Away From The Numbers

FOLKLORE LEGENDS:

HENRY MORRIS

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Henry Morris - East Fife Legend
When Scottish League football resumed after the Second World War for season 1946/47, Henry Morris signed for East Fife from Dundee Violet, and was soon to become a major figure in Bayview folklore, and one that will be remembered for a very long time to come.

In his first season at Bayview, Henry scored an incredible 33 goals in 37 games and it was clear that East Fife had a major talent on their hands. This became clear to everyone the very next season - his record breaking season.

In the Fife's pre-season trial match in 1947/48, Henry turned out for the "Stripes" (the first team) against the "Reds". The "Stripes" won 4-0 but Henry didn't score. As it turned out, that was one of the few games that season that Henry didn't find the net! He was obviously saving himself.

What followed in season 47/48 was a major triumph for both East Fife and Henry personally.

The club enjoyed their first League Cup triumph, as well as becoming second Division Champions and winning the Supplementary Cup. Henry's goals that season played a very important part in the Fife's success.

Henry finished season 47/48 with an amazing total of 62 goals in 48 competitive games, the club's record for the most goals scored in a season by one player. Henry's 62 goals were made up of 41 goals in 29 League games, 11 goals in 10 League Cup ties (but surprisingly he didn't score in the Cup Final or the 4-1 replay success against Falkirk), 2 goals in 4 Scottish Cup ties (the Fife going out that season 1-0 away to Rangers in the quarter finals), and 8 goals in 5 supplementary Cup games (the Fife winning the second leg of the Final 7-0 and Henry didn't score!).

What makes Henry's goal-scoring tally even more impressive was that he failed to score in thirteen games that season, so he actually hit 62 goals in only 35 games - an average of 1.77 goals per game that he scored in.

Henry's record breaking season, in which he broke Jock Wood's 54 goals in season 1926/27, included a number of braces, two hat-tricks and one four goal haul, and saw him averaging a goal every 70 minutes of competitive play (1.29 goals per game).

Henry Morris in action for East Fife v Dundee United at Tannadice in 1948
Henry spent six great season's at Bayview, leaving at the end of Season 1951/52, having collected his second League Cup Final winners medal in 1949/50 in the process, this time getting on the scoresheet by scoring the Fife's third goal in the 3-0 triumph over Dunfermline.

Henry Morris' East Fife career statistics make for very impressing reading: 154 goals in 177 first team games,. Henry scored exactly 100 League goals for the Fife, as well as 16 in the Scottish Cup and 38 in the League Cup.

Henry's stats make him the fourth highest East Fife goalscorer in the club's history. Only Peter Weir, George Dewar and Charlie Fleming have scored more goals than Henry, and they all played a lot more games than him. His career average of 0.87 goals per game, meant that, Henry scored a goal for East Fife every 103 minutes of competitive football. In this respect, Henry leads the East Fife career totals, with only Jock Wood and Joe Cowan coming anywhere near him.

When you look at East Fife's top ten list of all-time goalscorers, five of them played alongside each other towards the end of the forties, which not only shows just how good a side we had then, but also just how good a player Henry Morris was for him to score so many goals in such a great side.

Henry's talents weren't just being noticed at Bayview though and this nationwide recognition of his skills also put him in the record books, and have brought Henry a lot of attention in the years that have followed. For Henry was one of Scotland's 'one timers'.

Henry's goal-scoring exploits couldn't have gone unnoticed for too long and he soon found himself on the Scottish national scene, when he was selected to play for Scotland against Northern Ireland on October 1st 1949 in Belfast. This game is classed as Scotland's first ever World Cup qualifying match, and the Scotland side also featured Henry's Fife team-mate George Aitken. Henry went on to score a hat-trick on his international debut, as Scotland triumphed 8-2. As is widely known, this turned out to be Henry's first and last game for Scotland, for reasons that are still a mystery to this day. What isn't so widely known is that Henry was selected as the second choice for the game against Wales in November 1947, but injury forced him out of that game, and the overall reckoning, which is a great shame for such a talented player.

Henry Morris - East Fife Legend
Henry was still a familiar face at Bayview, rarely missing a game. What he made of today's sides compared to the ones he's played in, as he stood behind the goals at old Bayview watching some of the unexciting rubbish that was served up, we can only imagine. Times move on in football, but the memories of the really great players never fade away, and Henry Morris is certainly in that category. His six seasons at Bayview coincided with the club's best ever spell, and Henry played a very large part in these successes. Henry Morris will always be a part of Bayview folklore.

It was no surprise when Henry was voted by the fans as one of the forwards in AFTN's East Fife All Time Greats Pre 1970 side. A well deserved accolade. Oh for a player of his calibre in the black and gold today.

** You can read a transcript of a BBC interview with Henry from April 6th 1990 HERE **