Fans quiz directors at Morecambe FC Q&A

Jim Bentley and Ken McKenna.
Jim Bentley and Ken McKenna.

Morecambe FC supporters have greeted news of the management team’s new extended contracts with hearty applause.

The announcement that manager Jim Bentley and assistant Ken McKenna have committed themselves to the Shrimps until at least 2020 was a popular one with supporters at a Globe Arena Fans Forum.

Peter McGuigan.

Peter McGuigan.

Fans also got the chance to quiz club directors about matters both on and off the pitch.

Chairman Peter McGuigan hosted Thursday night’s Q&A and was joined by Mr Bentley, directors Rod Taylor, Graham Howse, David Brockbank and Mike Hinchcliffe, new commercial manager Adam Wilde, and Graham Burnard who acts for beneficial owner Abdulrahman Al-Hashemi.

Mr Taylor said Bentley and McKenna had turned down other job offers over the past 12 months because they want to stay at Morecambe.

Supporter Leslie Morgan proposed a vote of thanks for Mr Bentley and Mr Al-Hashemi, the Qatari businessman who has financed the club through a cash flow crisis and has signed a two-year agreement with the Football League to underwrite any losses made by the Shrimps until the end of the 2018/19 season.

Mr McGuigan was asked if there had been any further contact with Diego Lemos, the Brazilian football agent whose short tenure in charge at Morecambe FC caused huge controversy last season and ended up with Lemos battling Mr Burnard for ownership of the club in the courts.

“There is no way Lemos will ever come back to this country, let alone this club,” said Mr McGuigan.

Lemos was removed as a director of the club at a shareholders annual general meeting immediately before the fans forum.

Morecambe FC remains up for sale and when asked if there had been any further interest from buyers, Mr Burnard said: “We have talked to a few investors and purchasers.

“It needs somebody with local knowledge as owner, who will tend to the club and enjoy it. This club doesn’t need some far away owner.”

Rod Taylor admitted the Globe Arena had been “the Glum Arena” for the past few years – which included last season’s off-field crisis and poor results at the start of this season which have left the Shrimps near the bottom of League Two.

“We need to work hard to turn that around,” he said.

Mr Taylor also praised club staff for their professionalism.

He also criticised Morecambe FC’s past commercial strategy, saying it had been “flawed for a few years now” but said that under Adam Wilde “things are getting sorted out”.

Mr Wilde said there has been “a lot of negativity out there” in the community after last season’s crisis but the club is now working hard to rebuild relationships with local businesses.

Mr Taylor said a new stadium scoreboard was “a priority”. The club can’t access the current one because the company which runs the community football pitches and security building remains in administration.

There were also light-hearted moments from Jim Bentley, who when asked which players he would like to sign said: “I wanted Neymar but didn’t have the £190m!” and when asked which club he’d prefer to draw in the FA Cup he replied, joking about the travel distance, “Dover away!”