Oct 25 2011 by Gordon Bannerman, Perthshire Advertiser Tuesday
JODY Morris yesterday backed out of possible contention for the vacant St Johnstone managerial role.
Perth chairman Geoff Brown – who is adamant there will be no rushed appointment as the club weighs-up contenders to follow on from Derek McInnes – confirmed his 32-year-old club captain intends to focus on extending his playing career as long as possible.
After speaking to Morris – pictured – in the wake of the Tayside derby draw with Dundee United, which saw the skipper team-up with youth coach Alec Cleland to assume temporary command, Brown said: “We have no definite timetable. Nothing is set in concrete and Jody and Alec Cleland might well be in charge again for this weekend’s game against St Mirren.
“But Jody has told us he doesn’t wish to be considered for the manager’s post. He wants to continue his playing career and we are encouraging him to do so.
“Obviously we had to sound him out because he and Alec are sharing the managerial responsibilities since the departure of Derek to Bristol City.
“But at his age Jody wants to play as long as he can and that’s perfectly understandable.
“In his role as a holding midfielder he could play for a good few years yet.”
Morris, lured north by close friend McInnes from Millwall and now set to celebrate his 100th appearance against St Mirren, is out of contract next summer and Brown observed: “He is arguably our most influential player and we want him out on the pitch.”
The former Chelsea and Leeds star has featured among the favourites for the Perth position, with the bookies also listing ex-Saints Gary Bollan, Paul Sheerin, Nick Dasovic and Graeme Jones among the long list of contenders.
As the guessing game continues, Sheerin has confirmed he would be interested if approached at Arbroath, Livingston manager Bollan has attracted a couple of hefty speculative bets to come into 6/4 with Stan James but Jones, number two at Wigan, rates St Johnstone and their chairman highly but, as anticipated, has no intention of leaving the Premiership.
Rangers skipper David Weir is also in the frame but Brown wants his managers to stay within striking distance of McDiarmid Park and the veteran international defender’s family base is south of the border.
Brown chuckled: “At this point I would love to be a bookie taking all the money that is being splashed about.”
The long-serving Saints chairman confirmed that his son and vice-chairman Steve will have a big say in who lands the job, and it might not be an ambitious rookie keen to secure a first step on the ladder.
He said: “We have had applications in from Australia, North and South America and the continent, including some well-known names.
“But we have to concentrate on what is best for St Johnstone.
“The job profile has been enhanced by the departure of Owen Coyle and now Derek to England.
“But it has also changed. Before, we were a First Division club looking for promotion and now we are an SPL club looking to stay there.
“The scenarios are entirely different. The job is very different.
“We also have to think ahead. There have been boardroom changes and we have to look to the future. But while the younger generation will have their say I have put a heck of a lot of time and effort into keeping this club above water down the years so it isn’t easy standing back. Maybe they will get a bit of assistance to point them in the right direction!
“But in the meantime, Jody and Alex are in charge until something changes.”
DEREK McInnes suffered a 2-0 defeat to Birmingham in his first match in charge of Bristol City on Sunday.