Morgan Francis “Gerry” Image 2 Nottingham Forest 1923

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Description

Belfast born centre half Francis “Gerry” Morgan began his football career in Army football and played for St Paul’s Swifts before joining amateur Irish League club Cliftonville. In 1921 he joined Linfield for £50 and he had a glorious playing career as a member of the Linfield “Seven Trophy” team of 1921-22, it was with the Blues that he won his first two Ireland caps, his first cap coming in May 1922 in a friendly defeat in Norway, his second in a 2-0 defeat to England the same October.

He then moved to First Division Nottingham Forest in November 1922, making his Football League debut the same month against Burnley, where he was a regular centre-half (and occasional right-half) over the next 5 seasons in the First and Second Divisions (Forest being relegated in 1925). Despite being ever present in 1926-27 he lost his place the following season, playing more irregularly in his last 2 seasons at The City Ground before leaving for Luton Town in August 1929 after 6 goals in 219 appearances for Forest. He also won 6 more caps for Ireland while with Forest, his last international appearance coming in October 1928 in a 2-1 defeat to England.

At Luton he played only 4 times that early autumn and joined Midland League Grantham later in 1929, before returning to Ireland in 1931 where he finished his playing career with spells at Cork in 1931, Ballymena in 1933 and Bray Unknowns in 1934.

But arguably it was his later career as trainer to Linfield and Ireland that he is best remembered when he was to become ‘Uncle Gerry’, confidante to players such as Danny Blanchflower, wizard with the ‘magic sponge’ and one of the most enduring characters in the history of the Irish game.

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