Result: Morecambe 0-2 Exeter City (SkyBet League 2)
Venue: The Globe Arena (Sunday 26th October, 2.00pm)
A chance to tick off one of the 92 is never one to turn down lightly. So, when Morecambe announced their “Super Sunday” fixture with Exeter City, there was only one place I was spending the latter day of the weekend.
After boarding a train to Manchester and then changing onwards towards Lancaster, I arrived in the latter City’s railway station at just after 12.20pm. A small hop over platforms was undertaken and after boarding the Northern train heading along the short route to the coastal town, I spotted the famed ‘lost boyo’ Matt Harrison lounging in the carriage (if it’s possible) with a beverage in hand.
As we passed Lancaster City’s Giant Axe home, I was promised to be introduced to his Shrimps friends who have adopted him as one of their own as soon as we arrived at the Globe, which we eventually did but not without getting slightly lost near the now defunct “Polo Tower” and old fairground around the rear of the Morrison’s store.
After scrambling up a muddy slope and through a gate, we were soon back on familiar surfaces (tarmac) and heading towards the now visible floodlights. After being windswept for about 25 minutes by the somewhat blustery conditions hitting the North West coast, it wasn’t too long until we were entering the approach road to the Globe.
Once arrived, I was introduced to Dom Lancaster, who today was employed as a programme seller, so after pleasantries were exchanged, I quickly snapped one up and made my way inside the clubhouse. Once inside, Matt again introduced some more of the Morecambe fans he knew, including Paul Carter, with his now forever purple hair, who would later give me a small tour of the upper echelons at the ground!
More on that later, and after picking up my ticket and the cheap beer I’d been supplied, we departed for the Omega Stand, but not before encountering the Morecambe fan who is somewhat famous in these parts for having a nickname of “two scarves” despite the fact he has many more than two scarves….
Anyway, after going inside the ground in earnest via the entrance behind the stand, we made our way to directly behind the goal, give or take, where returning local hero Scott Davies would guard on his second debut since returning to the club on loan. But, for now, Matt took the opportunity to have his picture taken with Christie the Cat, who is his friend on Facebook apparently, before the sides took to the field of play.But, before we get to that point, I’d best Opposite the raised, covered terrace of the Omega Stand, is the Bay Radio Stand, (usually the away section, but not today)which is more or less a twin of the Omega. On the left hand touchline is an open terrace, of smaller size, that runs the length of it and is joined by a scoreboard, and on the right side is the Main “Peter McGuigan Stand which runs the length of that respective touchline.
In all, the Globe Arena holds a capacity of 6,476, with 2,173 able to be seated, all in the Main Stand. The ground is, supposedly, based on the club’s former home, Christie Park, with the Globe replacing that ground as the Shrimps home in 2010. Here is a further delve into the history of Morecambe F.C.
Morecambe F.C. was formed in 1920, taking a place in the Lancashire Combination for its inaugural season. After initially playing at the cricket club and attracting crowds of 3,000+ for derby fixtures the club moved to Roseberry Park, later Christie Park once the club President had purchased the area.
After initially struggling, the club began to progress winning the league title in 1924-’25 and lifting the Lancashire Junior Cup. Further struggles continued up until the war, with the club struggling to remain soluble.
After the war, the club began to challenge for honours on a more regular basis, especially from 1960, with a Lancashire Senior Cup (1968) being added to by an FA Trophy win at Wembley over Dartford in 1974 as well as reaching the FA Cup Third Round in 1961.
After a further slump in fortunes throughout the eighties, the club again came on strong at the latter end of the decade, with further cup and league progress being achieved. In 1996, the club attained a place in the Conference where the club remained until their promotion to League 2 in 2007, via a play-off final win against today’s visitors, Exeter City. This period wasn’t without upturns, though, as Jim Harvey suffered a touchline heart-attack and had to be replaced in the interim by Sammy McIlroy. On his return, Harvey was immediately sacked and McIlroy appointed permanently. Needless to say, the pair haven’t seen eye-to-eye since.
