division as well as a solitary game for Tottenham back in 2003. Sometimes criticised in the past for his work rate, the 30 year old is a known goalscorer as well as being very good from the penalty spot.

#6. Charles Ademeno

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Ademeno is another journeyman striker, joining from Margate. The 26 year old has experience in every division of English football bar the Premier League, and is more all-rounded than Slabber. He has a reputation of being very strong for his age and is unlikely to be bullied off the ball very easily.
Looks like you got some quality players

PRE-SEASON

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Maidstone United FC have completed their pre-season for the season 2015/16, although the majority of the emphasis over the break was on transfer business and team cohesion. Nonetheless, the Stones played a total of 5 friendlies, with mixed results.

Results


The friendlies began with a visit from the under-21 team of Brighton & Hove Albion, with Maidstone losing 4-1 in a disappointing display. The Stones then toured the surrounding counties, first defeating Kent side Chatham before visiting Essex, Surrey and Hertfordshire to play Aveley, Staines and Potters Bar respectively. Their ability to keep clean sheets away from home will be looked on as a plus of the pre-season but poor performances at home will need to be addressed.

Signings


As well as the previous mentioned 9 signings, Maidstone added 2 more players to the squad. First, versatile defender Nortei Nortey was lured over from division rivals Oxford City and Tom Lovelock was brought in as a substitute goalkeeper.

The Opening Game


Lionel Morgan's first game in charge will be against Hayes & Yeading FC, and that game will be covered in our August review. Until then, bye for now, not forever!
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Morgan Nervous Ahead Of Managerial Debut



First time manager Lionel Morgan has 'butterflies in his stomach' ahead of today's Vanarama South clash with Hayes & Yeading, and although he has been in and around football since his premature retirement, it has been a long time since he had been this emotionally involved in the sport.

"Building up to this first game, all the hard work in pre-season, it definitely makes me nervous because you just don't know what could happen out there and you have to believe in your systems, believe in your tactics and most of all believe in your players to deliver the goods."

Morgan's experience as assistant manager at Wingate & Finchley shaped him as a coach, says the 32 year old.

"I went there with very little experience in off-field matters but Michael [Stone, then manager] helped me transition my on-field knowledge into the dug out."

Maidstone head into this clash as underdogs, having been promoted into the division this season, but Hayes & Yeading will not have much knowledge of this hastily assembled side with a brand new manager - and Lionel Morgan is gambling on this playing into his hands.

"We go to their home ground as the unknown and I think that will be the big advantage for us, because I know how this team plays. We want to be realistic and not just optimistic but I can see us stealing 3 points tomorrow."
Don't be nervous I bet you will do great!
Good story so far. Up the Hayes!!
really nice start here bro! keep it up!

Maidstone United embarked on their first season in the Vanarama South, playing 5 games in August to begin proceedings. With a lot of new faces, let's see how Lionel Morgan's team went with matches against Hayes & Yeading, Bath, Bishop's Stortford, Chelmsford and Eastbourne Boro.

Results



Morgan's first match in charge, as previously mentioned, was against Hayes & Yeading, an experienced team in this division, and it was a disappointing display from the Stones in front of a crowd of 200. Being plagued by injury didn't help, losing 1-0.

Gallagher Stadium saw its first Vanarama South match next, with Maidstone hosting Bath in what turned to be a high scoring game, giving Lionel Morgan his first 3 points. Jamie Slabber scored the Stones' first goal for the season, and they built up a 3-0 lead through further goals to Ashley Miller and Tom Murphy. A second half brace from Bath's Ashley Kington caused headaches, but Maidstone held onto the final whistle.

A trip to Bishop's Stortford followed, and it was a very poor display from the Maidstone defence as they lost 4-1 despite it being an even match. Frannie Collin equalised for the Stones in the 54th minute but the home team added 3 goals in the last 20 minutes to record a comfortable victory.

Some worrying away form was the focus of the next game against Chelmsford, but the team managed to stop the losing streak by drawing 1-1. A late equaliser from midfielder Tom Phipp saw Maidstone get the point but Morgan won't be happy with the goal conceded; centre back Rob Swaine passed it short to the keeper and the Chelmsford striker reaped the rewards.

The final game of the month was at home, and Maidstone welcomed Eastbourne Boro to the Gallagher Stadium with an early goal from Frannie Collin. Just before half time, Boro hit back but Collin finished off his brace in the 76th minute as the Stones finished the month with their second win.

League Table


After 5 games, Maidstone sit in a comfortable mid-table position which is neither good nor bad for the newly promoted team. The current issue is their away form, with 1 point from 3 games but 2 wins from 2 at home is a big plus.

Player of the Month



Tom Phipp

The young, talented midfielder was a standout for the team in the first month, creating numerous chances from the right wing and through the middle, and has set up a great partnership with fellow youngster Jonny Leddy.

Maidstone To Face Dulwich Hamlet In FA Cup


Maidstone United will begin their FA Cup campaign in the Second Qualifying Round, with Dulwich Hamlet travelling to Gallagher Stadium to face the Vanarama South outfit.

The Isthmian Premier League side go into the match as the underdogs but the Stones will have to make sure not to complacent, despite a good start to life in the semi-professional leagues. This will be manager Lionel Morgan's first cup game and he is well aware of the financial gains to be made.

"I have previously said that the Vanarama South is my focus, and I maintain that, but I understand that winning and going far in the cup competitions creates a bit of prize money which is always good for the club."

The clash will be played on the 26th of September at the Gallagher Stadium.

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