Morecambe F.C.

Coordinates: 54°03′41″N 2°52′02″W / 54.0615°N 2.8672°W / 54.0615; -2.8672
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Morecambe
Full nameMorecambe Football Club
Nickname(s)The Shrimps
Founded7 May 1920; 104 years ago (1920-05-07)
GroundMazuma Mobile Stadium
Capacity6,476 (2,247 seated)
Coordinates54°03′41″N 2°52′02″W / 54.0615°N 2.8672°W / 54.0615; -2.8672
OwnerBond Group Investments Limited (80% maj. shareholder)
Co-chairmenGraham Howse and Rod Taylor[1]
ManagerVacant
LeagueEFL League Two
2023–24EFL League Two, 15th of 24
WebsiteClub website
Current season

Morecambe Football Club is a professional association football club based in Morecambe, Lancashire, England. The team competes in EFL League Two, the fourth level of the English football league system.

The club was founded in 1920 and entered into the Lancashire Combination, where they would remain for the next 48 years, winning the league title on five occasions: 1924–25, 1961–62, 1962–63, 1966–67 and 1967–68. They joined the newly formed Northern Premier League in 1968 and went on to win the FA Trophy in 1974 and the Northern Premier League President's Cup in 1992. Under the stewardship of Jim Harvey, a second-place finish in the 1994–95 Northern Premier League Premier Division season saw them promoted into the Conference. Having been beaten in the 2003 and 2006 play-off semi-finals, Sammy McIlroy led the club to promotion into the Football League with victory in the 2007 play-off final. They finished in the top ten of League Two twice, reaching the play-off semi-finals after fourth-place finishes in 2009–10 and 2020–21; in the latter season they reached the 2021 League Two play-off final and achieved a first promotion to League One. They competed in the third tier for two seasons, before being relegated in 2023, amid financial troubles.

Nicknamed "The Shrimps" due to the coastal town's local speciality food, the club have played home games at the Mazuma Mobile Stadium since moving from their original home at Christie Park in 2010. The club contests rivalries with nearby Accrington Stanley and formerly with non-League neighbours Lancaster City of the same council area, along with other Lancashire clubs.

History[edit]

1920–2007: Non-League[edit]

Football in the town dates back to the turn of the 20th century; however, it was not until 7 May 1920 that Morecambe FC was formed after a meeting at the local West View Hotel. The club then took its place in the Lancashire Combination League for the 1920–21 season.

Sharing grounds with Morecambe Cricket Club at Woodhill Lane during the first season, football proved popular, with crowds in excess of 3,000 for derby fixtures with Lancaster City and Fleetwood Town. Although success on the field was hard to come by, with the club languishing near the bottom of the table, at the end of the first season the club moved grounds to Roseberry Park. A few years later after the purchase of the ground by the then-President, J.B. Christie, the ground's name was changed to Christie Park in his honour. Those early seasons proved difficult, and it was not until 1924–25 that the club began to enjoy some success, claiming the league title for the first time; this was later followed by success in the Lancashire Junior Cup, beating old rivals Chorley after two replays, and in front of over 30,000 spectators.

Christie bequeathed the ground to the club in 1927 and also helped incorporate the club into a Limited Company with a then share capital of £1,000. The rest of the 1920s and the whole of the 1930s saw a constant struggle to keep football alive on the North West coast, with poor results on the field and little or no revenue off the field.

The post-war era saw an upturn in the Shrimps' fortunes with steady progress throughout the late 1940s and nearly all the 1950s, with a visible marked improvement when in 1956 Ken Horton was appointed player-manager. Whilst success was only just around the corner, the foundations for the future were being built. The Auxiliary Supporters club had been formed and with their help many ground improvements were undertaken, so that the on-field success dovetailed neatly with the off-field enterprise. The fourteen years from 1960 could justifiably be said[by whom?] to be Morecambe's Golden Era. This included an FA Cup third round appearance in 1961–62, a 1–0 defeat to Weymouth; a Lancashire Senior Cup final victory in 1968, a 2–1 win over Burnley;[2] and an FA Trophy success at Wembley in 1974, a 2–1 win over Dartford in the final.

