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The interview that will make West Brom fans love James Morrison even more


James Morrison says his break from the game has allowed him to assist West Bromwich Albion – as a fan rather than a player.

The 33-year-old, known affectionately as ‘Mozza’ by the fans who worshipped him, remains without a club after he was released last season.

Morrison, who made 341 appearances across a 12-year spell at the club, has no ill-feelings and returned to The Hawthorns as special guest for Albion’s game against Reading on Wednesday night.

It was the first of what could be many visits to watch his beloved Baggies in the flesh.

“I’m a supporter now really,” Morrison told Birmingham Live. “I always check on the results and when I can get down it’s nice to come and show some support and give it back to the club that supported me.”

The matchday programme was dedicated to Morrison who adorned the front cover as a comic book hero with the captions ’Oh Jimmy Jimmy’ and ‘Thank you Mozza’.

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Fans contributed their own messages and memories inside the publication alongside those of club captain Chris Brunt, chief executive Mark Jenkins and Morrison himself.

“Sometimes I’m a bit shy and don’t want the fuss around me, but it’s nice,” Morrison admitted.

“I never would have expected this when I started my West Brom career. It’s an achievement in itself really, not everyone gets it.”

Morrison experienced too many highlights in Albion stripes to list individually. Thrilling the fans was always one of his main objectives.

“They’re the ones who make you really,” he said. “As long as you do your job and people can see that, they’ll support you at this club.”

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The Scotland international left the pitch wearing the captain’s armband in his final game for West Brom in the play-off semi-final second leg against Aston Villa in May.

“That last game I sort of had closure really,” Morrison said. “I knew my time was up then and that’s what it was.”

Despite no longer being contracted, the ball-playing midfielder has been allowed continued use of the club’s training facilities and the benefit of staff expertise.

Rhys Owen, a former player and member of Albion’s sports science team, has helped Morrison to stay in shape in the hope a new opportunity presents itself to him as a free agent.

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West Brom v Blackburn Rovers

As yet, Morrison has received “pretty much nothing” by way of attractive offers. “Nothing’s coming up at the minute which is quite worrying,” he said.

The lack of interest from lower-end Championship clubs, or indeed those attempting to reach the second tier, has surprised Morrison, who still feels  he has plenty to offer, even as a player in the twilight of his career.

But Morrison, capped 46 times by Scotland, also appreciates how the game is evolving and how club’s have altered their recruitment strategies.

“I see what the market is and how clubs are changing their policies and going younger,” he added.

“I’ve got friends in a similar situation to me. I’ve prepared myself for it. It’s not easy, but as footballers we tend to have to deal with it.”

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