Former Morecambe boss Jim Bentley lifts the lid on why he made AFC Fylde move

Jim Bentley waved goodbye to Morecambe on Monday morning
Jim Bentley waved goodbye to Morecambe on Monday morning

Former Morecambe boss Jim Bentley has revealed that a contract dispute was at the heart of his decision to leave the Globe Arena.

After a weekend of speculation, it was finally announced on Monday that Bentley had resigned as Shrimps manager to take over at AFC Fylde.

His assistant boss, Ken McKenna, and goalkeeping coach Lee Jones followed Bentley to Mill Farm as the curtain came down on his 17-and-a-half years as player, captain and manager.

Stepping down from an EFL club to a Coasters side sitting sixth-bottom of the National League might look strange to an outsider.

However, Bentley has made the move and revealed one of the factors was a difference of opinion at board level as to whether he would be given a new deal when his existing contract expred at the end of the season.

Social media also had a part to play with a well documented survey asking Morecambe supporters whether their long-standing manager should lose his job or not after the Shrimps’ start to the season.

Bentley said: “The board (Rod Taylor, Graham Howse and Mick Horton) wanted me to stay but the owners (Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham) have a different view.

“There’s been a lot of things happening at this club since I’ve been here and I’ve always respected and got on with the people I’ve worked for.

“Without going into too much detail about things that have gone on over the last 12 or 18 months, I base myself on hard work, honesty, trust and respect, so Facebook polls asking if I should be sacked mean the writing was on the wall.”

While sad to be leaving the Shrimps after the best part of two decades with the club, Bentley was excited about what the future now holds.

He goes to a club in AFC Fylde who only missed out on EFL promotion last season’s after losing the play-off final to Salford City but picked up the FA Trophy by way of consolation.

The Coasters are an ambitious club and owner David Haythornthwaite has a vision of seeing them in the EFL by 2022.

Bentley has been lin ked with other clubs during his eight-year reign with Morecambe – most notably Tranmere Rovers and Shrewsbury Town – but said Fylde felt like the right fit at the right time.

He said: “I’ve got a fantastic opportunity at another club now.

“I’ve turned down other clubs – more than one or two in fact – because I felt the timing wasn’t right or the project wasn’t right.

“When I was given permission to speak to Fylde, it just felt right because they are a progressive club.

“Things are on the up there, things are in place and, ultimately, they want to get in the EFL.

“I’ve done it as a player and, hopefully, I can do it as manager with a new club in new surroundings.”