Thomas "Tom" Morrison

Tom Morrison was a man, whose footballing life at least was for most of more than a decade both exemplary and successful but for the best part of five more was curious. His personal life, however, indeed his mental health, was for not all but a large part of that same period at best bizarre. 

He was born in 1904 in Crookedholm, between Hurlford and Kilmarnock so in real football country. His father was a shoe-maker, both parents from Wigtownshire. But he seems to have grown up in Troon and it was there that he, working as a shipyard Apprentice Plater, that he first took to the football field with Troon Athletic.

And it was from Troon that in 1924, aged twenty, that he, a right-half, was signed by St. Mirren, winning the Scottish Cup in 1926, capped in 1927 against England, unfortunately in the only home defeat of the decade, and going that same year on the SFA tour of the USA and Canada. He had in 1926 also married, in Coylton in Ayr. His bride was Elizabeth Tinman, five years older than he and clearly very pregnant. The wedding was in September. Their son, Hamilton, named for his Morrison grandfather, was born that same year. 

On the strength of his footballing performances Morrison would in early 1928 at twenty-four be signed by Liverpool. There he was to stay for seven years and over two hundred and fifty starts, for most of that time without problems. But towards the end there was trouble. He was dropped from the team, failed to turn up for a reserve game, went missing and was twice suspended, at which point The Reds sold him sideways to Sunderland and there there was a revival. It was not only in him but also in the team. It took the First Division title by a remarkable eight points, for which a celebration dinner was naturally held, but one that Morrison walked out of and simply disappeared.   

Bizarre enough already here the story takes an even stranger twist. Morrison, calling himself Jock Anderson, re-emerged in Cambridgeshire sleeping rough, did agricultural work through the summer, demonstrated footballing talent at the local Gamlingay village club and started the season as its centre-forward. The team won nine in a row, that is until again he disappeared because he had returned to Sunderland to court, where he stood accused of desertion of wife and child. 

He then returned to Ayrshire, with wife and child in unclear, although both seem to have spent the rest of their lives there, Elizabeth dying in Coylton and Hamilton in Ayr. Sunderland had given him a free transfer so that the age of thirty-three he joined Ayr Utd. but within months had gone off the rails once more. Failing to turn up for pre-season he was also convicted of house-breaking, probably served a short prison sentence and next was to be found in Ireland. There in Dublin he played for Drumcondra until a bad leg fracture in early 1939, then coached the team and was groundsman until 1942, at which point he was dismissed and returned not to Scotland but to where he clearly felt safest, Gamlinggay and the area. 

Elizabeth Morrison passed away in Auchinleck in 1979. She is buried in Coylton with her parents and brother. Tom Morrison survived her by a year, dying, aged seventy-five, in Bedford in 1980.

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