Morecambe FC stalwart issues rallying cry to help club

The former Morecambe Football Club secretary has called for fans to club together to save the Globe Arena youth facilities.

Tuesday, 10th January 2017, 10:35 am
Updated Tuesday, 10th January 2017, 11:36 am
Neil Marsdin, back left, during his time as Morecambe FC club secretary. He is pictured with former vice-chairman Graham Hodgson and former player, and current head of youth at Morecambe, Stewart Drummond.

Neil Marsdin said he’d put £1,000 of his own money in towards a purchase of the club’s all-weather pitches, previously run by PMG Leisure Ltd which has gone into administration.

Other supporters have backed Mr Marsdin’s idea and said they too would stump up cash to keep the community and youth facilities from being run by somebody who did not have the Shrimps’ best interests at heart.

The 3G pitches at the back of the Globe Arena are hired out to the public and used for the club’s youth programme.

Shrimps owner Diego Lemos has been absent from the club since mid-November.

They are operating as normal and administrators said Morecambe FC “should remain unaffected by the administration process”.

But Mr Marsdin, who was club secretary for more than 20 years until 2014, said it was vital the facilities stayed “within the Morecambe Football Club family” long-term, so young players could continue to flourish at the club.

“This would be a good project for people to get together and try to raise money,” said Mr Marsdin.

“The administrators’ responsibility is to get the best deal they can for the creditors but it may not be the best deal for Morecambe FC.

Shrimps owner Diego Lemos has been absent from the club since mid-November.

“The football club is in a black place. This is our opportunity to come together and do something positive. If we all sit back and do nothing, nothing will get done. We’ve got to get off our backsides.

“People say it needs to get back to the camaraderie of (former ground) Christie Park. Well I would willingly put £1,000 in right here and now.”

Mr Marsdin said he feared for the future of the club’s youth programme if the facilities were run by somebody outside Morecambe FC.

“Then we will never become like other clubs, able to pick the better young players,” he said.

“I think it’s critical that we keep the facilities.”

Michael Gibson, a businessman and longtime Shrimps supporter, also said he would put in £1,000 if the idea got off the ground.

“I think Neil’s idea is a great one,” said Mr Gibson.

“I’d be willing to match Neil’s offer and three others have said the same.

“There has to be a plan for someone or some group to step into the void otherwise it could be the end of the club.”

Morecambe fans are currently in the process of setting up a new supporters’ trust.

Mr Marsdin said a trust could potentially help should a bid for the facilities be required.

Simon Thomas from administrators Moorfields of London said: “We will maintain the employment of the company’s 11 staff until a solution is found.”

PMG Leisure Ltd also ran a building which houses the football club’s community support personnel and match day security operations.

Administrators were officially appointed last Tuesday.

PMG Leisure falling into administration comes in the continued absence of Diego Lemos, a former football agent from Brazil who bought Morecambe FC in September. Club directors say he has been uncontactable since mid-November.

They also said Mr Lemos has failed to provide promised investment.

The Shrimps board, led by Morecambe FC chairman and former owner Peter McGuigan, is looking to restructure and refinance the club in order to safeguard its future.

Mr McGuigan said he was ‘staggered’ to learn PMG Leisure was in administration having had no involvement in its management since September 2016 when Mr Lemos took over.

PMG Leisure Ltd is an entirely separate company to Morecambe Football Club Limited.