Born in Glasgow on October 2nd 1944, William ‘Willie’ Morgan is one of the illustrious group of players who played in the famous No. 7 shirt for Manchester United F.C.; was included in the official line up of United’s “Magnificent 7’s” along with fellow greats George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona and David Beckham; and has undoubtedly achieved a lasting place in the football hall of fame.
But who’s the man behind the shirt? Johanna Bolhoven went along to meet Manchester United legend and Scottish International footballer, Willie Morgan, to find out more.
Having resided in Sale, Altrincham, Lymm and now Mere, where he has lived for the last six years with wife Kay, Willie is a passionate advocate for the county he now calls home.Kay and Willie enjoy their ‘quiet life’ in Cheshire
He tells me: “Since moving here, I knew it was somewhere I was going to settle.”
“I love Cheshire, its countryside, the towns and its attractions, but the best thing about the county is the slower pace of life and, of course, the golf courses.”
Since hanging up his boots in 1981, the former winger has turned his attention to the golf course and has since developed a keen interest in the sport.Johanna Bolhoven finds out more from Willie and Kay
Golf is the ultimate second sport. Few sports can match golf for crossover appeal from other sports and in recent years we have seen a whole host of footballers spend their retirement on the links and courses of the world, as they look for a new outlet for their competitive spirit.
Willie is so enamoured with the game that he even has a private path leading from his garden through to The Mere, Cheshire’s premier resort destination, and straight on to its championship golf course.Willie took over the famous Manchester United number 7 shirt from George Best.
“I don’t like any fuss. Golf teaches you to have patience, which is a virtue in life, and also to appreciate the silence; you can’t score by getting ahead of yourself you have to be patient and take one shot at a time. It may seem like a weird life skill – ‘quiet’ -but it’s very useful.”
But the sport that has failed to break a hold on his free-time is not without its frustrations: “Of course you can get frustrated with your performance; most golfers will get upset with themselves when they hit the ball thin, fat, top it, slice it or hook it, and I’m no exception.”
Sitting alongside golf is Willie’s other passion, Elvis Presley.
His love of Elvis began at an early age and his lifelong passion for this iconic, legendary performer is evident from his dogged determination to visit the iconic Graceland Mansion during his time in America and to the pictures and memorabilia dotted around his Cheshire home.
Willie and Kay even got married in Las Vegas at the Graceland Wedding Chapel, recognised around the world as the very first chapel to conduct an Elvis themed ceremony.
Still very much involved in his first sporting love, football, Willie hosts a fortnightly podcast, ‘The Willie Morgan Show’, where he gives his views on Manchester Utd, VAR, Moyes, Mourinho and much more.
The show airs on Football CFB in audio format, on Tuesday’s at 8pm.
You can also ask Willie a question by tweeting him @TheWillieMorgan or by tweeting @footballCFB.
When he’s not entertaining with wife Kay at home, the couple like nothing more than to visit their favourite restaurants; Gonbay, a Chinese restaurant on the Downs in Altrincham, and Italian restaurant, La Famaglia, in Hale.
“La Famaglia owner Pilione always makes sure that we have a truly Italian dining experience and his Steak Diane is simply the best in the world!” says Willie.
Kay, who was born in the village of Hale, is particularly fond of Gusto Italian restaurant just down the road in Knutsford, and they couple often enjoy a visit after spending the day strolling through the quaint village streets and visiting the pretty shops including firm favourite, Geralds of Knutsford.
Coming up to 40 years since he last kicked a football, Willie Morgan remains one of the most likeable and admired sportspeople. He doesn’t do this [interviews] very often, nor does he seek any sort of notability or platform.
He is genuine, funny, and loving, and it was an absolute pleasure to spend some quality time with the couple and enjoy a slice of their quiet life.