Contrasting fortunes for best friends

They're the best of friends, but City striker Leon McKenzie and Palace's Clinton Morrison left Selhurst Park in sharply contrasting fortunes on Saturday evening.


They're the best of friends, but City striker Leon McKenzie and Palace's Clinton Morrison left Selhurst Park in sharply contrasting fortunes on Saturday evening.

While Morrison was bubbling after celebrating the birth of son Shay last week with a goal in the 4-1 rout, McKenzie was almost lost for words.

Having agreed to an interview with the local media, the popular Canaries front-man, back at the ground where he started his career, realised that words could not sum up his feelings.

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“It wasn't good enough - I don't know, mate, I'd like to speak to you but it's just hurting me. I don't want to come back like this,” he said.

McKenzie and Morrison earned their footballing spurs at Palace back in the late 90s before going their separate ways - McKenzie to Peterborough then Norwich, Morrison to Birmingham before returning to his old hunting ground in August last year.

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Morrison could well have been a Norwich player, with Canaries boss Nigel Worthington losing out to old pal Iain Dowie in a chase for the Republic of Ireland front man. On the evidence of Saturday's, it would appear to be a smart decision by Morrison, although the player was being diplomatic.

“Nigel Worthington's is a very good manager and it was a very difficult decision, but in the end I thought it a better move to come back to Palace,” he said.

“I'd have liked to have played in the same team as Leon, but it was a difficult decision to make and in the end I opted for Palace.”

Morrison was sympathetic after the game.

“I had a little word with Leon and gave him my shirt after the game,” he said. “He's just come back from injury so hopefully he'll start to get a run in the team soon. He's a good friend of mine.”

The Palace striker wasn't in the mood for rubbing salt in any wounds, but was more than happy to talk about life on the upside, which for him means fatherhood, scoring for Palace and getting his international call-up.

“When I left the house my girlfriend said to try and score for Shay and I was delighted because that goal was for him,” he said.

“It has been a good week and hopefully I'll have a good week with Ireland next week.

“I thought it was one of the best games we played since I have been here. We passed it well in the first half, we took our foot off the pedal a bit in the second half where we should have continued going but we managed to score two goals and concede a sloppy goal which the manager and the players weren't happy about. But all in all we deserved the three points.

“You could say they were all over the place but you have to give credit to us, I thought we were at it from the first whistle, in their faces. There was a lot of good play from the defence, through the midfield right to the strikers. We combined well, we are just pleased we have the points.”

Morrison formed a telling partnership with Andrew Johnson, who opened the scoring after just seven minutes and was a thorn in City's side all afternoon in his first game back after an injury lay-off.

“It is always a joy to have Andy back, he has bundles of pace and he scores goals and is a top striker, that's what you want in this league and he does it week in week out,” said Morrison. “We haven't really played together much, probably only three or four times, where either I've been left out or he's been injured, so it's good today to get a little relationship going.

“We are trying to work on a lot of things in training and some of it came off today.”

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