The club then announced plans to move from their Christie Park home to a new build stadium. Their first football league game was against Barnet and ended in a 0-0 draw to secure a first point. After an 11th place finish and a third round League Cup appearance, the club reached the play-offs the following season, but lost out to Dagenham & Redbridge in the semi-finals, but did win the 2nd leg at Christie Park, 2-1, in the last game at the ground. In 2010, the club moved into their new Globe Arena, and entertained Coventry City in the first game there in the League Cup and managed a 2-0 success. In 2011, McIlroy left the club, with Jim Bentley, his assistant, taking the reigns.
Bentley began with a 15th place finish and last season finished in a lowly 18th place as Morecambe continued to maintain their League status.
Conference Play-Off Winners: (2006-’07), Runners-Up: (2002-’03)
Lancashire Combination Champions: (1924-’25, 1961-’62, ’62-’63, ’66-’67, ’67-’68)
Northern Premier League Runners Up: 1994-’95)
FA Trophy Winners: (1973-’74)
Conference League Cup:(1997-’98)
NPL President’s Cup: (1991-’92)
Lancashire Senior Cup: (1967-’68)
11x Lancashire FA Trophy Winners: (between 1925-’26 & 2003-’04)
Lancashire Combination Cup Winners: (1926-’27, ’45-’46, ’64-’65, ’66-’67, ’67-’68)
So, back to today and with Davies back in goal, the fans were optimistic. However, this optimism didn’t last too long, as Shaun Beeley chested past his own ‘keeper from six yards. Davies then pulled off a wonderful double save to somehow keep his side just one goal adrift, then palmed away an Exeter header that looked destined for the top corner. Davies was on top form on his return to the Shrimps.
At the break, I was hoping to secure a famous Morecambe pie. But when queuing I received the bombshell that they had ran out. The horror! So, a Mars Bar had to suffice. Needless to say, I guess it wasn’t the same…
The second half was soon underway with Christy Pym, the young Grecians ‘keeper becoming the target of good natured shouts from the Shrimps faithful, including Dom’s “shithouse avocado” heckle, which must be one no goalkeeper has never experienced before. The avocado reference was down to Pym’s luminous green jersey.
The second half was a tight affair, with very little to choose between the sides, but Morecambe arguably had the better of the game. But, they were hit with a hammer blow when, in stoppage time, Tom Nicholls beat the offside trap and hammered home to ensure his side headed back to the South West with all three points and their fans were rewarded for a long journey with the points and the win.
After the game, we all returned to the clubhouse and as I mentioned I was given a tour of the upper floors of the Globe, including the press areas, hospitality and a box by Paul, who also gave me a Morecambe Fans Badge, which I managed to lose on the way back in my slightly intoxicated state….
After watching the United-Chelsea game on TV in the clubhouse Matt and I headed into Morecambe and to a couple of small hostelries and “The Ranch” which is a Western-style pub. No, I don’t know why either.
Anyway, at about 7.30, we made our way back to the station for the train back along to Lancaster before changing onwards to Manchester, where we met a small dog on the train which preceded to become something of a local celebrity in the carriage!
Soon the train had pulled into Oxford Road, and with Matt heading onwards to Piccadilly, I bid farewell and headed towards my train home which was already sat waiting. It had been a great day at a great club, and I can see what keeps the “Jack Shrimp” going back for more. I will certainly be doing the same!
My Morecambe M.o.M.- Scott Davies
My Exeter City M.o.M.- Matt Oakley
Game: 5- Not the greatest game in all fairness.
Ground: 8- A smart ground, that retains character of its predecessor.
Fans: 9- The ones I met were great, but the ones who booed at the end let the rating slip. It doesn’t help.
Programme: 8- A very smart, informative programme, especially the bit about Blackpool which featured a guy who was local to me!
Food: N/A, unfortunately!
Value For Money: 8- It was all good value on the whole, especially the cut-price ticket when pre-booked! (See my Nuneaton Town blog)
Referee: 7- Had a pretty good game, with no major errors or decisions to have to make.