The next 12 years were as barren as any previous period in the club's history. Attendances fell from a creditable 2,000 plus to a miserable 200 minus, with a visible decline in the club fortunes during that period. However, in 1985–86, signs of improvement appeared; the club's league position improved, and success in cups came as well over the next few years. It took ten years for the club to reach its ambition of promotion to the Football Conference after many further improvements, not only to the ground but also to the club's structure.

Since elevation to the Conference in season 1995–96, the Shrimps achieved status as one of the leading teams in the league. In fact, only Woking had a longer unbroken membership of the league at this time. The runners-up spot was claimed on one occasion and the play-off positions were narrowly missed twice. Also during this time, the club equalled its best appearance in the FA Cup in both 2000–01 and 2002–03. On both occasions the club faced Ipswich Town, losing 3–0 and 4–0 respectively. Morecambe also defeated a few league clubs in the FA Cup, including Cambridge United in 2000–01 and Chesterfield in 2002–03.

In November 2005, Jim Harvey suffered a heart attack during a league game at Christie Park against Cambridge United. The club quickly declared the appointment of a caretaker manager, Sammy McIlroy, a long-time friend of Harvey. After McIlroy's initial three-month stint as caretaker expired, he was given the job for the remainder of the season with Harvey expected to return on its closure. However, on his first day back as manager of Morecambe, Harvey was sacked by the club and McIlroy was appointed as permanent manager.

In the absence of Harvey, Morecambe reached the Conference play-offs. They lost to Hereford 4–3 on aggregate, but McIlroy was appointed on a permanent basis in May 2006. The following season, Morecambe were promoted to the Football League for the first time in their history after winning the Conference play-off final, beating Exeter City 2–1 at Wembley on 20 May 2007, in front of over 40,000 fans which followed their semi-final victory over York City.[3]

Football League (2007–present)[edit]

Chart of yearly table positions of Morecambe since promotion in the Football Conference

On 17 July 2007, Morecambe announced plans to move to a new stadium by the start of the 2009–10 season. However, work did not start on the proposed site until spring 2009, with completion anticipated in summer 2010.[4]

Morecambe played their first Football League game against Barnet at Christie Park on 11 August 2007, earning a 0–0 draw.[5] On 14 August 2007, Morecambe played their first League Cup tie, winning 2–1 against near neighbours Preston North End at Deepdale.[6] The Shrimps then beat another Championship side, winning 3–1 win against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 28 August. In the third round, they faced a third consecutive Championship side, Sheffield United, but lost 5–0. They finished their first League Two season in 11th place with 60 points. They also finished 11th in the 2008–09 season, with 63 points.

The 2009–10 season was Morecambe's last at Christie Park, and they finished in fourth place, qualifying for the play-offs, but lost 7–2 on aggregate to Dagenham & Redbridge. On 10 August 2010, Morecambe played their first match at the Globe Arena against Championship side Coventry City in the League Cup. Morecambe won 2–0, with Andy Fleming scoring the first two goals at the stadium.. After the club finished the 2010–11 season in 20th place, Morecambe manager Sammy McIlroy left the club by mutual consent on 9 May 2011, after five years.[7]

On 13 May 2011, Jim Bentley signed a two-year deal as player-manager.[8] After a promising start to the 2011–12 season, a poor end to the season led to Morecambe finishing 15th in League Two. In Bentley's second season they finished 16th. Bentley signed a two-year contract extension in October 2013,[9] and two further extensions in August 2015 and October 2017.[10] Over this period, Morecambe retained their League status with 18th, 11th, 21st, 18th, 22nd and 18th finishing positions.

2019–present: A League One spell, financial problems[edit]

Bentley left the club in October 2019 to become the AFC Fylde manager, having spent 16 months as the then longest serving manager in the top four tiers of English football.[11] In November 2019, Morecambe appointed Derek Adams as manager on a two-and-a-half year contract.[12] The remainder of the season, shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic, saw the Shrimps finish 22nd after 37 games played, again avoiding relegation.

