Big interview with Scarborough Athletic's Tom Morgan on coaching, big plans and who can and can't take banter
A time comes to every footballer when you have to ease back on your playing time.
After a lengthy career, which has taken in stays at Halifax Town, Farsley and Bradford Park Avenue, Scarborough Athletic's Tom Morgan is currently arriving at that point.
But the 35-year-old doesn't mind too much because he is enjoying his transition into the the coaching game.
Morgan is still available as back-up to Tommy Taylor, but at the same time he is keeping busy passing on the things he has picked up through the years, as well as contributing to the behind the scenes work of boss Steve Kittrick, assistant Mark Hume and coach Steve Roberts.
"I love it," Morgan said. "What a situation to be in, there are so many people that would love to be at this club right now.
"Scarborough are on the up, with a brand new stadium and loads of great fans.
"Obviously I still want to be playing, but at this stage it comes down to what your body will let you do.
"I've had operations on my shoulder, knees and thumb over the years and it all takes its toll, so what I'm doing right now really suits.
"There comes a time when you have to make that transition into the coaching side of things and I'm really enjoying doing that.
"I love it when the lads transfer what we've been working on from the training ground onto the pitch and we get a result.
"It is also great working with Tommy and seeing how well he is doing as a keeper."
In the meantime Morgan is happy doing what he is doing with Boro, though in future years he is keen to take the step into the management side of things.
"My role with Scarborough is great, but a few years down the line I do want to get into management," he added.
"I'm building my experience at the moment and I have the opportunity to work as a part of a great management team.
"You do pick things up over the years and I've played under some good managers in Mark Lillis, Paul Bracewell, Chris Wilder, Lee Sinnott and the current gaffer (Steve Kittrick).
"I think Steve has things right because he is honest and focuses on work rate on the pitch.
"If a player is playing well then they will keep their shirt, if not then the next player comes in.
"Part of the job in the back-room staff is to talk to players and some of that is about when they are not playing.
"I just say that we have a small squad and that they have to stay switched on. Football changes from one week to the next, so they will get their chance."
Despite not being on the field on match days, Morgan still enjoys being on the bench and in the changing room.
He said: "The gaffer sits in the stand for much of the match because you have to use every advantage that you can get.
"So if he has a better view of different things then that's great. It is only what pro clubs do at their games, having people in all four corners of the ground.
"It works really well because we spot things from the bench as well and throw all of our ideas together.
"In the dressing room it is a little bit different in today's game because when I started out there was no hiding place.
"We do have good lads, we all get on well and they are very welcoming to new players.
"You have to work out who can take the banter and who can't.
"It is generally a case of letting the new lads find their feet and then it begins. Wally (James Walshaw) is usually the first to get stuck in.
"You always get the ones that bite, like Vallo (Nathan Valentine), but he's a good character in there as well.
"Having a good dressing room is important because it can earn you 10 or 15 points a season, that can be massive in what you want to achieve."
The car school is also a big thing on the long trips to and from games and Morgan is happy that the keepers are sticking together.
"It is only me and Tommy now. We used to have Sam Hewitt and Danny Stimpson in there, but they both left the club," he said.
"I've known Tommy for about 10 years now, we socialise outside of football as well, so it is good.
"We only talk about football for a fraction of the journey because he can be a bit fragile at times and you can overthink things.
"There is no hiding place as a keeper, if you make a mistake then you generally concede a goal, so you have to have a thick skin. Having said that, Tommy has been outstanding this season.
"We do have a fair bit of banter in the car, which makes the time pass."
Looking at the season itself, Morgan is confident that Boro can maintain their push for honours at the business end.
He added: "You have to believe in the players, the squad we have is right up there with the best in the league.
"The team that keeps chipping away with the runs of wins will be the one that finishes in top spot, hopefully that will be us.
"There are teams around us that have the games in hand, but I'd rather have the points at this stage because playing games in these difficult conditions can grind you down.
"The aim is to get Scarborough back in the Football League, but that is a few years down the line yet.
"If we can push towards the Conference then that would be great and it would be something brilliant to be a part of.
"The good thing is that everyone, from the chairman, management staff and players, to the fans and the volunteers are all pushing in the same direction.
"Scarborough is a great place to be right now."