Club captain Callum Morris left Dunfermline for the second time in his career when it was announced on Friday that he had decided not to accept the offer of a new contract. Instead, he hopes to find a club in England, where he has never played League football.
Callum joined Dunfermline in August 2012 at the age of 22. His career to that point had seen him start as a youth team player at Newcastle before playing non-league football and having a spell with the Glenn Hoddle Soccer Academy in Spain. Signing for the Pars, who were managed by Jim Jefferies and had hopes of making an instant return to the Premiership, gave Callum his first experience of sustained first team football at senior League level. A survivor of the squad cull that followed administration in 2013, he went onto make 67 appearances for the club before moving to Dundee United in 2014. His decision not to extend his stay at EEP led to Jefferies dropping him for the play-off final games against Cowdenbeath, when he briefly saw action as a late sub in the first leg - as an emergency striker.
After a good start to his time at Dundee United, Morris suffered an injury that cost him his place in the team and on his return to fitness, was sometimes played out of position at left back. 45 games in tangerine was followed by a transfer to Aberdeen in 2016, but he was unable to break into the Dons team and left the club in January 2017 without making a single first team appearance.
A return to Dunfermline was confirmed when he signed a 6 month contract in the January transfer window and he began to form what was to become a very effective central defensive partnership with Lee Ashcroft. In the summer of 2017 he signed for a further 12 months (it was later revealed that he had been offered a 2 year deal, but preferred to sign for 1 year) and was given the club captaincy after previous captain Andy Geggan was released.
His form in the opening weeks of the 2017/18 season saw him recalled to the Northern Ireland squad - although born in England, Morris qualified to play for both Northern Ireland (through his father, born in Belfast) and the Republic of Ireland (his mother was born in Waterford). The partnership with Ashcroft in the Dunfermline defence was to be one of the highlights of the Pars' season and despite occasional lapses in concentration, Morris proved to be an excellent captain and also involved himself in the club's community work. He made 56 appearances in his second period at the club, and a total of 124 in the black and white over his 2 spells with Dunfermline.
Now 28 years old, Morris clearly has ambitions to play in the English League. He will be missed at East End Park in an era when players will always prioritise personal ambitions over loyalty. Good luck to him in the next chapter of his career.