The 2020–21 season proved to be a banner year. The club faced two Premier League sides in various cup competitions, falling to Newcastle United[13] in the third round of the EFL Cup and to Chelsea in the third round of the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge;[14] the latter equalled their furthest run in the FA Cup since the early 2000s. In the league, the club qualified in fourth place for the League Two play-offs with 78 points, missing automatic promotion by one point. Following a 3–2 aggregate win over Tranmere Rovers in the semi-final,[15] the club reached a first League play-off final. In the 2021 League Two play-off final against Newport County at Wembley Stadium on 31 May 2021, Morecambe won 1–0, after Carlos Mendes Gomes converted a penalty in the 107th minute. This earned the Shrimps promotion to League One, the third tier of English football, for the first time in their history.[16] Adams resigned three days later "to pursue an opportunity elsewhere"[17] as manager of Bradford City.[18]

In June 2021, the club announced that former Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson would be manager for the club's first season in League One.[19] Their first game was a 2–2 draw at Ipswich Town.[20] The club once again reached the FA Cup third round, and faced another London-based Premier League side, Tottenham Hotspur. After scoring the first goal, Morecambe were undone in the last 15 minutes by goals from Harry Kane, Lucas Moura and Harry Winks to lose 3–1 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.[21] After 32 games, Robinson left to take over at Scottish club St Mirren.[22] Goalkeeping coach Barry Roche served a game as caretaker manager before Adams returned as manager on a deal to June 2023.[23] Despite the club flirting with relegation, Adams led them out of the drop zone to finish 19th and retain League One status for a second season.[24]

In October 2022, Adams voiced worries about the future of the club. Its owners, Bond Group Investments, had put the club up for sale in September 2022, with directors Jason Whittingham and Colin Goldring (both associated with the collapse of Worcester Warriors rugby union club) stepping down from the Shrimps' board.[25] In March 2023, players' wages were paid late, with funds invested by Sarbjot Johal, who was aiming to take over the club, ultimately bridging the gap.[26] However, uncertainty about the club's ownership continued into June 2023; Johal was also involved in negotiations to buy Wigan Athletic and had not provided proof of sufficient funding.[27]

In May 2023, Morecambe were relegated to League Two after a defeat by Exeter City.[28] The Shrimps then confirmed 14 players would be leaving upon the expiry of their contracts, with no players offered new deals.[29] In August 2023, Morecambe received a suspended three-point deduction for paying its players late in March.[30] In December 2023, Morecambe and owner Jason Whittingham were charged by the EFL for failing to adhere to an agreed process regarding players' wages,[31] and in April 2024, the three-point deduction was activated and Whittingham was fined £10,000.[32] The club finished the 2023–24 season in 15th place.[33] On 30 April 2024, after succeeding Derek Adams as manager in November 2023, Ged Brannan left the financially troubled club to join League Two rivals Accrington Stanley.[34] Manager-less, with chief executive Ben Sadler joining Walsall, and with only one player (striker Charlie Brown) under contract for next season due to an ongoing transfer embargo, the club was described as "a circus" by its chairman Rod Taylor on 8 May 2024.[35] On 20 May 2024, Morecambe announced the departure of 16 players at the end of the season, leaving the club with a five-strong first-team squad.[36] The following day, club directors called on Whittingham to sell the club to avoid a 'catastrophic outcome'.[37][38]

Kit and main sponsors[edit]

Table of kit suppliers and shirt sponsors appear below:[39]

