Morgan: First City goal a tribute to beloved great aunt
Morgan: First City goal a tribute to beloved great aunt
Manchester City Official
Esme Morgan lived the dream for all of us on Sunday, scoring her first goal for her beloved childhood Club.
It is the moment we all wish for – the feeling of euphoria when the ball hits the net and you wheel away in celebration, sporting the iconic colours of the team you've loved and supported from a young age.
Blue since birth, it was an experience Morgan had always hoped for. In a previous interview with ManCity.com in which she fantasised about her first City goal, she warned the ecstasy would take over and that she wouldn’t have ‘the presence of mind’ to produce any pre-planned celebration.
Instead, she would allow the raw passion of the moment to take her away, which she did... but on Sunday, there was an extra level of emotion for the youngster.
Sadly, the previous day, the defender had received the heart-breaking news that her great aunt Rita had passed away.
A familiar face at the Academy Stadium, cheering Esme and co. on from the front row, Rita loved watching City and although she wasn’t in attendance for Morgan’s maiden goal, the 20-year-old believes the timing of her strike provided ‘the perfect tribute.’
“It was an amazing feeling,” she reflected. “Although it hasn’t really sunk in, I was so pleased.
“At the time, it was euphoria. I just turned around and thought: ‘Where’s the first person I can celebrate with?!’
“I couldn’t really believe it, especially with the timing. My great aunt had passed away the day before. If she’d have hung on for 24 hours, she’d have seen my first goal.
“I was a bit emotional after the game but beforehand, I knew I was going to score. I'd had a weird feeling and I said to Lauren Hemp: ‘It’s going to happen and it’s going to be so typical that she’s not here to see it and there’s also the social media boycott so no-one’s going to know!’
“It was a case of ‘Typical City’ and ‘Typical Esme’ but it was also meant to be.”
The goal itself wasn’t the 40-yard screamer or overhead kick perhaps most people dream of – instead, a sweeping, close-range effort from a corner; described by Morgan as more of a ‘Shaun Goater’ effort than ‘Sergio Aguero!’
For the defender though, the quality of the strike didn’t matter – and she was more delighted to have scored in tribute to her great aunt and also close teammate Chloe Kelly, who was forced off with what has turned out to be a heart-wrenching ACL injury.
“We were so gutted for Chloe,” she added. “No-one wishes that on anyone and she’d been playing so well.
“Just before she went off, she told Ellen [White] to score a goal for her, although Ellen was substituted shortly after.
“After the game, I went in to see her and she was buzzing I’d scored.
“She’s feeling quite positive, looking on the bright side of things so she’s doing as well as she could be.
“In terms of the goal, it definitely was not as glamorous as I’d had dreamed! I actually said to some of the girls: 'No-one has ever celebrated such a trickly goal!'
“It bobbled in slow motion – I haven’t actually watched it many times – but I was so giddy! Although it wasn’t the screamer I’d hoped for, the feeling was exactly how I’d imagined – just sheer joy when I saw it go in!
“Hopefully, I can use it as a springboard to get some more!”
A lifelong Blue, Morgan has experienced all of the ups and downs of City fandom.
Ahead of this weekend’s FA Women’s Super League finale, which could see Gareth Taylor’s side lift the title if Chelsea slip up, the defender is drawing hope from her previous experiences of ‘City life.’
“At this Club, you know it can go down to the final seconds,” she stated. “Nothing is ever over until the final whistle.
“We’ll keep believing and keep going because football is a strange sport. It can only take a few seconds to score a goal and you never know what can happen.
“Since the game against Chelsea, it’s been our target to score as many as possible in the hope they slip up somewhere.
“We have to keep our end of the bargain and hope for the best.
“Hopefully, things will go our way and we’ll be ready to take advantage. Fingers crossed!”
Morgan will be joining her Blue brothers and sisters in tuning in to watch Tuesday’s eagerly-awaited men’s Champions League semi-final second leg clash, as Pep Guardiola’s side take on Paris Saint-Germain for a place in the Final.
As countdown to kick-off nears, the excitement and nerves are kicking in and Morgan, whose first attended game was a 6-2 win over Bolton back in 2003 at the age of three, says she would love nothing more than to see her beloved Club make history once more.
"I feel a bit sick actually!” she admitted, previewing the encounter. “I lost my appetite completely at lunch. I’m not sure whether that’s related but it might be…
"I’m very anxious but also so excited. It’s such an amazing opportunity. We’ve never been in such a good position in the Champions League before: with two away goals.
"I’ll be screaming at the television, kicking every ball like every City fan will.
“When I first started watching City, I probably didn’t even know the Champions League existed! It certainly wasn’t something City fans were talking about at all!
“I’ve been very lucky to have seen an upturn in fortunes, especially over the last ten years, as we’ve been able to challenge and push for trophies.
“It’s incredible to have these kinds of matches as fans now. It’s been an amazing journey and I don’t think anyone would change it!
"Hopefully, the players will feel our support from home and we’ll be able to get the win. It would be such an historic moment and something everybody at the Club has been willing to happen for so many years."