As Sam Morsy’s time with Chesterfield comes to an end, Matt Brooks of the Derbyshire Times looks back on a memorable two-and-a-half years for player and club.
Morsy’s Spireites career began in the summer of 2013 with then-manager Paul Cook having to defend the midfielder’s tenacious style of play, following his release from Port Vale.
“It’ll be made clear to him, as it is with everybody, that he’s got to knuckle down and work hard and put the nasty side away,” said Cook, who knew Morsy from his time at Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Since then he has adhered himself to the Chesterfield public with a similar style of harassing opponents, breaking up play, carrying the ball forward and even scoring a few too.
He has developed from the man who would often pick the ball up from the back four and drive the Spireites on the attack to one that has a sense of being in the right areas at the right time.
Morsy reads the game well and alongside Jimmy Ryan in Cook’s engine room there were no two better suited to lead the team on to what turned out to be a memorable season in 2013/14.
There was a sense something was building that summer as Cook cleared the decks in his team, both on and off the pitch. Several long-serving members of staff left as Cook changed the recipe.
Morsy came in and was a notable performer as Chesterfield took the division by storm - starting with an eight game unbeaten run and finishing with the League Two title on a dramatic last day against Fleetwood.
The Proact Stadium was bouncing and although Morsy missed the game through suspension he was very much an integral part of the team, making 39 appearances that campaign, which also saw a return to Wembley in the JP Trophy.
He was also voted Fans’ Player of the Year and followed it up with a number of eye-catching displays in League One as Chesterfield mounted a top six push, even taking on the armband .
The season ended at Deepdale to a goal-hungry Preston North End and with it saw the end of Cook’s time in charge and some key players in Ryan, Gary Roberts, Tendayi Darikwa and Sam Clucas’s time in blue.
Morsy, however, remained.
And he has gone on to become the stand-out leader of the Spireites during a time of transition at the Proact, which has seen Dean Saunders come and go and Danny Wilson put in charge.
He has already racked up 30 appearances this season and flicking through the statistics of Morsy’s Chesterfield career, one in particular stands out more than any other.
He has never made an appearance from the substitutes’ bench.
If Morsy has been fit and available the captain has played under Cook, under Saunders, under Mark Smith and under Wilson - totalling 99 league starts during a time that has seen his and Chesterfield’s stock rise.
It may not have been the exit player or club would have wanted after the success stories from the last two-and-a-half years, but there will be few who would begrudge him another shot at promotion to the Championship.
He may have arrived with a “nasty” tag but he leaves with a very different reputation, as a cultured number five.
Name: Sam Morsy
Chesterfield appearances: 117 (99 league)
Chesterfield goals: 8 (7 league)
Previous clubs: Wolverhampton Wanderers (trainee), Port Vale and Chesterfield