DOG DAYS ARE FINE FOR STEVE GOOD WILL HUNT­ING

Brent­ford new boy Will Grigg bids to give the Bees ex­tra sting

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Chris Bai­ley

STEVE MORI­SON’S ca­reer has been go­ing to the dogs for the past 12 months – but he’s de­ter­mined to en­joy a new leash of life back at Mill­wall.

Mori­son has re­turned to the Lions af­ter a tor­rid year in which he found him­self out of favour at Nor­wich and then frozen out at Leeds by Brian McDer­mott.

His prob­lems at the Ca­naries meant his strike part­ner­ship with Grant Holt was fleet­ing but they have flour­ished off the pitch by launch­ing their own grey­hound rac­ing club.

They own six young grey­hounds and, for an­i­mal lover Mori­son, not even the ex­cite­ment of scor­ing a goal tops the ex­pe­ri­ence of watch­ing his dogs win.

“I’m a fan of an­i­mals and grey­hounds are a big buzz,” said Mori­son, who reg­u­larly vis­ited Waltham­stow Sta­dium in Lon­don to watch the dogs as a boy.

Frus­trat­ing

“I’ve scored goals, I’ve won games, but watch­ing your dog win a race gives you a com­pletely dif­fer­ent buzz.

“We’ve bought our own ken­nels – we move in at the end of the month – and we’re just get­ting big­ger and big­ger.

“I’ve got an­i­mals com­ing out of my ears at home. Dogs, cats, horses, goats, ducks, chick­ens, chip­munks. You name it I’ve got it. Away from football the grey­hounds are a nice break.” They have pro­vided much-needed respite for the 29-year-old over the last 12 months. “It’s been a rub­bish year,” said Mori­son, who scored 40 goals across two sea­sons in his first stint with The Lions.

“I ended it on a high with Paul Lam­bert at Nor­wich then had a frus­trat­ing six months un­der Chris Hughton. “He wanted to play one up front and to play Grant so I had to wait for my chance. Leeds was dis­ap­point­ing, not much pos­i­tive to say about that. “I turned up first day of pre-sea­son for Leeds, the man­ager told me he didn’t want me and I could leave, so I left. It’s pretty black and white re­ally.

“Once I made a few phone calls and knew Mill­wall were in­ter­ested it was a no-brainer.

“I’m close to the chair­man and friends with peo­ple there. I picked up the phone know­ing they’d wel­come me.

“We’ve got some good new play­ers which is fan­tas­tic, and hope­fully we can push on and have a good sea­son – a bet­ter one than we did last year.”

WHEN Will Grigg ar­rived at Brent­ford he promptly in­formed his new team­mates he be­lieves he can fly – and not for the first time one of League One’s sharpest shoot­ers raised a few eye­brows.

Just turned 22, hav­ing bagged 20 goals for one of the league’s less glamorous sides and with his Wal­sall con­tract up, Grigg was not want­ing for Cham­pi­onship ad­mir­ers. Even Nor­wich and Southamp­ton were re­port­edly eye­ing up the North­ern Ire­land in­ter­na­tional.

A move to West Lon­don isn’t sur­pris­ing for one of the Football League’s hottest properties, but League One Brent­ford would not be top of most peo­ple’s lists. So when the Bees cap­tured Grigg their ti­tle odds were un­sur­pris­ingly slashed. There is method in the ap­par­ent mad­ness how­ever. With Uwe Rosler at the helm, a new sta­dium in the pipe­line and with money to spend – not to men­tion how ag­o­nis­ingly close they came to pro­mo­tion last sea­son – Grigg saw a club with the am­bi­tion to match his own, and one will­ing to put their cards on the ta­ble.

“There were some clubs higher up sniff­ing around but a lot of it is ru­mours,” he said. “What you care about is a club that comes in for you and makes you an of­fer and that’s what Brent­ford did.

“I joined the lads on a pre-sea­son tour in Ger­many and set­tled in pretty well. It was the first move of my ca­reer re­ally so the ini­ti­a­tions were new to me. I had to do a song and I went for I Be­lieve I can Fly by R Kelly. It was a solid choice I think, at no stage did I en­joy it but it def­i­nitely could have been worse.

“When a club comes in for you and does so prop­erly you have to lis­ten and hav­ing met with the chair­man (Cliff Crown) and a man­ager with a rep­u­ta­tion like Uwe’s, my mind was made up.

“They made it clear that they wanted me and that I’d get the chance to play and that’s what’s im­por­tant.”

There was an air of in­evitabil­ity over Grigg’s de­par­ture from the Bescot Sta­dium. He scored ten goals in his last 11 league games for Wal­sall and, with his con­tract due to ex­pire, the buy­ers were cir­cling.

Pos­i­tive

Sad­dlers boss Dean Smith al­ways har­boured hopes of ty­ing his man down and was dis­ap­pointed to see Grigg leave. He still ex­pects a tri­bunal to en­sure ap­pro­pri­ate rec­om­pense.

Re­ports that Smith and Grigg parted on bad terms, how­ever, are wide of the mark.

Smith’s big­gest bug­bear was that his for­mer charge’s agent did not se­cure him a bet­ter move while Grigg is the first to ad­mit his ex-boss is the rea­son he scored four goals the sea­son be­fore last, and five times as many the next.

“It was ex­tremely tough to leave Wal­sall, Dean and I were very close, he played such a ma­jor role in mak­ing me into the player that I am, mak­ing me com­fort­able in the di­vi­sion,” added Grigg, who shone in Brent­ford’s mid­week 3-2 friendly win over Cardiff, along with Ever­ton loa­nee Conor McAleny.

“He gave me great con­fi­dence and it was hard to leave but we parted on good terms and I think he’s some­one I’ll al­ways stay in touch with.

“I don’t worry about stay­ing in League One. You can look at it two ways, ei­ther it’s a di­vi­sion that I know I have proven my­self in or one that de­fend­ers know about me in.

“I can’t be wor­ry­ing about those sort of things though, that’s for other peo­ple, I just have to keep my head on and keep fo­cused about my new chal­lenge at Brent­ford. I felt it was time to leave Wal­sall and give my­self a new start.”

It’s 20 years since Brent­ford were last in the sec­ond tier of English football and never have they come closer to a re­turn that last term.

First it was Mar­cello Trotta’s missed penalty – and Don­caster’s sub­se­quent win­ner – and then it was Wem­b­ley heartache in the play-off fi­nal, and not for the first time.

Grigg, how­ever, does not sense any lin­ger­ing re­grets at Grif­fin Park.

He said:“It’s some­thing that’s out of the sys­tem, you can tell at the club that it’s a pos­i­tive. There’s a feel­ing of com­ing so close but a feel­ing of strength­en­ing and be­ing ready to go one bet­ter this sea­son.

“Look­ing at the play­ers who have come in, it’s clear that the man­ager and chair­man have their aims and it’s a club that straight away I wanted to be a part of.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

HOME BOY: Steve Mori­son play­ing for Mill­wall in 2011. Be­low: with Grant Holt at a grey­hound meet­ing

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

ON THE UP: Brent­ford new-boy Will Grigg, in ac­tion for Wal­sall. Inset, left, boss Uwe Rosler, and af­ter the last day drama against Don­caster

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