Junior Morias has nothing but thanks for St Albans City and their help with his professional career

PUBLISHED: 14:36 22 May 2020 | UPDATED: 15:38 22 May 2020

Junior Morias powering across the turf of Clarence Park

Junior Morias powering across the turf of Clarence Park

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.

Junior Morias dances through the Truro defenseJunior Morias dances through the Truro defense

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.

Junior Morias after running through the Truro defense blasts the ball into the back of the netJunior Morias after running through the Truro defense blasts the ball into the back of the net

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.

Junior Morias celebrates his first goal of the afternoonJunior Morias celebrates his first goal of the afternoon

“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.

Junior Morias tries the break through the solid defense of Hampton. Picture: LEIGH PAGEJunior Morias tries the break through the solid defense of Hampton. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

“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.”

Junior Morias prepares to strike the ball into the back of the net. Picture: LEIGH PAGEJunior Morias prepares to strike the ball into the back of the net. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

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.

Junior Morias celebrates scoring the Saints second goal of the afternoon. Picture: LEIGH PAGEJunior Morias celebrates scoring the Saints second goal of the afternoon. Picture: LEIGH PAGE

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.

Former St Albans FC and Peterborough forward Junior Morias, now of Northampton Town in the League Two game between Stevenage FC v Northampton Town at the Lamex Stadium, Stevenage, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOOFormer St Albans FC and Peterborough forward Junior Morias, now of Northampton Town in the League Two game between Stevenage FC v Northampton Town at the Lamex Stadium, Stevenage, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOO

“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.

Former St Albans FC and Peterborough forward Junior Morias, now of Northampton Town in the League Two game between Stevenage FC v Northampton Town at the Lamex Stadium, Stevenage, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOOFormer St Albans FC and Peterborough forward Junior Morias, now of Northampton Town in the League Two game between Stevenage FC v Northampton Town at the Lamex Stadium, Stevenage, Hertfordshire. Picture: DANNY LOO

“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.

City celebrate Junior Morias' opener against Wealdstone. Picture: BOB WALKLEYCity celebrate Junior Morias' opener against Wealdstone. Picture: BOB WALKLEY

“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.

Junior Morias. Picture: BOB WALKLEYJunior Morias. Picture: BOB WALKLEY

“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.

Junior Morias prepares to have a shot at goalJunior Morias prepares to have a shot at goal

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.

Junior Morias signs autogrpahs before his final game for St Albans City. Picture: BOB WALKLEYJunior Morias signs autogrpahs before his final game for St Albans City. Picture: BOB WALKLEY

“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.”

Junior Morias played his final game for St Albans City before a move to Peterborough United. Picture: BOB WALKLEYJunior Morias played his final game for St Albans City before a move to Peterborough United. Picture: BOB WALKLEY

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.

Junior Morias wheels away after making it 2-0. Picture: BOB WALKLEYJunior Morias wheels away after making it 2-0. Picture: BOB WALKLEY

“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.”

Junior Morias scored twice off the bench for St Albans City. Picture: BOB WALKLEYJunior Morias scored twice off the bench for St Albans City. Picture: BOB WALKLEY

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.

Ben Herd congratulates Junior Morias. Picture: BOB WALKLEYBen Herd congratulates Junior Morias. Picture: BOB WALKLEY

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.

Junior Morias put St Albans City ahead in the FA Cup against Carlisle United with a stunning strike. Picture: BOB WALKLEYJunior Morias put St Albans City ahead in the FA Cup against Carlisle United with a stunning strike. Picture: BOB WALKLEY

“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.

Junior Morias takes the applause of  the crowd. Picture: BOB WALKLEYJunior Morias takes the applause of the crowd. Picture: BOB WALKLEY

“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.

Ben Herd gets to grips with fomer team-mate Junior Morias. Picture: BOB WALKLEYBen Herd gets to grips with fomer team-mate Junior Morias. Picture: BOB WALKLEY

“That makes everything good.”

To listen to the full podcast go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4iYNQbvTPI

St Mirren's Junior Morias. Picture: JEFF HOLMES/PASt Mirren's Junior Morias. Picture: JEFF HOLMES/PA


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