Junior Morias has nothing but thanks for St Albans City and their help with his professional career
- Credit: Archant
Junior Morias says he has nothing but love and thanks to give to everyone at St Albans City for the part they played in his path back to professional football.
The St Mirren striker had been pro before with Wycombe Wanderers but slipped down into non-league with a spell with current Saints boss Ian Allinson at Boreham Wood.
But it was when the pair reunited at Clarence Park that his career suddenly rediscovered its momentum and made him fall in love with football again.
Speaking to the All Things Football podcast, hosted by the then assistant manager at City, Lee Allinson, he said: “I can’t ever stop giving thanks to everyone at St Albans because they made me fall in love with the game.
“I hated football to that point and I felt I didn’t have time for it but St Albans gave me a new lease of life.
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“I loved coming to training, I loved the small-sided games and I enjoyed it.
“We all did, that team we had at the time we were flying. We were scoring goals, we were playing with smiles on our faces and we were enjoying it.
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“When I heard Peterborough were in for me, I was gobsmacked because I just wanted to play football and I was just starting to love it again.
“But then I thought the gaffer was right and I ended up going there.”
His time at the National League South club was short, just 22 games in the first half of the 2016-17 season, but it saw him score 12 goals including a screamer in among a double as Saints pushed League Two Carlisle United all the way in the FA Cup first round.
They were in rampant form too at that point, hitting goals for fun and losing just three times prior to that November clash.
It was a far cry from the beginning of his career which had seen him bounce around clubs and never really set down roots as he did during his year with City.
And with the enjoyment flooding back into his life, a conversation with team-mate Ben Herd helped drive him on further.
“Ben played a massive part and I have to give him credit,” said Morias.
“We were in the bar after a game and we had a man-to-man conversation. He told me to look in his eyes and at first I thought no chance but I did and he started asking me these questions.
“That got my heart racing. He asked me where I saw myself playing and he made me say it with conviction.
“From there I went training with him and I promise you, Ben Herd’s training is probably the best training I’ve ever had.
“It’s just different but again I took a chance and I was nervous going there.
“We were working on specific game things and there was a game against Truro [won 5-0] when I scored a step-over goal. That was something we had done.
“I can’t thank him enough.”
He had already been approached by Peterborough prior to his FA Cup heroics and soon got his chance after a January 1 move.
His debut came a day later in a 1-1 draw with Scunthorpe United but it was his first goals as a professional, in a 3-0 win over Port Vale on February 4, that brought tears to his eyes.
“That day flashes in my head every day,” he admitted. “When I scored I started crying and all those memories of people saying I couldn’t make it came flashing back.
“I knew I just needed a chance and when I scored that goal it was just the best feeling and I felt like everything was going perfectly.
“I cannot say one bad thing about the fans at Peterborough or the chairman.”
The sacking of Grant McCann brought Steve Evans to London Road and ended Morias’s stay but the opportunity to play another former St Albans man was too much of a draw and so his next move was to Northampton Town.
He said: “Dean Austin reminded me of Ian Allinson and Grant McCann and I knew I wanted to go to Northampton because of him.
“He was a great manager and I wanted to work with him but he got sacked early and that was unfortunate.
“There was respect with Keith Curle but I wasn’t his type of player. It was frustrating.”
To the surprise of many he has now headed north of the border where he turns out for St Mirren in the Scottish Premier League.
There is a new lifestyle to get used to and a new style of football but he thrives on a challenge and has still got that infectious smile on his face.
He said: “Scotland is a massive challenge and another massive risk but I love taking risks.
“The league is actually a good standard and when you play Celtic and Rangers it’s a bit different.
“When I started against them that was a mini dream, playing in front of 40,000.
“I didn’t have the best start going up but I’m my biggest critic and I knew the reason why it was.
“And from then everything kicked on. I started being consistent and enjoying it.
“It’s a family club where everyone is together. They are all good people and when you get to the ground and everyone has a smile of their face, it puts a smile on yours.
“That makes everything good.”
To listen to the full podcast go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4iYNQbvTPI