Period Kit Manufacturer Shirt Sponsor
1920–74
1974–78 Umbro
1978–79 Litesome
1979–80 Holmark
1981–82 Adidas Mitchells
1983–84 Umbro John Wilding
1984–85 MG Markets
1985–86 Carlton Caterers
1986–87 Umbro
1987–88
1988–91 Umbro Cvg
1992–93 Mitchells
1993–94 Asics Carleton Inn
1994–95 Printing Machinery
1995–96 Pony International Ais Products
1996–97 Lakesway
1997–98 Oasis
1998–99 Ambulink UK
1999–2000 Umbro Redman & Jones
2000–02 Business Serve PLC
2002–04 Thurnham Leisure Group
2004–07 Wright & Lord Solicitors
2007–08 Jiang Print
2008–09 Puma SE Mopay.co.uk
2009–12 Bench.
2012–13 Fila Carbrini
2013–14 Blacks Leisure Group
2014–15 Carbrini
2015–16 Carbrini JD Sports
2016–17 Omega Holidays
2017–18 Macron Purple Property Group
2018–19 Bizloans4u
2019–21 Annapurna Recruitment[40][41]
2021–23 Joma[42] Mazuma[43]
2023–24 Omnia[44]

Mascot[edit]

The Shrimps mascot is Christie the cat.[45] The cat was named after Morecambe's old Stadium, Christie Park.

Rivalries[edit]

Starting in the early 1990s, Morecambe have been engaged in a bitter rivalry with Lancashire neighbours Accrington Stanley. The Shrimps failed to beat Accrington in 16 attempts after their 2007 promotion to the Football League before Aaron Wildig's goal gave them a 1–0 win over their rivals in August 2015. Morecambe's other local rivals include Barrow, Lancaster City, Fleetwood Town, Kendal Town and Southport.

Players[edit]

Current squad[edit]

As of 1 February 2024[46]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK England ENG Stuart Moore
2 DF Scotland SCO Donald Love (captain)
3 DF Democratic Republic of the Congo COD David Tutonda
4 DF Grenada GRN Jacob Bedeau
5 DF England ENG Farrend Rawson
6 MF Cameroon CMR Yann Songo'o
7 MF England ENG Brandon Barker
8 MF England ENG Joe Adams (on loan from Wigan Athletic)
9 FW England ENG Gerard Garner (on loan from Barrow)
10 MF Northern Ireland NIR JJ McKiernan
11 FW Sweden SWE Julian Larsson (on loan from Nottingham Forest)
12 DF England ENG Joel Senior
14 FW England ENG Jordan Slew
15 DF England ENG Chris Stokes
16 MF England ENG Jacob Davenport
17 MF Scotland SCO Cammy Smith
No. Pos. Nation Player
18 MF England ENG Jake Taylor
19 MF Wales WAL Gwion Edwards
20 FW England ENG Charlie Brown
21 GK England ENG Adam Smith
22 DF Grenada GRN Kayden Harrack
23 DF England ENG Max Melbourne
24 MF England ENG Cameron Rooney
25 MF England ENG Lennon Dobson
26 GK England ENG George Pedley
27 MF England ENG Nathan Mercer
28 DF England ENG Oscar Threlkeld
30 GK Scotland SCO Archie Mair (on loan from Norwich City)
33 FW England ENG Saul Fox-Akande
38 MF Malawi MWI Nelson Khumbeni (on loan from Bolton)
39 FW England ENG Jordy Hiwula
40 FW England ENG Adam Fairclough

Club officials[edit]

Board

As of 10 May 2024[47]
  • Co-chairmen: Graham Howse and Rod Taylor
  • Directors: Mick Horton, Charlie Appleyard, James Wakefield
  • CEO: Vacant

Coaching staff

As of 9 February 2024[48][47]
  • Manager: Vacant
  • First Team and Senior Professional Development Coach: David Fitzgerald
  • Goalkeeper coach: Barry Roche
  • First team analyst: Charlie Ennis
  • Head of Medical and Performance: Oliver Howse
  • Kit man: Les Dewhirst
  • Academy manager: Stewart Drummond
  • Head of academy coaching: Neil Wainwright
  • Under 18s manager: Ollie Ras

Managerial history[edit]

