Bentley says Accrington are example to rest

Morecambe manager Jim Bentley. Picture: B&O PRESS PHOTO
Morecambe manager Jim Bentley. Picture: B&O PRESS PHOTO

Morecambe boss Jim Bentley believes the club’s owners should use last season’s League Two champions as a template for success.

While the Shrimps were battling for survival at the wrong end of the table, Accrington Stanley were on their way to winning the title.

After years in the shadows of English football, they get set to welcome clubs including Sunderland to the Wham Stadium next season.

Stanley have been rejuvenated on and off the pitch following Andy Holt’s arrival as club owner and Bentley hopes the Shrimps’ new majority shareholders, Bond Group Investments Ltd, can have a similar impact.

“Accrington Stanley have been used as an example as someone who has struggled against relegation,” he said.

“However, they have a new owner who has invested in the team, the club, the infrastructure and who has developed the ground.

“I’ve had seven years at Morecambe and haven’t paid a transfer fee but you’ve got clubs in Conference North making five or six-figure signings every year.

“We’re at a stage where we’ve reached rock bottom and – I’m not making excuses here – we were quite a long way away last year with the lowest budget.

“Not only have we struggled with facilities but we’ve had the transfer embargoes and off the field stuff with the ownership and boardroom turmoil, so it’s been really difficult.

“You look at Hartlepool, Leyton Orient and Tranmere who had the same thing and they ended up going out of the division.”

In contrast, Morecambe are gearing up for a 12th season in League Two after staying up on the final day of last season.

The hope now is that, after all of the club’s issues on and off the pitch in recent seasons, there is a brighter future ahead for all at the Globe Arena.

“Other clubs have gone down like Macclesfield, Dagenham and Redbridge and Barnet but we’ve done really well to stay as a Football League club,” Bentley said.

“I’m proud of that because it takes a lot of hard work and dedication even though times have been tough.

“We’ve stuck together in the face of adversity and we’ve come through it.”

Morecambe will also find out their fixture list for the upcoming season on Thursday.

The EFL releases the fixtures for the 2018/19 season at 9am on Thursday with the Shrimps facing Macclesfield Town and Tranmere Rovers, both of whom won promotion last season.

Coming down into League Two are Oldham Athletic, Northampton Town, MK Dons and Bury.