Morecambe FC centenary: How it all began....

The Shrimps celebrate their 100th anniversary on Thursday with the club having become a fixture in the EFL.

Tuesday, 5th May 2020, 6:00 am
Morecambe FC's team of 1920-21

Here, Morecambe FC historian LAWRENCE BLAND outlines the club’s birth...

The White Lund Recreation Football Club, from the munitions factory which exploded in 1917, was still in business, and were playing the 1919-20 season on Woodhill Lane’s cricket ground.

On April 1, 1920, they organised a meeting at the West View Hotel to restart the cricket – Morecambe Cricket Club had closed down after war broke out in 1914 – and to form a strong Morecambe Football Club from Poulton Athletic, Wards and White Lund football clubs.

They formed the Morecambe Cricket, Tennis & Athletic Club with a football section to compete ‘in the chief leagues’.

Morecambe Football Club was formally reformed at a meeting on May 7, 1920 at the West View Hotel, which decided to apply to enter a team in the Lancashire Combination, which was accepted, and the Cricket Club’s ground at Woodhill Lane was used for the first season, 1920-21.

The opening match on August 28, with a gate of 3,000, saw a 4-1 home defeat by Fleetwood, with P Lewis scoring Morecambe’s goal.

The first team was Gaskell, Peel, Anderson, O’Brien, Cooper, Whittaker, Stevenson, Smith, Lewis, Thompson and Holgate.

In the next match, on Monday, August 30, a 4-0 defeat at Barrow, saw the debut of Jackie Farnworth, a right-half, who was an almost ever-present for Morecambe for nine full seasons, making a pre-war record of 368 appearances.

Born in Preston in 1900, Farnworth played for St Ignatius and Preston Schoolboys.

He served from 1916 in the Kings Own and, later, the Machine Gun Corp in World War One and, after demob, he played for St Ignatius in 1919-20 before joining Morecambe in August 1920.

Playing as a half-back, he was a regular for the next nine seasons in the club’s great team of the 1920s.

They were Combination champions in 1924-25, posted Lancashire Junior Cup wins in 1925-26 and 1926-27, as well as adding the Combination Cup in 1926-27.

He moved to Rossendale United in October 1929, spending three years there before joining Morecambe Victoria.

Despite his arrival, the first five games were lost before the first point came in a 2-2 draw at Darwen on September 13.

After an early FA Cup exit, losing 2-0 at home to Breightmet United of the West Lancashire League, Morecambe’s first win was away to Lancaster Town, 1-0 on October 2.

Home form was terrible, with seven consecutive defeats before the first home point on New Year’s Day, a 2-2 draw with Dick, Kerr’s.

This was followed on January 22 by the first home win, 6-3 over Great Harwood.

There were many difficulties in that first season with 56 players being called upon but form improved in the latter half of the season, with good results lifting the side up into 13th position.