The First Time Ever I Saw Your Ground: Morecambe and The Globe Arena

John McCormick writes……..the last time I wrote about Morecambe was about 18 months ago when I ventured the suggestion that their off-field troubles may have been ending. I think I was right as the intervening months have seen wholesale changes at the club, which are continuing (their chairman has just stepped down). The one exception is their manager, Jim Bentley, who has been in post since 2011 and I think he’s the longest serving manager in the top 4 divisions now that Arsene has gone.

But by the time he took over Pete Sixsmith had already been there:

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‘I won a few things with them and had a little bit of success’

John McCormick: We're not bottom, so is it a Happy Christmas?


No game, and no need – or desire – for a relegation review so soon after the last one, which means I’m taking another meander around the Northwest to bring you up to date, more or less, with some of the clubs on this side of the Pennines.

I was going to title this piece “take a walk on the west side” in homage to wrinkly Pete’s propensity for including songs. You’ll find out why I didn’t at the end.

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Blackpool, Bolton, Blackburn and even Morecambe. Is there a warning for us?

John McCormick: We're not bottom, so is it a Happy Christmas?
John McCormick. Live from Liverpool

John McCormick writes: I was thinking of updating our “Relegation watch” this weekend, seeing as there’s no football on, but with a couple of days to go before the transfer window shuts it feels like it’s too early to complete the “before and after” picture. I could have given you my view of Deloitte’s Money Football League but in recent seasons that has been pushed into the summer and I like it there. So I’ve decided to do another of my occasional visits to clubs on this side of the Pennines, where there is plenty of food for thought.

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When Sunderland don’t play on Saturday there’s time for a wander over the Pennines

John McCormick: bored
John McCormick. Across the Pennines

Every now and then, when there is no meaningful football on I take a wander around the NorthWest, focusing on some of the clubs we might otherwise forget. I must add, however, that I do mention big’ns when necessary, as you can see, which brings me to Everton FC who, having gained plaudits for their supporters’ player of the month, went one better with their magnificent gesture to help Bradley Lowery. Well done EFC, who surely are, as Sixer said after they tonked us, a class club.

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Sunderland v Morecambe: making up for Brighton and guessing the score

Jake's welcome to the Shrimps

With a spot of luck, Sunderland fans will put aside any lingering embarrassment over Saturday’s postponement and see class prevail over Morecambe tonight to get a run started in the Capital One Cup.

This is, of course, the league cup, the same one from which we departed without a whimper – indeed without a true striker in the starting line-up – at Brighton and Hove Albion last season.

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Sunderland v Morecambe ‘Who are You?’ sees Shrimp grilled, apathetic public roasted

Jake wants to know ...

Let us see whether the Stadium of Light is up to staging a game of football in August after all. Tomorrow night, after the humiliation of Saturday’s postponement, Sunderland are due to take on Morecambe in the Capital One Cup (league cup to you and me). We’ll take the risk of running another “Who are You?” with due apologies to our Reading volunteer, Roger Titford, for having wasted his time last week.

If the phrase “long-suffering fan” did not exist, it would need to be invented for Mick Dennison*. He berates fellow Morecambe residents for their lack of interest in the Shrimps, as the town’s football club is known, bemoans the impact on trade at his “traditional pub B&B”, the York Hotel of the club’s move away from the Christie Park and is not even sure he wanted the football season to start post-Olympics. Yet he’s clearly a devoted supporter, organises away travel and will be at tomorrow’s game …

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