Bentley receives new boss’ backing

Diego Lemos, new owner of Morecambe Football Club.
Diego Lemos, new owner of Morecambe Football Club.

Morecambe’s new owner has backed boss Jim Bentley to be a top manager in the future.

Diego Lemos, whose majority shareholding was approved last Friday, saw his new team beaten 3-2 by Crawley Town at the Globe Arena within 24 hours.

It may have been a third straight home league defeat but the Brazilian-born boss was quick to back his man.

While some new owners automatically seek to make changes to the club they have inherited, Mr Lemos was quick to offer Bentley his backing – without making it sound like the dreaded vote of confidence.

“Jim is a very good guy and a very good manager,” he said.

“He will have a brilliant future but we have a good squad and I hope we can keep up our momentum.

“I really like him and I think he has a big future ahead of him.”

That appreciation was returned in kind by the Shrimps’ boss, who wants the fans to play their part as well.

Ten years on from promotion to the Football League, League Two football has been consolidated meaning that League One is the next step.

For that to happen, however, Bentley is under no illusions that everyone has to perform both on and off the pitch.

While the players and coaching staff have to do their bit, there will also be an onus on the club to attract new a new generation of Shrimps supporter.

The game against Crawley brought 1,304 fans to the Globe Arena, 73 of whom made the trip from Sussex.

Only the games against Blackpool and AFC Bournemouth have seen more than 2,000 Shrimps supporters among the overall crowd.

Instead, their share of the attendance tends to be around the 1,100-1,300 level; something which the manager wants to change.

“I’ve met him a couple of times and he’s a nice fellow,” Bentley said of Mr Lemos.

“He wants to start a new era but, no matter what the future holds for the club, he’s shown he’s got plans for the short-term, medium-term and long-term.

“It’s important that the Morecambe community gets behind him.

“If we want to get more bums on seats then we have to get behind him and help to drive that ambition forward.

“There will be a lot of meetings going on over the next couple of weeks and I am sure he will want to do well.”

Bentley had made a couple of changes from the side which won at Cambridge United seven days earlier.

Peter Murphy and Tom Barkhuizen were back in the starting XI with Cole Stockton and Andy Fleming the men to miss out.

An offside flag denied Murphy a goal on his return to full fitness, while Stockton’s omission raised a few eyebrows, not least when he came off the bench and scored Morecambe’s goal.

“Cole Stockton was nearly OK for the game but he’s been laid low because he’s had tonsillitis for a couple of days,” the manager explained.

“He was fit enough to take his position on the bench before he came on and affected the game in the right way.

“Andy Fleming got a kick at Cambridge; he played a ball and got a nasty which has caused some swelling.

“It’s not medium-term; he should be back on Tuesday night or the following Saturday.

“It’s great to see Peter back; I just thought it was a key game and important we got him back.”