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Morecambe F.C.
Morecambe FC.png
Full name Morecambe Football Club
Nickname(s) The Shrimps, The Erics
Founded 1920
Ground Christie Park
Morecambe
(Capacity: 6,400 (1,200 seated))
Chairman Peter McGuigan
Manager Sammy McIlroy
League League Two
2008–09 League Two, 11th
Home colours
Away colours

Morecambe Football Club is an English football club based in Morecambe, Lancashire. It plays its football in Football League Two, the fourth division of English football, having been promoted in 2007 for the first time in their history to The Football League. They play their home games at Christie Park, although the 2009-10 season will be their last season there, known as the 'End of an era' season. In future seasons, they will play their home games at the Globe Arena.

Contents

History

Football in the town dates back to the turn of the 20th century; however it was not until 7 May 1920 that Morecambe FC was formed after a meeting at the local West View Hotel. The club then took its place in the Lancashire Combination League for the 1920-21 season.

Sharing grounds with the Cricket Club during the first season, football proved popular, with crowds in excess of 3,000 for derby fixtures with Lancaster City and Fleetwood Town. Although success on the field was hard to come by, with the club lanquishing near the bottom of the table, at the end of the first season the club moved grounds to Roseberry Park. A few years later after the purchase of the ground by the then-President, Mr. J.B. Christie, the grounds' name was changed to its current title, Christie Park, in his honour. Those early seasons proved difficult and it was not until 1924-25 that the club began to enjoy some success, claiming the league title for the first time; this was later followed by success in the Lancashire Junior Cup (now the ATS Trophy) beating old rivals Chorley after two replays, and amazingly in front of over 30,000 spectators.

Mr. Christie bequeathed the ground to the club in 1927 and also helped incorporate the club into a Limited Company with a then share capital of £1,000. The rest of the 1920s and the whole of the 1930s saw a constant struggle to keep football alive on the North West coast, with poor results on the field and little or no revenue off the field, a near certain recipe for disaster.

The post-war era saw an upturn in the Shrimps fortunes with steady progress throughout the late 1940s and nearly all the 1950s, with a visible marked improvement when in 1956 Ken Horton was appointed player-manager. Whilst success was only just around the corner, the foundations for the future were being built. The Auxiliary Supporters club had been formed and with their help many ground improvements were undertaken, so that the on field success dovetailed neatly with the off field enterprise. The fourteen years from 1960 could justifiably be said to be Morecambe's Golden Era. This included an FA Cup third round appearance in 1961-62, a 1-0 defeat to Weymouth; a Lancashire Senior Cup Final victory in 1968, a 2-1 win over Burnley[1]; and an FA Trophy success at Wembley in 1974, a 2-1 win over Dartford in the final.

The next 12 years were as barren as any previous period in the club's history, with the Grim Reaper never far from the Christie Park door. Attendances fell from a creditable 2,000 plus to a miserable 200 minus, with a visible decline in the club fortunes during that period.

However, in 1985-86 signs of improvement appeared: the club's league position improved and cup success over the next few years filled the club with optimism.

It took ten years of continual improvement both on and off the field to reach the club's ambition of promotion to the Football Conference after many further improvements, not only to the ground but also regarding the club's structure, giving the club the opportunity to confidently look forward as one of the more progressive Conference clubs.

Since elevation to the Conference in season 1995-96, the Shrimps have achieved status as one of the leading teams in the league. In fact, only Woking had a longer unbroken membership of the league at this time. Runners up spot has been claimed on one occasion and the play offs have been narrowly missed on twice. Also during this time the club also equalled its best appearance in the FA Cup in both 2000-01 and 2002-03. On both occasions the club faced Ipswich Town losing 3-0 and 4-0 respectively. Morecambe also defeated a few league clubs in the FA Cup including Cambridge United in 2000-01 and Chesterfield in 2002-03. In the 2005-06 season Morecambe reached the play-offs, but were beaten 4-3 on aggregate by Hereford United, after a 1-1 draw in the first leg at Christie Park.

In November 2005 Jim Harvey suffered a heart attack during a league game at Christie Park against Cambridge United. Quickly the club declared the appointment of a caretaker manager, in the person of Sammy McIlroy, who was a long time friend of Harvey. After McIlroy's initial three-month stint as caretaker expired, he was given the job for the remainder of the season with Harvey expected to return on its closure. However, on his first day back as manager of Morecambe, Harvey was sacked by the club and McIlroy was appointed as permanent manager with Mark Lillis as his assistant. This caused a feud between long-time friends Harvey and McIlroy which has not been reconciled to this day.

