Marvin Morgan - a tribute
(Photo by Adam Williams)
It is with a truly great sadness that these words are written, just a day after the tragic news filtered through that former Wealdstone player Marvin Morgan had passed away on Sunday evening (5 Dec). The words and tributes that quickly emerged in response to Marvin’s death highlighted the far-reaching, positive impact he had on many people’s lives and the regard in which he was held.
Marvin’s rise through non-league, his successes in the football league and the creation of his clothing brand - Fresh Ego Kid - have already been well documented and form part of a quite extraordinary legacy. But Marvin should be remembered and lauded for so much more than that. Marvin was a pioneer with an incredibly infectious character based on core values that he held highly. He was never afraid to call out those who muddied his name, or his beliefs and he would not tolerate any form of abuse.
Marvin’s contribution to Wealdstone Football Club is enormous, perhaps more than meets the eye beyond the 187 appearances or the 56 goals he scored in blue and white quarters. For Marvin was the first to emerge (and step up to the first team) from the newly formed youth academy (the PASE scheme) created by the club at the turn of the century. Wealdstone, as a nomadic football club, had staggered slightly punch-drunk for 10 years after the sale of Lower Mead in 1991. The club lacked identity, strategy and resources but the creation of the academy was the first step in a very long journey back towards the highest echelons of non-league football, something achieved some 20 years later.
Marvin, along with the likes of Matt Perry, Charlie Leary, David Godfrey, Olatunji Bamgbola, Carl Hunt, James Duncan, Gary Burrell and of course Jermaine Beckford were products of that academy, under the tutelage of Francis Joseph and John Smith, that helped accelerate Wealdstone on that path back towards our sporting ‘holy grail’.
2004 was a memorable one for Marvin and Wealdstone. In January, Marvin scored a late winner in the FA Trophy against a well-funded Thurrock side on a passionate Friday night under the lights at The White Lion Ground, Edgware. Four months later and Marvin led the line on a hugely dramatic night at Champion Hill, as Wealdstone won promotion to the Isthmian Premier Division beating Dulwich Hamlet on penalties.
Wealdstone struggled in the Premier Division but enjoyed success in the FA Cup with Marvin scoring goals against Banbury United, Grays Athletic and a particularly sweet one against Boreham Wood in the face of horrific racist abuse from the visiting ‘fans’. Weeks later, hopes of a potential money-spinning tie in the first-round proper were dashed, as Wealdstone lost 0-2 to Blue Square Premier side Histon. It was a game remembered for an outstanding forward display by Marvin but one in which he just couldn’t find the back of the net. It was his last game in a Wealdstone shirt (acknowledging a brief cameo in 2016) before he transferred to Yeading, the eventual winners of the Isthmian Premier that season.
Marvin’s emergence from the academy at the age of 16 meant he had to quickly adapt to the harsh realities of Isthmian League football. But he took it in his stride and did it with a smile on his face. Marvin was a hugely iconic figure for the couple of hundred hardy souls who regularly followed Wealdstone at arguably the lowest point in their existence and his contribution to helping Wealdstone back to the National League, playing in front of average crowds of 1,600 this season, must never be overlooked.
Marvin was one of life’s good guys, a genuine, selfless soul who wore his heart on his sleeve. His death leaves a massive void in many people’s lives, not least his young family to whom we offer our deepest sympathies; words cannot express the pain and heartache they will be feeling. From all at Wealdstone Football Club, we thank you Marvin, you were a man of greatness. May you rest in peace.
Once a Stone, always a Stone!
By Adam Hills.