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Get to know – Ollie Morgan


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

In years to come, Ollie Morgan could add his name to the list of footballers who have had the most random occupations after hanging up their boots.

Having just turned 17, Morgan, who this week signed his first professional contract with the club, is one of the youngest players to have captained AFC Bournemouth’s under-18s and still very much has the world at his feet.

But while the level-headed teenager is keen to forge a long and successful career in the professional ranks, defender Morgan also has one eye on the future.

While retirement sees many former Premier League stars move into coaching, management or punditry, others have taken up a variety of weird and wonderful jobs.

Ex-Liverpool defender Daniel Agger is a tattoo artist who owns a sewage management company, former Chelsea star Ken Monkou is a pancake chef and Thomas Gravesen, who played for Everton in the top flight, is a poker player.

“I’d like to be a zookeeper!” laughs Morgan, a second-year scholar who has been on the club’s books since he was ten.

“I’ve watched a film called We Bought a Zoo a few times and it looks like such a great job to be involved with. I love animals so think it would be such a cool job to be around them all day.

“The film is about a family whose mother has passed away. The father buys a run-down zoo and takes on the challenge of preparing it for its reopening. They all get the hang of it and enjoy it.

“I’ve been around animals ever since I was born. Our family has three rabbits and a six-year-old Dogue de Bordeaux called Alfie.

“I like to walk him down to the river because it allows me to relax which definitely helps after a day’s training or a match.”

Morgan, who has two elder sisters – Abbie and Kirstie – relocated to Southbourne from Romford in Essex when his father Andy started working for JP Morgan about seven years ago.

He attended Winton Primary and The Grange School and was snapped up by the Cherries soon after the family had moved south.

“Previously, I was at West Ham and Charlton,” said Morgan. “Charlton helped me get a trial here which was good of them. I spent a couple of weeks here and then they signed me.

“My dad always played football but not at a high level. He used to play Sunday league so I used to watch him. He’s a big West Ham supporter and I used to go to their games as well when we lived in Essex.

“Watching dad inspired me to play. I joined my local team Byron Red Star when I was five. Ollie Eagle, one of my teammates now, was in the A team and I was in the B team.

“My dad pushes and encourages me. When I’m outside of training, he urges me to go to the gym and gets me out running in the off-season.

“It wasn’t so much of a dream of his to be a professional footballer but he always enjoyed playing. He has seen the quality that I was brought up with and I want to do my family proud.”

With the Cherries having gained category two academy status this summer and a new state-of-the-art training ground on the horizon, Morgan knows the club is going places.

“It’s an exciting time to be here,” he added. “The training ground is coming on and the dome is starting to take shape which will be great for the winter.

“Although some of the teams in the Professional Development League are similar to category two, the pitches are so much better. Better facilities will help us become better players and develop us even more.

“Having new owners is also a big motivator. We know they can buy players but it gives us extra motivation to push on and be with the development squad and first team.

“It was great to be appointed captain. I’m probably not one of the most talkative players so it’s a good opportunity for me to lead on the pitch as well as off it. It’s a good step for me to improve maybe not so much my technical ability but my communication.”

As well as working with James Lowy and Andrew Surman in the under-18s, Morgan will sometimes train with Alan Connell’s development squad.

“Everybody helps you,” he said. “When I go with the development squad, I know what Alan expects.

“James and Surs always help you in training. They are always pushing you to be the best. If you’re good in training, you’ll be good in games.”

Morgan once had his picture taken with David Beckham, even though he was too young to recognise the former England captain: “I was five or six and playing for West Ham in a game at the Boleyn Ground. My dad saw Beckham in the reception and got me to run over and get a photo with him.

“I didn’t have a clue who he was! It was a shock moment for me to think I had a picture with him and didn’t even know who he was!”

This article appeared in Sunday's edition of Matchday.

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