Jim Bentley: Morecambe boss calls for unity after tough season

Jim Bentley and assistant Ken McKenna. Picture: Matt Rushton
Jim Bentley and assistant Ken McKenna. Picture: Matt Rushton

Jim Bentley has called for unity at the end of a difficult season for Morecambe.

The Shrimps boss’ fifth season in charge has seen them finish 21st with their lowest ever Football League points total, 46.

Bentley has come in for fierce criticism from sections of the terraces during a run that saw Morecambe end the season with just two wins from their final 21 games.

Delighted to be cheered at the end of the final-day draw with York, the club’s Wembley winning captain knows everyone pulling in the same direction will be key if improvements are to be made when the new season begins in August.

“We’ve got to stick together, that’s the main thing for me,” said Bentley.

“There’s been a little bit of pulling here and there and things happening but through the tough times you’ve got to stay strong and then you can enjoy the good times.

“One of the most pleasing things for me was the reaction of the crowd towards me on the final day.

“I thought during the game it was brilliant and at the end of the game it was brilliant.

“It was nice that they were singing the players’ names too.

“There are good players at the club, players who have been fantastic this season.

“There’s been some good stuff but we know where the problem lies.”

Having admitted it has been his toughest season, Bentley again heads into the close season trying to work out why his side have fallen away during the second half of the campaign.

“It was a promising start, we’ve always started well,” he said.

“We’ve often been up near the top of the table but history tells you we tail off after January.

“It’s been difficult in the second half of the season.

“I think we were four or five points outside the play-offs when we beat Yeovil (on January 16) and it was similar the year before.

“Last year we finishing quite strongly with a couple of wins that pushed us into the top half but his season we’ve been poor.

“Results have been poor and after such a promising start which raised everyone’s expectations I think that’s killed us a bit more.

“Everything was going well but as quick as you get on a good run you can get on a bad run.

“It’s very disappointing but I’ve got a couple of things in my mind that need to be addressed in order to stop it happening in the future.”

Having secured safety be default with a few weeks to spare, Bentley elected to shuffle the pack in the closing weeks of the season with the hit and miss approach not aiding results.

“We finished poorly but the minimum requirement is that we stay in the league and we’ve done that comfortably in the end,” he said.

“People will say that if there were three or four who went down then we’d be in trouble but there’s not.

“When we mathematically got safe we had to blood a couple of loans and a couple of youngsters because we’ve got to have a look for next season.

“If there are players that might have their eye on a move elsewhere then you’ve got to have a look at something else.

“It’s been a big balancing act in that respect. Last year on the final day when we played Southend there were eight players in the starting XI under contract.

“We’ve got so many out of contract now. It’s been difficult, there’s a lot of things going on.

“It’s been very difficult but you know me, I always stay positive.

“We’ve got to regroup and see what’s what over the coming weeks.”