Since 1947 to present

Dates Name Notes Ref
1947–48 Scotland Jimmy Milne
1955–56 England Albert Dainty
1956–61 England Ken Horton
1961–64 Scotland Joe Dunn
1964–65 England Geoff Twentyman
1965–69 England Ken Waterhouse
1969–70 England Ronnie Clayton
1970 Gerry Irving and Ronnie Mitchell
1970–72 England Ken Waterhouse
1972–75 Dave Roberts Player manager. Won FA Trophy at Wembley in 1974
1976–77 Johnny Johnson
1977–78 Tommy Ferber
1978–79 Mick Hogarth
1979–81 Don Cubbage
1981 Scotland Jim Thomson
1981–84 Les Rigby
1984–85 Sean Gallagher
1985–88 Joe Wojciechowicz
1988–89 England Billy Wright
1989–93 England Bryan Griffiths
1994 Wales Leighton James
1994–2005 Northern Ireland Jim Harvey Won promotion to the Conference from the Northern Premier League in 1995
2005–11[n 1] Northern Ireland Sammy McIlroy Won promotion to the Football League from the Conference in 2007 [49]
2011–19 England Jim Bentley [49]
2019 England Kevin Ellison & Republic of Ireland Barry Roche Joint caretaker player managers (two matches) [49]
2019–21 Scotland Derek Adams Won promotion to League One from League Two in 2021 [49]
2021–22 Northern Ireland Stephen Robinson [49]
2022 Republic of Ireland Barry Roche Caretaker player manager (one match) [49]
2022–23 Scotland Derek Adams Relegated from League One to League Two in 2023 [49]
2023–24 England Ged Brannan [49]

Honours[edit]

Source:[50][additional citation(s) needed]

