The latest edition of the Open Goal podcast with Si Ferry features one-time Sunderland loanee Lewis Morgan, who discusses his career so far.
The winger now plays for Inter Miami in the MLS, but tells Ferry how it was difficult to settle in at the Stadium of Light due to the negative atmosphere surrounding the club and the various cliques in the dressing room:
They are a massive club but when I was there, you could tell that it was - not from the management or playing side - but the club was a bit of a shambles to be honest.
It just didn’t have a good feel about it, when you were there it was quite negative. The dressing room wasn’t negative but there were groups, so it was a hard team to settle in and play well in.
It just wasn’t really a good fit.
Morgan discusses how Aiden McGeady’s ruthless nature upset a few of the players but believes the fact he was the team’s best player means he should be given more leeway:
Obviously we had Aiden McGeady, I don’t think English boys knew how to take him at all. He’s ruthless, I’ve never seen anyone that ruthless.
I think we drew with Burton Albion or something and he comes into the changing room and he’s like “you’s can’t play in front of that? Burton Albion, Wednesday night, 1 each? You’ll never play any higher than this level.”.
He would single someone out and everyone was scared of him.
For the Scottish boys he was good because there was a few boys down there and I got on well with him as well, he still had loads of ability.
He was their best player, he was their best player by a mile. At that point he’s winning games by himself. so you’ve just got to let him do what he wants.
Regarding the dressing cliques, the Scottish international said that very few of the players talks to each other outside of their respective circles:
They would never even have conversations with each other, I think that was one of the main problems at Sunderland. Boys just didn’t speak to each other, it was just wee groups of three. Obviously Geads (McGeady) knows Chris Maguire and Adam Matthews, they got on really well but outside of that, it was just groups.
Morgan was also not a fan of either Stewart Donald or Charlie Methven, believing the pair know nothing about football and that they had unrealistic expectations of the team:
I met Charlie Methven after I signed and to be honest they didn’t know the first thing about football, either of them. It’s just two businessmen running a football club.
Their expectations for the squad that they assembled were just totally unrealistic and I think if they had left Jack Ross in charge they’d probably be in the Championship now. He’d have turned them around like he turned St Mirren around.
The club was just weird when I was down there, it just wasn’t the best place to be, the owners and all that.
He [Methven] wanted it to be all about himself, all the time, and he didn’t know anything about football from what I had spoken to him.
Before Wembley he’d be speaking to us and trying to help us and give us insight into how we’re going to win and I’m like “you’ve never kicked a ball in your life, do 10 keepy ups and then speak to me”.
Finally, the 23-year-old reveals that his head was not in the right place in the week leading up to the Play Off Final against Charlton once he found out he was not going to be in the starting line-up:
Me and Aiden had been playing all the time and then the week of the Play Off Final, you get the feeling in training that ‘I’m not playing here’ and Aiden wasn’t playing either. So we’re speaking to each other and going “why are we not playing here, what’s going on?”.
So the basic idea was we weren’t playing with wingers until, well it was supposed to be the 68th minute, early second half me and Aiden were going to come on, that was the plan apparently.
Even if someone says “you’re coming on at this time” your head’s gone. I must have played like a bag of sh*t the full week as soon as I found out. The night before the game probably would have been like there wasn’t a game the next day. The warm up I was probably a bag of sh*t as well just because my head’s gone.
To be fair I warmed up terribly, I did everything terrible and then two or three minutes into the game Max Power got injured and Jack Ross is like “are you ready to go on?” and in my head I’m like “no, I’m not, I’m not ready”.
So that’s probably my biggest regret of my time down there, it wasn’t that I done it intentionally but I just didn’t deal well with being told I wasn’t playing.
Then the game itself, if we had won that...their first goal the goalkeeper lets the ball go under his foot and goes in the net, we wouldn’t have scored if we had played 10 games that day. It would have just papered over the cracks I think.
You can watch the entire podcast with Lewis Morgan on the Open Goal YouTube channel HERE or by pressing play on the video below.