‘Phoenix Nights star’ bids to take over Morecambe FC

The cast of Phoenix Nights.
The cast of Phoenix Nights.

A buyer has already come forward for Morecambe Football Club just hours after the Shrimps were officially put up for sale.

But after The Visitor did some digging, we realised the bidder wasn’t being entirely serious.

Morecambe manager Jim Bentley , chairman Peter McGuigan and head of youth Stewart Drummond.

Morecambe manager Jim Bentley , chairman Peter McGuigan and head of youth Stewart Drummond.

Shortly after chairman Peter McGuigan announced his plan to sell the League Two club on Tuesday morning, our sports desk received an email from a Frank ‘Hoss’ Cartwright.

Mr Cartwright told us he wanted to buy Morecambe FC and had already arranged a “sit down meeting” with Mr McGuigan “to talk financial figures and get the ball rolling”.

“I run a family business of independent hotel chains all over the country with a few being in Blackpool hence why my ears have been sprung when the club has been for sale,” he wrote.

“I would love to maybe get an article in to the local press to help with any takeover bids.”

Jim Bowen, who played Frank 'Hoss' Cartwright in Phoenix Nights, during his stint as president of Morecambe FC.

Jim Bowen, who played Frank 'Hoss' Cartwright in Phoenix Nights, during his stint as president of Morecambe FC.

Sensing something wasn’t quite right, we wrote back to ‘Mr Cartwright’ at his personal Outlook address, pressing him further on his plans for the future of the Shrimps.

He replied saying they included “a family fun day with bouncy castle, provided by Eric”.

“Also the first thing i would do is get rid of the brewery....balls to em you don’t need one,” he wrote.

‘Mr Cartwright’ also told us that his hotel in Blackpool “knocked spots off the Banana Grove and Den Perry, big fat pig”.

This confirmed our suspicions.

We’d been sent a spoof email from somebody pretending to be a character from the TV comedy series Phoenix Nights.

In the sitcom, Frank ‘Hoss’ Cartwright was the owner of Le Ponderosa hotel in Blackpool and an old friend of Brian Potter (played by Peter Kay), manager of fictional working men’s club the Phoenix Club.

Ironically the character of Cartwright was played by comedian Jim Bowen, who was once honorary president of Morecambe FC. Mr Bowen quit the role in 2003 after he was upset by comments from Shrimps fans on an internet forum.

The Banana Grove was a rival of the Phoenix Club, run by Potter’s arch-nemesis Den Perry (played by Ted Robbins). Kay’s character also fell out with the brewery and was forced to sell bottled beer.

And in one memorable episode, Brian is supplied with a bouncy castle shaped like an erect penis by a character called Dodgy Eric!

So don’t worry Shrimps fans. As far as we are aware, there is no actual meeting planned between Mr Cartwright and Mr McGuigan to “talk financial figures”.

But thank you anyway to the sender of the email. You made our day!