Zebras hungry for more silverware, says Morton
Even after a near-perfect season, PHC Zebras coach Scott Morton is not resting on his laurels.
The Zebras claimed four trophies in 2017-18, for the most successful haul in a single campaign since Devonshire Cougars won the Triple Crown of the league, FA Cup and Friendship Trophy in 2012-13, to move to 49 titles overall in the BFA league, two behind north Village.
“I leave all those stats to the statisticians,” Morton said on the weekend as his players and coaching staff gathered at PHC field for an official team photo to mark the club’s best season since 1989-90, when they also won four trophies.
They won the Triple Crown in 1970-71
The Martonmere Cup, which became the Dudley Eve Trophy in 2009, started in 1972 while the Charity Cup was not introduced until the 1984-85 season.
“It’s important for me to grow this team further, improve each individual player, because even the better players in the team still have a lot of improving to do, mainly because they are in the national programme,” Morton said of his plans for next season. “It is important to build on that and collectively as a team to become more dynamic. That’s critical because you can’t stay the same.
“An example of that was Chelsea, who convincingly won the Premier League last year but didn’t really change much this year. They had a target on their back and we know we’ll have a target on our back, so there is no way I’m going to allow the team to come out and look the same as they did this year.
“I have extremely high standards. I’ll give each player an assessment, tell them where they are and what they have, and more importantly the things they need to improve.
“In the off-season they get to think about that, and I give them some examples of players I see on TV. It’s important that they grow and from that the team becomes better. Then the rest will take care of itself.”
Morton ended his first season as coach by winning the 2017 FA Cup Final against North Village. This year the club looked like winning all five trophies, before losing to Robin Hood on penalty kicks in the FA Cup semi-final last month.
Morton is on the shortlist for Coach of the Year at Friday’s BFA Annual Awards Ceremony at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, starting at 7.30pm. In fact, it could be a good night for the new champions as Marco Warren is on the MVP shortlist; Quinnaceo Hunt in contention for Goalkeeper of the Year and Daren Usher for the Defensive Player and Young Player of the Year awards.
“Things work when you have something from the ground up, a solid foundation,” Morton said. “That is what has helped create this. For me, coming into a club of this magnitude with the success that they’ve had in the past, it is just much easier to build on.
“The commitment from these players is unwavering and all the pressure is on us, the coaching staff, finding a balance of what they naturally have and what we would like to see from them as players. It was never about when am I going to start winning any trophies.
“Winning is never guaranteed, so it was important that the pieces were put in place so that any time when things are not going well that you know where to go to help fix the problem. It is the process for me and you will hear me say that a lot.”
Morton also shared the accolades with his coaching staff, including assistant coach Robert Bean who gave invaluable support.
“They were so critical, Robert Bean, Kenny Mills, Cal Waldron, the physios Daniel Morgan and Fiona Braidwood,” he said. “I couldn’t have done it without them, more so Robert, who is so committed, so humble, gives me a lot of ideas. I make sure I bounce things off him to get his input. Without him it wouldn’t have been possible.”
Things didn’t change with a change at the top either, when Michael Trott replaced Jonathan Ball as president of the club.
“I didn’t feel any effects from that, it just goes to show the strength of the club, to not allow those things to get in the way of what we’re doing here as a team,” Morton said. “They gave me all the freedom to come in with my ideas. There were never any demands from them, other than they wanted to continue with their history as a winning club. For me it fit perfectly with their vision and what I bring to the table.
“Outside of that, you can’t win without good players, no matter how good a coach you are, because there are some things that coaches cannot coach. A lot of the things these players bring to the table they naturally have or was developed through the programme. It just makes my job a lot easier.”
He added: “I’m very demanding, they know that, and it was about finding a balance of their true potential and with what I bring to the table, to make it a more harmonious unit.”
Defender Mikey Lambe is planning to retire and Morton has not ruled out bringing a player or two into the fold, provided they are the right type of player.
“I know what the team as a whole needs to improve and if that’s outside players then so be it,” he stated. “The club is very selective who comes in and it has to be the right player for the club. They have to embrace the culture of the club.
“With the youth players coming up in the under-17s, there are a few of them I’ve already had a look at this season. They train before us so I get to see them train.
“They play in our PDL team and I’ve had a good look at them so I know what’s coming through.”
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