A look at how the Shrimps are shaping up ahead of the new season...
Last Season’s Finish: 21st
Nickname: The Shrimps
Ground: Globe Arena
A campaign that started so promisingly for Jim Bentley’s men ended up petering out to a disappointing conclusion - the side lost just two of their opening seven matches, but things soon began to unravel as the season progressed and their early form evaporated. It was a run which saw the side slip from fighting for the play-offs to avoiding the relegation zone by two places - although they finished 12 points clear of the bottom two.
Manager: Jim Bentley
The former Morecambe defender has been at the club since 2002 and is very much part of the furniture in North West Lancashire. He was appointed player-manager in 2011 but took a step away from the field in order to concentrate on his new role. His signed a new two year extension in August 2015.
Key Man: Shaun Miller
The striker managed 16 goals in all competitions and braces against Carlisle United, AFC Wimbledon and Barnet bumped up the total. Miller netted for the Shrimps in the 3-1 victory over Reds in October although the former Crewe man, who was briefly on loan with Crawley in 2014, has yet to agree a new contract.
Last season – summary…
The Shrimps made their traditional fast start under Jim Bentley and hopes were high for a run at the play-offs around the turn of the year. But after the 2-1 win over Yeovil in the middle of January left Morecambe within touching distance of the top seven things went horribly wrong in 2016.
A leaky defence, that ultimately shipped 91 goals in League 2, was exposed time and again as Bentley's men finished the season with just four wins from their final 21 games as they ended 21st in the division with their lowest Football League points total, 46. With the minimum objective always survival that was at least secured with time to spare, in part due to the inadequacies of York and Dagenham. A 10th Football League season now awaits with much rebuilding ahead.
Star Man of the side..
Player of the year Jamie Devitt has swapped Lancashire for Cumbria after heading up the M6 to ambitious Carlisle.
Despite being defensively woeful, The Shrimps were exciting going forwards with Devitt, League 2's top assist maker, forming a potent partnership with 16-goal front man Shaun Miller.
Former Crewe man Miller is also yet to decide on his future as the striker ponders a new contract offer as a potential takeover looms at the Globe Arena. Captain Peter Murphy will be hoping his injury hell is behind him, the former Accrington and Wycombe man having missed the majority of his first season at the club. Tom Barkhuizen is expected to go from strength to strength, the speedster having chipped in with 12 goals after his Blackpool release.
Prediction for next season …
Much will depend what happens over the next few weeks. Off the field a takeover is looming with long-time chairman Peter McGuigan putting the club up for sale while on the field just 12 players are under contract.
The two new arrivals have come at the back, Dean Winnard from Accrington and Burnley youngster Luke Conlan after a successful loan spell. An improvement on the previous campaign is a must or Morecambe's celebration next May of ten years since their promotion to the Football League at Wembley might not be a happy one.