Perhaps the timing of Andy Morrison’s resignation as Connah’s Quay Nomads boss yesterday came as something of a surprise, but the news itself was certainly not a massive shock.
After all, the double Cymru Premier title-winning boss had hinted he may be on his way in the immediate aftermath of Nomads’ championship-clinching 2-0 victory at Penybont in May.
The 51-year-old said then in an interview with Sgorio that the time may be right to seek new challenges elsewhere.
Four days later, however, the ex-Manchester City captain revealed he was staying at Deeside Stadium following talks with club chairman Gary Dewhurst.
Despite the Nomads announcing they are reverting to being part-time, Morrison insisted he was “as positive as I have been for some time” about the future.
Although they produced some excellent performances in European competition over the summer, Quay have not begun the defence of their Cymru Premier crown in the most convincing fashion.
With just two wins in their opening six league matches, the champions lie sixth in the table, although they have advanced to the Nathaniel MG Cup quarter-finals and Welsh Cup last 16.
Morrison’s last match in charge was a 4-0 Welsh Cup triumph at lower league Trefelin in front of the S4C cameras on Saturday.
In an address on YouTube soon after his resignation announcement, Morrison said his successor would be taking over a very strong squad boosted by a return to fitness of a number of injured players.
These injuries, he feels, have been a key factor in the team’s uncharacteristically slow start.
So what next for Andy Morrison?
Based on what he has achieved at Nomads, he certainly deserves a chance to manage in the higher echelons of the non-league English pyramid at the very least.
He admitted in his YouTube speech that he is not a man who “ticks all the boxes” and stressed he was very grateful to Nomads chairman Dewhurst for taking a punt on him back in 2015. That faith has certainly been repaid.
Morrison is a fiery, direct character with a big heart. His players at Nomads were prepared to run through brick walls for him.
Some of the emotive messages on social media from former players and colleagues since the departure was announced speak volumes about the man.
For Morrison’s style of management to work anywhere else would require a chairman on his wavelength.
Gary Dewhursts do not grow on trees.
Morrison has been a fantastic asset to the Cymru Premier League, offering a high level of professionalism and a winning mentality.
His interviews are open and honest. He is a character, not a media-trained robot with a built-in PC (politically correct) button like so many managers/coaches these days.
I’ve never had any established working relationship with him, due to various reasons. I’m not even sure he knows who I am, but that is unimportant, what matters is that I know who he is and can write tributes like this.
What Morrison will be remembered for most was breaking the stranglehold The New Saints had on the national league.
The full-timers from Oswestry had won eight titles in the bounce before Nomads halted the sequence in 2019-20.
It had become monotonous, one club dominating so much.
But from the day he took over at Deeside Stadium in 2015, Morrison was on a mission.
At first, he was just content to finish second in the table – best of the rest. At times he would label TNS as ‘in a league of their own’…..an insurmountable hurdle.
However, steadily the silverware began to arrive at Deeside Stadium and the squad got stronger and stronger until the big one was landed – the Cymru Premier title.
That 2019-20 success was fully deserved. Even though the season finished six rounds of matches early due to Covid, the Nomads looked in control at the top.
TNS disagreed and took the FAW to court, claiming unfair play. The full-timers lost the case.
Just to prove there was no fluke about that first-ever Cymru Premier crown, Nomads went out and won it again last season.
Andy Morrison turned Connah’s Quay from a modest, under-achieving club into a top-flight super force.
And while the man affectionately known as “Jock” has been at the forefront. it should never be forgotten how important his back-up team has proved.
If you are going to have an assistant, you may as well make it the most successful Welsh Premier manager in history.
Craig Harrison has been a major figure in the Quay’s success. Of course he had done it all before, winning six Welsh Premier titles and numerous other silverware in his spell as TNS boss between 2011-17.
And there is also Jay Catton, director of football and the main man behind the club’s thriving youth policy.
Connah’s Quay Nomads have become so much more than just the name behind a cracking first team, they are now a big club too.
And much of that rise to prominence has been down to Andrew Charles Morrison – a Nomads legend forever and a day.