Morecambe were promoted to the Football League for the first time in their history after winning the Conference National Playoff Final 2007, beating Exeter City 2-1 at Wembley Stadium on 20 May 2007, in front of over 40,000 fans which followed their semi-final victory over York City.[2]

On 17 July 2007, Morecambe announced plans to move to a new stadium in time for the start of the 2009-2010 season. However, work did not commence on the proposed site until Spring 2009 with an anticipated completion date of Summer 2010. [3]

Morecambe played their first game in The Football League against Barnet at Christie Park in August 2007, in which they played out a 0-0 draw to secure their first ever Football League point.[4] On August 14th Morecambe played their very first fixture in the League Cup and recorded a shock 2-1 win against near neighbours Preston North End at Deepdale with Jim Bentley and David Artell scoring for Morecambe.[5]. The Shrimps compounded this surprising result with another upset win over a Championship side, a 3-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on August 28 to advance into the third round of the League Cup, in which they faced a third consecutive Championship Side, Sheffield United. However Morecambe lost 5 goals to 0. They finished their first season in The Football League in 11th place with 60 points. They also finished the 08/09 season in 11th this time with 63 points.

The Shrimps mascot is surprisingly a cat. Christie the cat was adopted in the middle of the 08/09 season, it was revealed at a Home game Vs Grimsby Town.

Morecambe start their last season at Christie Park on 8 August 2009. This has become known as the “end of an era” season and for many this will be a very emotional season.

Managers

Dates Manager
1947-48 Jimmy Milne
1955-56 Albert Dainty
1956-61 Ken Horton
1961-1964 Joe Dunn
1964-65 Geoff Twentyman
1965-69 Ken Waterhouse
1969-70 Ronnie Clayton
1970 Gerry Irving & Ronnie Mitchell
1970-1972 Ken Waterhouse
1972-75 Dave Roberts
1976-77 Johnny Johnson
1977-78 Tommy Ferber
1978-79 Mick Hogarth
1979-81 Don Cubbage
1981 Jim Thompson
1981-84 Les Rigby
1984-85 Sean Gallagher
1985-1988 Joe Wojciechowicz
1988 Eric Whalley
1988-89 Billy Wright
1989 Lawrie Milligan
1989-93 Bryan Griffiths
1994 Leighton James
1994-2006 Jim Harvey
2006-present Sammy McIlroy

Current squad

As of 4 March 2010.

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Republic of Ireland GK Barry Roche
2 Wales DF Darren Moss
4 England DF David Artell
5 England DF Jim Bentley (captain)
6 England MF Craig Stanley
7 England MF Simon Hackney (on loan from Colchester United)
8 England MF Garry Hunter
9 England FW Wayne Curtis
10 England FW Phil Jevons (on loan from Huddersfield Town)
11 England MF Neil Wainwright
12 England GK Scott Davies
13 England MF Ian Craney (on loan from Huddersfield Town)
14 Scotland MF Manny Panther (on loan from Exeter City)
No. Position Player
15 England MF Fraser McLachlan
16 England MF Stewart Drummond (vice-captain)
17 England FW Aaron Taylor
18 England MF Mark Duffy
19 England DF Laurence Wilson
20 England MF Matty Poole
21 England FW Paul Mullin
22 England DF Andy Parrish
23 Republic of Ireland DF Henry McStay
24 England DF Rory Winters (on loan to Vauxhall Motors)
25 England MF Ben Jackson
28 Scotland DF Will Haining

Notable Former Players

Honours

  • FA Cup
    • 3rd round 1961-62, 2000-01, 2002-03
  • Northern Premier League Presidents Cup
    • Winners: 1991-92
  • Lancashire Combination Cup
    • Winners: 1926-27, 1945-46, 1964-65, 1966-67, 1967-68
    • Runners-Up: 1923-24, 1924-25, 1962-63
  • Lancashire FA Challenge Trophy
    • Winners: 1925-26, 1926-27, 1961-62, 1962-63, 1968-69, 1985-86, 1986-87, 1993-94, 1995-96, 1998-99, 2003-04
    • Finalists: 1950-51, 1987-88, 1989-90, 1994-95, 1997-98

References

  1. ^ The Lancashire Cup - A Complete Record 1879-80 to 2006-07, by Gordon Small. A SoccerData Publication on behalf of the Lancashire Football Association. 2007. ISBN 978-1-905891-04-7. 
  2. ^ "Exeter 1-2 Morecambe". BBC Sport. 2007-05-20. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_conf/6649837.stm. Retrieved 2007-05-20. 
  3. ^ "New Stadium Planned". Morecambe Official Website. 2007-07-17. http://www.morecambefc.com/newsarticle.php?subaction=showfull&id=1184676351&archive=&start_from=&ucat=1&. Retrieved 2007-07-17. 
  4. ^ "Morecambe 0-0 Barnet". BBC Sport. 2007-08-11. http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_div_3/6931026.stm. Retrieved 2007-08-14. 
  5. ^ "Preston 1-2 Morecambe". BBC Sport. 2007-08-14. http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/league_cup/6941882.stm. Retrieved 2007-08-14. 

External links

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