It’s five years and counting for Jim

Jim Bentley celebrates Morecambe's dramatic win over Chesterfield. Picture: Garth Hamer

Jim Bentley celebrates Morecambe's dramatic win over Chesterfield. Picture: Garth Hamer

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Jim Bentley does not think he has had a day off during his five years as Morecambe manager.

he Shrimps boss reaches the milestone today, having been promoted from reverse team boss to take over from Sammy McIlroy on May 13, 2011.

Jim Bentley celebrates Morecambe's dramatic win over Chesterfield. Picture: Garth Hamer

Jim Bentley celebrates Morecambe's dramatic win over Chesterfield. Picture: Garth Hamer

The club’s Wembley winning captain, a month shy of his 40th birthday, said: “I’ve probably not had a day off, no. That’s just the nature of the job.

“It’s full on every day. Even on Christmas Day when you’re thinking about family time, you’re thinking about the game the next day as well.

“You get your break at the end of the season but your phone’s red hot with agents calling you about players.

“It’s very difficult. Every night I go to bed probably thinking about something to do with the next game.

“Every time you wake up the first thing that crosses your mind is planning or anticipation or nervous energy for a game. It rules your life.”

The truth is Bentley would not have it any other way.

A workaholic, along with assistant Ken McKenna, the Shrimps boss never stops analysing or taking in games at all levels.

Despite that undoubted work ethic it has been far from plain sailing, the former central defender having just completed his toughest season in charge.

The Shrimps were expected to build on a best League Two finish under Bentley of 11th.

But a horrible 2016 saw the campaign just gone end in 21st with a lowest ever Football League points total of 
46. Having finished 15th, 16th and 18th in his first three seasons in charge, the proud Evertonian’s overriding feeling is pride, however, despite some the flack that has come his way in recent weeks.

He said: “It’s been more demanding (than I thought it would be). It’s very difficult but I love it, it’s like a drug to me.

“I think this five years has really taught me a lot.

“It’ll stand me in good stead for the rest of my managerial career, wherever that will be and whatever level that will be.

“I’ll look back on this five years – and hopefully more – at this club and be proud of what we’ve done.”

Bentley’s five years in charge make him the fourth longest serving manager in the top four divisions with MK Dons’ Karl Robinson, Exeter’s Paul Tisdale and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger in front 
of him.

He said: “I’d hoped I would be here after five years but in this day and age people expect you to be gone within a year or two.

“I’ve got a great relationship with Morecambe.

“It is my second home as a player, as a coach, as a captain and as a manager.

“I’ve given it my all and if I ever leave this club I’ll do it with my head held high.

“I think it’s a great achievement to be at one club five years. Long may it continue.”