Morecambe boss Bentley’s due diligence before snapping up Old

Steve Old is welcomed to the Globe Arena by Jim Bentley.
Steve Old is welcomed to the Globe Arena by Jim Bentley.

Morecambe boss Jim Bentley believes hard work behind the scenes will pay off with the signing of defender Steve Old.

The 31-year-old Kiwi centre-half signed last Friday as Bentley seeks to reinforce his backline ahead of the new season.

New signing Steve Old had to watch Morecambe's defeat to Rochdale from the stands on Saturday.

New signing Steve Old had to watch Morecambe's defeat to Rochdale from the stands on Saturday.

While Old’s footballing CV makes him appear well travelled after spells in half-a-dozen countries, Bentley outlined the work that had gone into making him a Morecambe player.

“We’ve had to cast our net far and wide and there’s no further than New Zealand!” he said.

“He’s been playing in Sweden and China but you have to do your due diligence and homework on any new signing.

“Steve is a good character; he’s athletic and strong so I haven’t just signed him for the sake of it.

“I’ve watched about five or six hours of him, I’ve watched other clips, I’ve spoken to people who have played in Sweden - just to do some research - and he ticks a lot of boxes.”

Old’s signing is subject to international clearance, as well as the need to get him up to speed with life at the Globe Arena.

He didn’t feature against Rochdale on Saturday but, as the manager admitted, that was as much down to timing as anything else.

“Steve’s last game was on June 20 and his wife gave birth recently so he hasn’t done anything for the last couple of weeks,” Bentley said.

“He was decent enough in training so it’s going to be a process of getting enough training into him as well as us getting to know him and him getting to know us.

“After a good week’s training then who knows where he will be but it’s important we get him right.”

Old’s arrival raised more than the odd eyebrow given it was a signing which appeared virtually out of nowhere.

A varied career has seen the 17-cap New Zealand international play in his homeland, the Chinese Super League and for Kilmarnock in the Scottish Premier League.

He has also had spells with Basingstoke Town and Sutton United.

In comparison to many other managers, Bentley is not blessed with the largest playing budget so any incoming players have to be checked and double checked.

As the manager acknowledged, it isn’t a process with a 100 per cent success rate at any level, let alone League Two.

“Every signing is a gamble and you aren’t going to get every one right,” Bentley said.

“Tom Barkhuizen, for example, was on loan for a month and people probably questioned why I brought him back but that’s a signing that’s been proven right.

“Others have come in and it hasn’t gone as planned but that’s part and parcel of it.

“We have to do as much homework and stuff like that as we can to make sure we get the right players in.”