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John Leo Morley, better known as "Jackie" followed in the footsteps of a number of his fellow Irishmen when he joined West Ham United in September 1956, six Corkonian’s have worn the claret and blue colours.
First of these to embark from the Emerald Isle to east London were Tommy Moroney in 1947, followed by Johnny McGowan, Frank O’Farrell, Noel Cantwell, Jackie Morley and finally Billy Neville in 1956.
Born: Cork, Ireland April 10, 1935. Jackie died on November 26, 2013 aged 78
Morley returned to his home city with League of Ireland newcomers Cork Hibernians on a free transfer in June 1958. Under the terms of his transfer the West Ham board inserted a sell-on clause that should he be transferred to any other club in the British Isles including Eire, the Upton Park club will receive 50% of any fee involved.
A talented young soccer and Gaelic football player, Morley started out with Ballyphehane United and Evergreen United in the League of Ireland - the same club which produced Tommy Moroney.
The Evergreen United manager-coach Moroney recommended the 20-year-old to his former employers in September 1956.
Morley's debut programme against Hastings United in the Metroplitan League at Pilot's Field
After joining the ground staff, Morley made his West Ham "A" Team debut against Hastings United in the Metropolitan League at Pilots Field on 29 September 1956.
Morley's first-team debut arrived two months later, when the Cork-born player appeared alongside established stars like Ernie Gregory and John Bond in a 3-1 Essex Professional Cup victory over Essex club Chelmsford City on November 26, 1956.
In the two season's Morley was with the Hammers he was restricted to just four first-team appearances all in the Essex Professional Cup.
In much the same way as today's youngsters, Dan Potts, George Moncur, Leo Chambers, Matthias Fanimo and Dylan Tombides they all made their claret and blue bow in a minor Cup competition like the League Cup (Capital One Cup).
In Morley's day it was the Essex Professional Cup.
West Ham United Career Record
CHELMSFORD CITY :
Essex Professional Cup (First Round)
3 - 1 (Bond [pen], Dare 2)
26 November 1956
A warm-welcome to Morley in the West Ham programme
Under his captaincy Hibs soon became a major force and reached two FAI Cup finals. In 1964 international stars Johnny Haynes, Bert Trautman, Pat Crerand, Maurice Setters and Hammers John Bond and Noel Cantwell paid him the ultimate tribute when travelling to Cork for a benefit match in his honour.
Minutes of Board Meeting held Tuesday 1st July 1958
The following season, 1957/58, Morley helped the Hammers to reach the final of the Essex Professional Cup, where they were beaten 5-1 by Chelmsford City at their New Writtle Street ground in May 1958.
One of the highlights in this young Irishman's short West Ham career was a return to his home City as a West Ham player competing against his former club.
The game was played at The Mardyke (home of the Cork County Cricket Ground) against an Evergreen United Select side on April 29, 1958.
Although we can't find any concrete evidence to the contrary it is believed the match was arranged between the two managers, Tommy Moroney (Evergreen) and Hammers' Ted Fenton as part of the original transfer deal which brought Morley to east London 18-months earlier.
The match programme eludes to the fact that the clubs had difficulty during the past few seasons in arranging a mutual date for a game and had to be deferred.
The date of the game was finally agreed upon when West Ham were invited to be the opposition against an Evergreen Selected side in a benefit match for club trainer Flo Crowley on April 28, 1956 at Dalymount Park, the night before the game at "The Dyke".
West Ham won the first encounter 3-2, but the following evening saw the Evergreen United Select side ran out 4-2 winners with John Dick and John Bond hitting the back of the net for the Hammers.
2 - 4 (Dick, Bond)
29 April 1958
Another undobted highlight on his return to the Emerald Isles, apart from the usual reacquaintance with former Evergreen collegues, when he and the rest of the Hammers' party, players and officials were guests of honour at a reception hosted by the Mayor of Cork.
Morley is shown front row first left.
While he failed to make a Football League appearance for West Ham, Morley was a regular for the Club's London Midweek League and Football Combination sides, totalling exactly 100 appearances and 4 goals.
London Challenge Cup
Back in the 1950s the London Challenge Cup was another cup which was frequently treated as a first XI competition. Matches would often be reported on in the national press' sports pages. John played a key role in West Ham's 1957-58's cup run to the final where the Hammers lost 3-1 to Arsenal. While John did not play in the final, he did appear in all four of the earlier rounds at left half. His most memorable game was the 5-3 quarter-final victory over Tottenham Hotspur at Upton Park on October 28, 1957. Playing alongside Ken Brown, John scored one of the five goals.
After moving to Waterford United in 1967, the highlight of Morley's football career was undoubtedly appearing in the Waterford side which faced Manchester United in the European Cup on September 18, 1968. Facing the European Cup holders, Manchester United, was probably the biggest match in Waterford's history. The match has much local folklore around it, and the game was moved from Waterford's Dublin home ground, Dalymount Park, to Lansdowne Road to accommodate the 45,000 crowd.
This was quite a historic event for Lansdowne Road, as it was the first soccer game to be played at Ireland's home to rugby union. In the European Cup tie John was centre-half in the Waterford team which lost 3-1.
He also played in the 2nd leg at Old Trafford where the Reds won 7-1. European Cup qualification the following season saw the Waterford captain face Turkish giants, Galatasaray.
Return to Ireland with Cork Hibernians
European Cup football with Waterford
West Ham manager Ted Fenton shows "Jackie" where to sign accompanied by his mother with Tommy Moroney behind
West Ham players back row: John Dick, Andy Malcolm, Ernie Gregory, John Morley, Ken Brown, Richard Walker in suit
Front row: Mike Grice, John Bond, Noel Cantwell, Doug Wragg, Malcolm Musgrove
Seated far right: Vic Keeble
Cork Hibernians 1963-64
Morley, who later coached promising youngsters in his native Cork, was inducted into the Cork Soccer Hall of Fame in 1999. His wife, Joan, is a former Cork and Munster camogie player while children Pat, Dave and Sheenagh have all represented the County in various sports.
theyflysohigh would like to pass on our condolences to the family and friends of Jackie Morley at this sad time.
League of Ireland Selection
Team group images courtesy of "Jackie's" nephew Martin English
April 10, 1935
4 Essex Professional Cup
Date of Birth: