Morecambe boss Jim Bentley has paid tribute to Barry Roche ahead of the keeper’s testimonial match this weekend.
The 36-year-old celebrates 10 years at the club this season, starting with a game at the Globe Arena on Sunday.
It pits a celebrity line-up against a team of Morecambe legends featuring Bentley, along with other players, including David Artell, Wayne Curtis, Michael Twiss, Danny Carlton, Andy Parrish and Craig Stanley.
Roche’s decade with the Shrimps has featured a play-off campaign in League Two, as well as his starring performance on the final day of last season.
That gave Morecambe the point they needed to stay up as their goalless draw at Coventry City relegated Barnet to the National League instead.
It is little wonder then that Bentley was only too keen to highlight Roche’s contribution to the club since the Irishman made the move from Chesterfield, having started his career at Nottingham Forest.
“He’s been brilliant,” Bentley said of his keeper and current club captain. “I’ve played with him, I’ve been his captain, I’ve been a coach, I’ve been a manager to him and he deserves every credit and all the pats on the back in the world. He came in from a little bit of a stop-start career but he’s come here, he’s moved into the area with his wife and they have had kids since he’s been here.
“He’s very settled in the community and he’s a big player for us.”
Trying their best to get the better of Roche on Sunday will be a team of famous faces, who play regular matches around the country to raise funds for their ‘Once Upon A Smile’ charity.
That is an organisation which provides emotional and practical support for bereaved families.
Their team is to be confirmed on the day because of performing commitments but their squad members include actors such as Ralf Little (The Royle Family), as well as X-Factor stars Jake Quickenden and Jay Kontzle and former players including Danny Higginbotham, David Dunn, Paul Dickov, Marlon Beresford and Frank Sinclair.
The official match sponsors will be Total Tots Day Nursery; the game starts at 3pm with gates opening at 1pm for a day of family fun, with bouncy castle, face-painting and entertainment.
Admission will cost from £8 for adults and £4 for children.
Details of further events are on the Barry Roche Testimonial Facebook page.