BIG INTERVIEW: Morecambe co-chairman Rod Taylor talks about new boss Derek Adams and the future at the Globe Arena
It was always going to be interesting to see just who would take on the job as manager of Morecambe.
Bottom of the EFL, lowest budget and, generally speaking, the lowest average attendance.
On top of that, there was the task of replacing a club icon in former player, captain and manager Jim Bentley, who had spent eight-and-a-half years battling on and off-field issues to keep the club in the EFL.
To outsiders then, it may not seem the most attractive proposition for an out-of-work manager or someone looking to make the step up.
So they – as well as locals – could have been forgiven for being surprised last week when the Shrimps announced Derek Adams as manager, a week-and-a-half after Bentley’s departure for AFC Fylde.
Until last Thursday, Adams had been a rank outsider in the betting at odds of around 20/1, the same as Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Danny Carlton, scorer of the winning goal when Morecambe won promotion from non-league in 2007.
For context, Adams was rated less likely to be the new man at the helm than ex-Fylde boss Dave Challinor, former Blackpool manager Terry McPhillips and Pete Wild, currently the man in charge at FC Halifax Town.
There is no denying then, that Morecambe have made an eye-catching appointment.
Adams has three promotions with Ross County and Plymouth Argyle, as well as a Scottish Cup final and a PFA Scotland Manager of the Year award on his CV.
“I think it’s a statement,” said Morecambe co-chairman Rod Taylor as Adams prepares for his 500th game as a manager on Saturday.
The Shrimps are at Crawley Town for Adams’ first league match in charge after Tuesday’s EFL Trophy win against Carlisle United.
“We had dozens of applications and we whittled those down to a shortlist.
“However, Derek met with us and his footballing philosophy, as well as what he’s done in the past, plus the fact he’d managed 498 senior games at such a relatively young age (44) all stood out.
“We just thought he was the perfect fit, especially with his general demeanour, his organisation, his passion, the way he talks about the staff at the club – he just seemed right.
“I think it was a surprise to outsiders – there were people saying we wouldn’t get any applicants but people are hungry to get into football and to manage football clubs.
“The quality of the applicants showed that we could attract a good selection of candidates and it wasn’t a case of ‘little old Morecambe’ at all.”
If the Shrimps could not be accused of low ambition in naming Adams as their new manager, it is also the case that they did not drag their feet in the whole selection process.
Once Bentley, along with assistant boss Ken McKenna and goalkeeping coach Lee Jones, had left on October 28, a board meeting that day set the wheels in motion.
Kevin Ellison and Barry Roche were asked to take over as interim managers while the job was advertised.
By the end of that week, a shortlist of candidates was drawn up with interviews taking place at the start of last week.
As the co-chairman explained, time was of the essence especially in giving the new manager as much time as possible to plot a path away from the foot of League Two.
It was also a step into the unknown for a club unaccustomed to advertising the manager’s role.
Adams is only the fifth permanent manager of the Shrimps since 1994, following in the footsteps of Leighton James, Jim Harvey, Sammy McIlroy and Bentley.
“We didn’t want it to fester,” Taylor said.
“Mick Horton, one of our directors, had a crucial role in this because he’s been used to this situation.
“We haven’t advertised a job for 25 years, so it’s a bit of a unique situation but Mick’s help has been invaluable.
“If you look at the top level and below, some of the clubs jump too soon and have three or four managers a year sometimes.
“How does an individual implement his philosophy and method in that time?
“We’re the opposite of that, we’re a unique club in that regard as we have always given managers time to do their job.”
Just as noteworthy as the speed of the appointment was a story that appeared in the aftermath of Adams’ appointment.
It was reported north of the border that he had rejected a late approach from Scottish Premiership side Heart of Midlothian after they had parted company with Craig Levein.
There was nothing to stop Adams from accepting that offer as he had only verbally agreed to take charge of Morecambe at that point.
“It was happening on the same day as we were talking,” Taylor revealed.
“He got a call from his agent about the job up there but his response was that he’d given his word to Morecambe and that’s what he was doing – and I think that’s testament to his character.
“The paperwork wasn’t signed when that phone call came in but he made a decision, said he was staying and I’m really looking forward to working with him.”