DORCHESTER chairman Eddie Belt has fired a hands-off warning to Weymouth over Mark Morris.
The Magpies manager has emerged as a leading candidate for the vacant Terras seat after his
success on limited resources at the Avenue Stadium.
But Belt says the ex-Wimbledon defender is under contract to the Magpies until May 2007 and, if he has his way, he will be going nowhere.
“Mark Morris is not up for grabs,” said Belt today.
“We set out a five-year plan to take this club forward and Mark is halfway there on the playing side.
“The last thing we want now is for him to be temped away because, as I have said before, he is one of the best non-League managers around.
“We have good relations with Weymouth at the moment, but while I under-stand their situation and I know why they would be interested in Mark, I have to think about Dorchester and my own personal opinion is that I don’t want them to speak to him.
“I must say at this stage I have had no contact from Weymouth and I only know what is going on down there from what I read in the news-papers.
“If they do get in touch with us about Mark I would have to tell him.
If he then came back to me and said he would like to talk to them I suppose I would have to consider that when it happened.”
Morris recently said he would have to consider his future at Dorchester after the Magpies Board pulled the ‘plug on his plan to sign Warren Hunt from Bognor Regis because of a shortage of cash.
But Belt said the situation which had arisen involved him and the other directors and not Morris, and he had no reason to think Morris was still unhappy.
“We have told him to start doing the contracts for Mark Jermyn, Justin Keeler and Warren Byerley, the three
who are out of contract at the end of this season, and I know he is also talking to several prospective
new signings,” he added.
Meanwhile Terras owner Martyn Harrison said he would not be approaching Morris while he was still
under contract at the Avenue Stadium.
“Naturally I admire and respect what he has achieved at Dorchester,” he said.
“But I am good friends with Eddie Belt and Dorchester FC and, as I have said before, I will not make any moves towards our neighbour’s manager while he is under contract.
“If there comes a time when he is out of contract and we are looking for a new manager that might be different.”