As boss Jim Bentley battles further budget cuts, DEREK QUINN says the town itself could be key to keeping its football club in League 2 next season
When Jim Bentley describes the 2012/13 season as a “roller coaster” ride, it is hard to disagree.
The season began and ended with long distance away wins at Exeter and Southend and saw other highlights such as victories at Blackpool and Port Vale.
On the other side of the coin two defeats by a poor Plymouth, a heavy reverse at Barnet and another year of failure against Accrington Stanley highlight the word of the year for almost all League 2 clubs this season – inconsistency. On a huge plus side Morecambe have produced that inconsistency on the fraction of the budget most clubs have and the fact that Bentley’s side have never really flirted with the relegation zone at any stage this season speaks volumes about the work he has done this year.
I think he has performed minor miracles in putting together a side that proved on its day that it could compete with the best League 2 and the players also deserve great credit for their attitude and commitment to deliver the best results possible for the club.
But the warning signs were there for all to see at the end of the season as injuries and suspensions left Bentley with a patched up side for the past few weeks and if the team hadn’t have already secured League 2 status for another year there may have been more than a few nervous people around the Globe Arena.
To know that Bentley’s budget will be reduced even further next year is undoubtedly a worry. Nick Fenton and Will Haining have already gone and more look sure to follow in the next few weeks.
In finding and promoting players such as Jack Redshaw and Ryan Williams, Bentley has shown that he can spot a talented bargain but he is going to need far more of those finds next season to put together a squad with the depth and quality that he wants – and may need in a league that will be stronger than ever.
On the face of it there is plenty to be worried about but there is a bright side.
If anyone is prepared for the challenge it is Bentley. No one knows more what Football League status means to the club.
He was, of course, one of the main reasons it got there in the first place.
He will accept the challenge head on and I am confident that he will put together a squad that will once again compete with the best next year.
What the club needs now more than anything is the support of the town and its fans. It needs to stick together with an almost siege mentality and be strong in numbers.
Commitment from players, staff, supporters and the town itself will be the key to survival next season.
It took a lot of hard work to get Morecambe into the Football League – it will take an equal amount of work to make sure it stays there.