An Extract From The New Book
There have been some extraordinary footballers over the decades. But few with a story as extraordinary as Willie Morgan. A Manchester United icon, the Scot fought all the odds to make it to the very top of the English game during its most fascinating and fashionable era, the 1960s and 1970s. But it is not just Morgan's life on the pitch that is so captivating. Born in the tiny mining village of Sauchie, Morgan grew up believing his grandparents were his parents because his real mother had given birth to him outside wedlock. Not only that, but Morgan's father was an Italian prisoner of war from World War Two.
It seemed that young Willie was destined for life as a family outcast, forced to follow his family into the area's coalmines - earning precious little money despite hours of backbreaking toil. However, Morgan's path was different. For he had a remarkable skill - the speed and ability to play football like nobody else. His skills were spotted by Burnley in 1960 before Morgan's life changed forever when he joined Manchester United eight years later. The club's legendary manager, Sir Matt Busby, needed pace and a killer touch down the right wing. So he broke the British transfer record and snapped Morgan up. In fact, Morgan was such a key part of Busby's future plans, he was even given the No.7 shirt - which had up to then been worn by none other than George Best.
It was from the right wing - and that shirt - that Morgan would witness and play with some of the greatest Manchester United players of all time. Morgan recounts hundreds of tales about the hell-raising Best as well as giving his verdicts on the likes of Denis Law, Bobby Charlton, Alex Stepney, Paddy Crerand and a host of others. He also talks about Wilf McGuinness and the case he had to fight against former United manager Tommy Docherty. From the football pitch to the High Court - Morgan has done it all and seen it all. He was the first footballer with an official fanclub, he is a man who can count Tom Jones and Rod Stewart as his close pals, and he is a footballing hero to those who used to chant his name while crammed into the Stretford End at Old Trafford.
Willie touchingly talks about the harrowing death of his first wife Pat before recounting how he found redemption and love with his second wife Kay. The family man's love for his children Gaynor and Scott shines through at all points as does his love for Manchester United - "the greatest football club in the world". Willie Morgan entertained, captivated and thrilled football fans for over 20 years. Now read his fascinating life story...
Some Quotes from the book
“I had been very impressed with the skill displayed with Burnley’s right-winger when he played against Manchester United for Burnley. His name was Willie Morgan and so I proceeded to contact Burnley’s Football Club Chairman, the late Bob Lord.”Sir Matt Busby
“Willie proved without any shadow of a doubt that he was one of the most skilful wingers of the day”Sir Matt Busby
"A player who can hold down a first team place with four different League teams and be regularly selected for his country for getting on for twenty years, you have to be something a little bit special”Bobby Robson
“I have signed some good players in my time as a Manager but none better than Willie” “The game misses the Willie Morgan’s of this world”Ian Greaves
“We wanted him at City” - “The highest praise a City Man can give to Willie is to say that he springs to mind when I think of the United Greats” - “If you know a very young Willie Morgan, give me a ring – we would love to see his likes at Maine Road”Peter Swales
“It’s Willie’s combination of a talented player who is prepared to work with enthusiasm that has always impressed me” - “The game these days is crying out for individuals with his flair and fitness”Pat Crerand
“All the times we have met over the years I have found Willie to be a very personable and charming person. He has to be commended for all his work for the children's charity organizations. Being a rugby follower myself, I wasn't aware that he had been an international soccer player for Scotland. I'm glad he excelled at something as his snooker is useless (recalling the games at his local Conservative Club) and also his singing is just as good. (Recalling his Elvis rendition in Vegas!). Wish you all the best for the future ...”Sir Tom Jones
“Over the years my music and travels have brought me many lasting friendships, and none more important to me than my pal Willie Morgan. As a world-class athlete Willie is a world traveler and like myself, a golfer. So we hit it off right away. My big surprise came later when after years of touring Great Britain in concert, and many many golf outings with Willie, he asked me to host a golf tournament in Northern Ireland. This is when I became aware of his great interest and support of children’s charities. Behind this fun and loving football legend was a dedicated and passionate supporter of underprivileged young people. I will be forever grateful to him for his friendship and his many friends (especially Harold & Ashraf Riley, and Peter & Beryl Collins) for their kindness to me! “Johnny Mathis