Co-chairman '˜quits' Morecambe FC

The Qatari co-chairman of Morecambe FC is believed to have resigned just 24 hours after the vice-chairman also quit.

Thursday, 22nd December 2016, 3:32 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 3:29 pm
Abdulrahman Al Hashemi, left, with Diego Lemos at Morecambe's game with Carlisle earlier this season.

Abdulraham Al-Hashemi had only been in the post since October.

According to Companies House, Mr Al-Hashemi resigned from being a Morecambe FC director on Wednesday.

Mr Al-Hashemi’s departure, which has not been officially confirmed by the club, comes amidst growing calls from Shrimps fans for answers from Morecambe FC’s new owner Diego Lemos.

Supporters’ concerns for the club’s future have escalated since vice-chairman and longtime Shrimps fan Nigel Adams resigned from the board of directors on Tuesday.

Worried fans have even contacted the English Football League (EFL) asking for help.

Mr Adams quit blaming a lack of communication and financial information from new owner Diego Lemos - who has not been seen at the club for several weeks.

This comes hot on the heels of staff being paid late in October and mounting speculation about the state of finances at Morecambe.

Manager Jim Bentley said the current situation was “the worst it’s been while I’ve been here” and said January would be “the biggest month in the club’s history...both on and off the pitch.”

One worried Morecambe supporter said: “Morecambe Football Club has to be run by Morecambe people.

“The club has struggled with the move from Christie Park to the Globe Arena. We need to get it back to being a family club again. We need to survive and live within our means.”

A spokesman for the EFL said: “There has been contact from Morecambe fans.

“We will respond to all questions on an individual basis as soon as we can.”

Mr Adams resigned on December 20 and a statement was posted on the Morecambe FC website explaining why he decided to quit.

He said: “Unfortunately, following the change of control in September 2016 I do not feel I have been given sufficient financial information from the majority shareholder (Mr Lemos) to allow me to perform my duties as a director and therefore it is appropriate for me to resign.

“In the absence of communication from the new owner and access to financial management information my position as a director has become untenable.

“Until the change of control I had enjoyed my time as a director immensely and I have given large amounts of my time and financial support to the football club.

“The team, staff and most of all the fans of Morecambe Football Club will always have a special place in my heart and I wish the club every success in the future.”

Mr Adams is the owner of Lancaster-based Omega Holidays, main sponsors of the club shirts and home terrace at the Globe Arena.

Upon resigning from the board, he said current sponsorship deals would remain in place but would not be renewed.

He also said he had taken the decision with “great regret”.

We contacted two Morecambe directors in the wake of Mr Adams’ resignation. One declined to comment and the other was unavailable for comment.

Peter McGuigan, co-chairman and former owner of the Shrimps, reportedly told the BBC he was “very concerned” about the situation at the club and had tried to contact the owner without success.

Mr Adams, a longtime Shrimps supporter, became vice-chairman in July 2014.

Omega Holidays signed a new three-year deal in July 2015 to sponsor the home terrace at the Globe Arena and are principal shirt sponsors for the current season.

Mr Lemos, a former football agent from Brazil, took a controlling stake in the club in September.

Shortly afterwards Qatari businessman Abdulrahman Al Hashemi was appointed co-chairman alongside Mr McGuigan.

The other directors are David Brockbank, Mark Dixon, Mike Hinchcliffe, Graham Howse (also club secretary), Gary Taylor and Rod Taylor.

The resignations are the latest in a series of troubles to befall the Shrimps, who currently lie just two points above the relegation zone in League Two.

The latest Morecambe FC accounts show that the club lost £829,832 in the year to May 2015. Morecambe also had the lowest average home attendance in the Football League in 2015/16.

At the end of October, players and staff were paid their wages late. Mr Lemos said this was due to “cashflow problems”.

He also said this was a one-off and staff were paid on time in November.

“I want to stress that this is a short-term problem and assure fans that we have robust plans in place for the future of our great club,” he said at the time.

Also in November, the official Morecambe FC supporters club FCom (Fans’ Club of Morecambe) announced plans to form a Supporters Trust due to worries over the club’s future.

This would allow the supporters to have a greater say in how Morecambe FC is run.

A meeting was called and fans voted unanimously to move forward with plans for the trust.