West Brom testimonial for James Morrison and Chris Brunt will go ahead – eventually
A testimonial to mark the careers of Albion legends Chris Brunt and James Morrison will still take place – but supporters must wait a little longer for the celebration.
The hugely popular duo, who joined the Baggies just seven days apart from each other in August 2007, have been planning to hold a joint testimonial ever since marking a decade with the club in 2017.
Initially the game – which will see all proceeds donated to charity – was going to take place at The Hawthorns in the summer of 2018.
But it was delayed without a new date being set.
Now, though, supporters are again calling for the testimonial to take place after the news last week that Brunt will leave the club at the end of the 2019/20 campaign.
After 13 years, more than 400 appearances and two promotions, the Northern Irishman will depart when his contract expires next month – with the Express & Star understanding he is set to join Stoke City.
Former Scotland international Morrison, who made more than 350 Albion appearances, retired from playing in October 2019 aged just 33.
But he immediately embarked on a coaching career with the club and was recently appointed assistant manager to Albion’s under-23s. Baggies fans have been eager to celebrate Morrison’s career ever since he hung up his boots.
They are also desperate to give Brunt the send-off he deserves – something that won’t be possible in the coming weeks with the Championship set to conclude behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It is understood Brunt is eager for the testimonial to take place – but he would rather it was staged when he has retired from playing.
The midfielder doesn’t feel it is right to celebrate his time with the club and then potentially play against them in the future.
When the game does go ahead, however, Albion will assist in any way they can and will allow the popular due to stage the match at The Hawthorns – with the stadium sure to be packed.
But for tax purposes, an independent organising committee must be set up.
Traditionally, testimonials were used as a way of sending loyal players away with a donation, raised by the club and supporters.
These days, however, they have become more charitable affairs due to the money players are able to earn.
And it is understood by setting up an organising committee to run the game as a charitable event, Brunt and Morrison will be able to raise more money for their chosen causes.
Speaking in 2016, Morrison revealed the pair would be doing it for charity, and that they’d had a ‘gentleman’s handshake’ on it.