Bentley: Football League survival as big as Wembley win

Jim Bentley celebrates Morecambe's win at Wembley.
Jim Bentley celebrates Morecambe's win at Wembley.

Jim Bentley prepares to step down memory lane this week but admits getting Morecambe into the Football League was just as difficult as keeping them there.

Saturday is the 10th anniversary of the Shrimps winning promotion by defeating Exeter City in the play-off final at Wembley.

Bentley, who skippered the side that day, will be reunited with team-mates at the Globe Arena on Saturday as fans can relive the match and take part in a question and answer session with the class of 2007.

“It’s hard to get out of the division below,” Bentley said.

“We had a couple of opportunities but it’s a very tough league - and it’s very hard to stay in this division.

“League Two is a very strong, competitive league and they are both just as hard as each other in my opinion.

“It’s important we do what we can now to improve and kick on; we’ve done that over the last 10 years but it’s been difficult with things off the field.

“We train in Morecambe, we get changed there every day, so there’s no real matchday feeling so that’s something which needs to be looked at.”

Having kept the Shrimps in League Two despite a season full of off-field difficulties, Bentley can bask in a job well done after finishing 18th.

Though they ended the season only six points clear of the bottom two, the manager said he never had any doubts of securing Football League status despite a couple of indifferent spells through the season.

“It’s a big achievement after all that’s gone on,” he said.

“It’s a great feeling for us and I’m really pleased - it’s massive to stay in the league but I don’t think we were really in any danger.

“We had that little spell a while back where we had a few defeats and, of course, you look over your shoulder but we had a couple of results in us.”

Tickets for Saturday’s celebration are available to pre-purchase from reception at the Globe Arena or from the club shop.

They cost £10 for adults, £7 for Under-11s-17s and senior citizens, but are free for those aged 10 and under.

It’s anticipated the event will start at 2pm, an hour after the Shrimps Trust AGM takes place in the downstairs bar at the Globe Arena.