Morecambe Football Club is a professional football club in Morecambe, Lancashire, England. The team competes in League One, the third tier of the English football league system. Nicknamed the "Shrimps" due to the coastal town's local speciality food, the club have played home games at the Globe Arena since moving from their original home at Christie Park in 2010. The club contests rivalries with nearby Accrington Stanley, as well as other Lancashire clubs.
|Full name||Morecambe Football Club|
|Founded||7 May 1920|
|Capacity||6,476 (2,247 seated)|
|Owner||Bond Group Investments Limited (80% maj. shareholder)|
|Co-chairmen||Graham Howse & Rod Taylor|
|League||EFL League One|
|2020–21||EFL League Two, 4th of 24 (promoted via play-offs)|
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. Since that time, they only 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; however, the latter season saw them book a place in the League Two play-off final and their first-ever promotion to League One. They, along with AFC Wimbledon, are the only teams in the top four levels of the English game never to have been relegated in their entire history.
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1920–2005: Early historyEdit
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; 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 cup success over the next few years filled the club with optimism.
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, giving the club the opportunity to confidently look forward as one of the more progressive Conference clubs.
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. Runners-up spot was claimed on one occasion and the play-offs places were narrowly missed twice. Also during this time, the club also 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 the 2005–06 season, Morecambe reached the play-offs, but were beaten 4–3 on aggregate by Hereford United, after a 1–1 draw in the first leg at Christie Park.
2005–2011: Sammy McIlroyEdit
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 with Mark Lillis as his assistant. This caused a feud between long-time friends Harvey and McIlroy which has not been reconciled to this day.
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 Playoff 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.
On 17 July 2007, Morecambe announced plans to move to a new stadium in time for the start of the 2009–10 season. Work did not commence on the proposed site until spring 2009, with an anticipated completion date of summer 2010.
Morecambe played their first game in the Football League against Barnet at Christie Park in August 2007, in which they played out a 0–0 draw to secure their first ever Football League point. On 14 August 2007, Morecambe played their first fixture in the League Cup and recorded a 2–1 win against near neighbours Preston North End at Deepdale with Jim Bentley and David Artell scoring for Morecambe. The Shrimps compounded this result with another upset win over a Championship side, a 3–1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on 28 August to advance into the third round of the League Cup, in which they faced a third consecutive Championship side, Sheffield United. However, Morecambe lost 5 goals to 0. They finished their first season in League Two in 11th place with 60 points. They also finished the 2008–09 season in 11th, this time with 63 points.
2009–10 was Morecambe's last season at Christie Park. They finished the season in fourth place, qualifying for the playoffs, where they 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 First Round. Morecambe secured a 2–0 win, with Andy Fleming scoring the first two goals at the stadium. This earned Morecambe a Lancashire Derby in the second round against another Championship side, Burnley, where they lost 3–1. On 9 May 2011, Morecambe manager Sammy McIlroy left the club by mutual consent after five years at the helm. McIlroy, who took over as manager from Jim Harvey, had left the club alongside assistant Mark Lillis. Morecambe chairman Peter McGuigan praised the pair for their efforts since taking over, describing McIlroy as the "best manager in his reign at the club."
2011–2019: Jim BentleyEdit
On 13 May 2011, Bentley was appointed manager on a two-year contract, signing a two-year deal as player-manager. His first game as a professional manager was a 1–0 defeat at home to Barnet. The Shrimps then went on a run of four wins in all competitions, including a 2–0 victory over Barnsley in the League Cup. After his first nine games in charge, Morecambe sat top of the league after winning six, drawing two and losing just once. Morecambe's defence at this time was crucial, conceding just five goals in nine games. However, this didn't last, as a poor end to the season led to Morecambe finishing 15th in League Two, still an improvement on the previous season. Jim Bentley's second season began with a 3–0 win over Exeter City. However, inconsistent performances once again resulted in them slipping into mid-table. During the 2016–17 season, Bentley received a two-match touchline ban and was fined £1,000, though Morecambe fans paid the fine.
2019–2021: Derek AdamsEdit
Bentley left the club in October 2019 to take the manager's role at AFC Fylde, having spent 16 months as the longest serving manager in the top four tiers of English football. On 7 November 2019, Morecambe appointed Derek Adams as manager, signing him to a two-and-a-half year contract. The remainder of the season, shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic, saw the Shrimps finish 22nd after 37 games played, still enough to avoid relegation.
The 2020–21 season proved to be a banner year. Among other events, the season saw the club face two Premier League sides in various cup competitions, falling to Newcastle United F.C. in the third round of the EFL Cup and to Chelsea F.C. in the third round of the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge; the latter equaled their furthest run in the FA Cup since the early 2000s. The club also saw success in the league, qualifying for the League Two playoff with 78 points, good enough for fourth in the league; they missed out on automatic promotion by a single point. Following a 3–2 aggregate win over Tranmere Rovers in the semifinal, the club confirmed a spot in the League Two play-off final for the first time in their history, where they faced Newport County. On 31 May 2021, Morecambe beat Newport 1–0 in the final at Wembley Stadium after Carlos Mendes Gomes converted a penalty in the 107th minute, earning the team promotion to League One, the third tier of English football, for the first time in their history.
