Battles have raged in the north of this country throughout history. Rival sides have fought for control of the region first, imposing their will on the people, and then sought to rule the rest of the country from this strategically important power base. The spoils of war have been exchanged on numerous occasions as the ancient rights to rule have been fought on muddy fields. Glorious victories are still celebrated here and fearless heroes revered for their power and wisdom. Morgan Schneiderlin will never be one of them.
Morgan was born in the Alsace region of northern France. The reason his name sounds more Germanic than French is because this is a territory that has been claimed and occupied by both France and Germany and forms a border region between the two countries. Napoleon’s armies occupied the area until the Franco-Prussian resulted in victory for the new German Empire whereupon it became part of the Imperial Territory of Alsace-Lorraine. After Germany’s defeat in World War One the territory of Alsace effectively reverted back to France.
Having played for the local club in Strasbourg, Morgan sought to turn his back on his and his people’s history of strife, saucisson and split loyalties by moving to the tranquility of the seaside at Southampton. The Saints were a quaint little club, playing in Dingly Dell with the pixies and fairies from Hampshire’s wooded slopes until a man called Lorry Macmanymany, decided to put the club firmly on a map before it fell into the deep blue sea.
Lorry loved diagrams and plotted the downfall of many a club, including Manchester United in a famous Cup Final in 1976 when their own manager Tommy Dottity was surprisingly absent, otherwise engaged in a little extra physio.
Morgan will have read about this as a boy, using his French-English, English-German and German-French dictionaries. Unfortunately, he will not have fully understood (who did?) that the new St Mary’s retail development plan – which Lorry would never have drawn – was much more about selling than football. The idea was that you bought in raw materials, developed and repackaged them and then sold them on as though they were worth more than the sum of their parts: Luke Shaw, Dejan Lovren and Calum Chambers are fine examples of this success.
Hopes that fellow Alsation, Arsene Wenger, who would just play a team of eleven midfielders if FA rules allowed it, might take him to Arsenal did not come to fruition. Arsene – who once paired their French counterparts, Petit and Vieira, in a formidable combination – was now much more concerned with pretty soloists who continue to flatter to deceive.
Fortunately, at about this time, a big Dutchman, who was under the misguided illusion that he was really William of Orange re-born, tried to revolutionise the club that Dottity had once made headlines with. Louis van Guard would have had a lot in common with Lorry but, sadly, their paths never crossed on the motorway between north and south.
Morgan didn’t know that there was a rival football team in Manchester (who did?) and so he joined Louis and his ragbag of expensive mercenaries, firmly believing that he would be leaving all the stress and arguments over VAT (Valuable Actual Touches) behind him.
Although Morgan scored a whole goal during his two years at Old Trafford, his face didn’t fit. It wasn’t just that his colleagues didn’t know whether to swear at him in French or German, but the real hero of the defensive midfield proved to be Michael Carrick, even though he celebrated his hundredth birthday last week and received a telegram from Lady Brady of East London, pleading with him to come home.
Morgan had never desired to be in the spotlight and so he then moved to Everton, not realising that battles have raged in the north of this country throughout history. Rival sides have fought for control of the region first, imposing their will on the people, and then sought to rule the rest of the country from this strategically important power base. The spoils of war have been exchanged on numerous occasions as the ancient rights to rule have been fought on muddy fields.
Yes, Morgan is now in the heart of enemy territory as far as Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United are concerned. Skirmishes have already taken place this season with Morgan simply unable to deal with the heat of battle, getting sent off at The Etihad for making a perfectly good tackle because all he really wanted was some peace and quiet.
Everton used to dominate Anfield Road – mainly because it was their ground – but Morgan’s knees are already shaking at the prospect of going over the border. Perhaps he will go undercover, as he usually does, and, if he cannot be on the side that wins, not get found out and shot down by the media for cowardice.