League

Cup

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Caretaker manager for his first six months.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Who's Who – Morecambe". morecambefc.com. Retrieved 11 April 2024.
  2. ^ The Lancashire Cup – A Complete Record 1879–80 to 2006–07, by Gordon Small. A SoccerData Publication on behalf of the Lancashire Football Association. 2007. ISBN 978-1-905891-04-7.
  3. ^ "Exeter 1–2 Morecambe". BBC Sport. 20 May 2007. Retrieved 20 May 2007.
  4. ^ "New Stadium Planned". Morecambe FC. 17 July 2007. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 17 July 2007.
  5. ^ "Morecambe 0–0 Barnet". BBC Sport. 11 August 2007. Retrieved 14 August 2007.
  6. ^ "Preston 1–2 Morecambe". BBC Sport. 14 August 2007. Retrieved 14 August 2007.
  7. ^ "Manager Sammy McIlroy leaves Morecambe". BBC Sport. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  8. ^ "Morecambe appoint Jim Bentley as boss". BBC Sport. 13 May 2011. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  9. ^ "New Shrimps Deal For Jim Bentley". League Clubs. 10 October 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  10. ^ "Jim Bentley: Morecambe manager signs new contract until 2020". BBC Sport. 13 October 2017. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  11. ^ "Paul Tisdale leaves Exeter City after 12 years in charge of Devon club". 1 June 2018. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  12. ^ "Derk Adams named as new manager". www.morecambefc.com. 7 November 2019. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  13. ^ "Morecambe 0–7 Newcastle United". BBC Sport. 23 September 2020. Retrieved 23 September 2022.
  14. ^ "Chelsea 4–0 Morecambe". BBC Sport. 10 January 2021. Retrieved 23 September 2022.
  15. ^ "Morecambe 1–1 Tranmere Rovers". BBC Sport. 23 May 2021. Retrieved 23 September 2022.
  16. ^ Michael Pearlman (31 May 2021). "Morecambe 1–0 Newport County". BBC Sport. Retrieved 23 September 2022.
  17. ^ "Club Statement". 3 June 2021. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
  18. ^ "Adams unveiled as new Bantams boss". Bradford City AFC. 4 June 2021. Retrieved 23 September 2022.
  19. ^ "Stephen Robinson Announced as New Shrimps Boss". 7 June 2021. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  20. ^ "Report: Ipswich Town 2–2 Shrimps". 7 August 2021. Retrieved 5 May 2022.
  21. ^ "Tottenham Hotspur 3–1 Morecambe". BBC Sport. 9 January 2022. Retrieved 23 September 2022.
  22. ^ "Stephen Robinson leaves for St. Mirren". 22 February 2022. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  23. ^ "Derek Adams returns". 24 February 2022. Retrieved 24 February 2022.
  24. ^ "Report: Shrimps 0–1 Sunderland AFC". 30 April 2022. Retrieved 1 May 2022.
  25. ^ "Morecambe boss Derek Adams 'worried' about the future of the club amid possible sale". BBC Sport. 6 October 2022. Retrieved 7 October 2022.
  26. ^ "Morecambe confirm March wages have been paid after delay". BBC Sport. 31 March 2023. Retrieved 3 April 2023.
  27. ^ "Sarbjot Johal: Wigan Athletic bid is from prospective Morecambe buyer". BBC Sport. 6 June 2023. Retrieved 7 June 2023.
  28. ^ "Exeter City 3–2 Morecambe". BBC Sport. 7 May 2023. Retrieved 7 May 2023.
  29. ^ "Morecambe: Cole Stockton among 14 departures from relegated Shrimps". BBC Sport. 8 May 2023. Retrieved 23 June 2023.
  30. ^ "Morecambe get suspended three-point deduction for paying players late". BBC Sport. 21 August 2023. Retrieved 21 August 2023.
  31. ^ "Morecambe and owner Jason Whittingham charged by EFL over deposit failure". BBC Sport. 18 December 2023. Retrieved 19 December 2023.
  32. ^ "Morecambe: League Two side deducted three points by EFL". BBC Sport. 11 April 2024. Retrieved 29 April 2024.
  33. ^ "Morecambe players and staff paid delayed wages". BBC Sport. 29 April 2024. Retrieved 29 April 2024.
  34. ^ "Morecambe boss Brannan leaves for Accrington role". BBC Sport. 30 April 2024. Retrieved 1 May 2024.
  35. ^ "'Circus' around Morecambe must end - Taylor". BBC Sport. 8 May 2024. Retrieved 15 May 2024.
  36. ^ "Troubled Morecambe undertake mass squad clearout". BBC Sport. BBC-20May2024. Retrieved 20 May 2024. {{cite news}}: Check date values in: |date= (help)
  37. ^ "Directors call for Morecambe owners to sell up". BBC Sport. 21 May 2024. Retrieved 21 May 2024.
  38. ^ Hunter, Andy (21 May 2024). "Morecambe directors warn of 'catastrophic outcome' if club not sold". Guardian. Retrieved 21 May 2024.
  39. ^ "Morecambe". Historical Football Kits. Retrieved 23 September 2022.
  40. ^ "Record kit deal announced". Morecambe F.C. 21 May 2019.
  41. ^ "Centenary Kit & Crest Revealed".
  42. ^ "Record kit deal announced". Morecambe F.C. 14 June 2021.
  43. ^ "Mazuma announced as front of shirt sponsor". Morecambe F.C. 18 June 2021.
  44. ^ "Omnia become new front of shirt sponsor". Morecambe F.C. 8 July 2023.
  45. ^ "Morecambe | You can now follow Christie the Cat on Facebook". Morecambefc.com. Archived from the original on 5 September 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  46. ^ "First Team – Morecambe". morecambefc.com. Morecambe F.C. Retrieved 16 August 2019.
  47. ^ a b "Who's Who". Morecambe FC. Retrieved 8 January 2024.
  48. ^ "Backroom staff". Morecambe FC. Retrieved 23 September 2022.
  49. ^ a b c d e f g h "Morecambe Manager History". Soccerbase. Retrieved 8 January 2024.
  50. ^ "Morecambe". Football Club History Database. Retrieved 8 January 2024.

External links[edit]

  • Morecambe at the Football Club History Database