Adams resigned three days later, with the club stating that he had left "to pursue an opportunity elsewhere".
2021-: Stephen RobinsonEdit
Kit and main sponsorsEdit
|Period||Kit Manufacturer||Shirt Sponsor|
|1995–96||Pony International||Ais Products|
|1999–2000||Umbro||Redman & Jones|
|2000–02||Business Serve PLC|
|2002–04||Thurnham Leisure Group|
|2004–07||Wright & Lord Solicitors|
|2013–14||Blacks Leisure Group|
|2017–18||Macron||Purple Property Group|
The Shrimps mascot is Christie the cat. The cat was named after Morecambe's old Stadium, Christie Park. He once had an infamous friendly altercation with Dagenham & Redbridge goalkeeper Tony Roberts for which Christie was sent off, even though the dispute had been started by Roberts.
Christie is now a regular at The Globe Arena, having reappeared after being stolen following the last game at Christie Park. A member of the public came into the Globe and offered to sell Christie to the club, but a nice policeman explained to the member of the public that he would be going home empty handed, having been congratulated for his community spirit.
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.
- As of 10 September 2021
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
|Assistant Manager||John McMahon|
|First-Team Coach||Diarmuid O'Carroll|
|Goalkeeper Coach||Barry Roche|
|Strength and Conditioning Coach||Chris Squirrell|
|Academy Manager||Stewart Drummond|
|Head of Academy Coaching||Neil Wainwright|
Since 1947 to present.
|1970||Gerry Irving and Ronnie Mitchell|
|1972–1975||Dave Roberts||Player manager. Won FA Trophy at Wembley in 1974|
|1994–2005||Jim Harvey||Won promotion to the Conference from the Northern Premier League in 1995|
|2005–2011[n 1]||Sammy McIlroy||Won promotion to the Football League from the Conference in 2007|
|2019||Kevin Ellison & Barry Roche||Joint caretaker player managers (one match)|
|2019–2021||Derek Adams||Won promotion to League One from League Two in 2021|
Honours and achievementsEdit
- Play-off winners: 2021
- Play-off winners: 2007
- Winners: 1973–74
- Winners: 1998
- Runners-up (promoted): 1994–95
- Winners (5): 1924–25, 1961–62, 1962–63, 1966–67, 1967–68
- Winners: 1992
- Winners: 1968
- Winners (11): 1926, 1927, 1962, 1963, 1969, 1986, 1987, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2004
Lancashire Combination Cup
- Winners (5): 1927, 1946, 1965, 1967, 1968
- Caretaker manager for his first six months.
- "Rod Taylor & Graham Howse announced as Co-Chairmen". Morecambe F.C. 10 November 2018. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
- "FIVE THINGS: Morecambe FC". Oldham Athletic FC. Oldham Athletic FC. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
- 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.
- "Exeter 1–2 Morecambe". BBC Sport. 20 May 2007. Retrieved 20 May 2007.
- "New Stadium Planned". Morecambe FC. 17 July 2007. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 17 July 2007.
- "Morecambe 0–0 Barnet". BBC Sport. 11 August 2007. Retrieved 14 August 2007.
- "Preston 1–2 Morecambe". BBC Sport. 14 August 2007. Retrieved 14 August 2007.
- "Manager Sammy McIlroy leaves Morecambe". BBC Sport. 9 May 2011. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
- "Morecambe appoint Jim Bentley as boss". BBC Sport. 13 May 2011. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
- Fisher, Ben (8 January 2017). "Morecambe supporters pay manager Jim Bentley's £1,000 FA fine". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
- "Paul Tisdale leaves Exeter City after 12 years in charge of Devon club". 1 June 2018. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
- "DEREK ADAMS NAMED AS NEW SHRIMPS MANAGER". www.morecambefc.com. 7 November 2019. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
- "CLUB STATEMENT". 3 June 2021. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
- "Stephen Robinson Announced as New Shrimps Boss". 7 June 2021. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
- "Record kit deal announced". Morecambe F.C. 21 May 2019.
- "Centenary Kit & Crest Revealed".
- "Record kit deal announced". Morecambe F.C. 14 June 2021.
- "Mazuma announced as front of shirt sponsor". Morecambe F.C. 18 June 2021.
- "Morecambe | You can now follow Christie the Cat on Facebook". Morecambefc.com. Archived from the original on 5 September 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
- "First Team – Morecambe". morecambefc.com. Morecambe F.C. Retrieved 16 August 2019.