Morecambe boss wants to grab his chance with both hands

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Ged Brannan is determined to ensure his patience pays off by making a success of his new role as Morecambe boss.

The 51-year-old had only joined Morecambe in September, taking up the role of first team coach and senior professional development coach.

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Three months later, he’s now in charge of the playing side completely: a role that had been years in the planning.

Ged Brannan took over as Morecambe boss at the end of November Picture: Morecambe FCGed Brannan took over as Morecambe boss at the end of November Picture: Morecambe FC
Ged Brannan took over as Morecambe boss at the end of November Picture: Morecambe FC
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He said: “I’m obviously delighted: I’ve always wanted to be a manager but I didn’t expect it to come so quickly after joining the club.

“It’s been a crazy couple of weeks and emotions have been all over the place but things are now settling down.

“I always had it in my head that I wanted to be a manager, even when I was playing: I picked up bits from the managers I played under.”

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Ged Brannan in action during his playing days with Morecambe Picture: Darren AndrewsGed Brannan in action during his playing days with Morecambe Picture: Darren Andrews
Ged Brannan in action during his playing days with Morecambe Picture: Darren Andrews

Brannan’s two-decade playing career started at Tranmere Rovers, taking in spells with clubs north and south of the border.

He played at Manchester City, Norwich City, Motherwell, Wigan Athletic, Dunfermline and Rochdale before linking up with John Coleman at Accrington Stanley in 2003.

A short spell at Radcliffe followed two years later before signing for the Shrimps, helping them into the Football League.

That win over Exeter City in 2007 meant Brannan could celebrate promotions at the old and new Wembley, having helped Tranmere defeat Bolton in the 1990-91 Third Division final.

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Vauxhall Motors was Brannan’s next destination before his playing career ended at Burscough.

Plenty of managers then with Brannan highlighting two in particular.

He said: “Johnny King brought me through as a YTS at Tranmere and he gave me my debut.

“He was proper old school but he was great for me and someone I learned a lot from.

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“Another would have been Billy Davies, who was my manager at Motherwell and was very technical.

“There were also people like Frank Clark and Joe Royle at Manchester City, Bruce Rioch (Norwich) and John Coleman – but I’m a firm believer you learn from every manager.”

The mention of Clark and Royle takes Brannan back quarter of a century and a scenario he’s now experiencing as a manager.

Brannan’s performances at Tranmere yielded a £750,000 move to City in March 1997: a time when their fans were dissatisfied with the Maine Road hierarchy as relegation to the third tier arrived a year later.

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Fast forward to 2023 and Brannan is now in charge of a team whose fans – and directors – are taking issue with the club’s owner.

He said: “City went through that spell when they had a lot of managers who brought in their own players.

“It meant we ended up with 54 in the first-team squad and having to use two or three dressing rooms – but it gave me a thick skin!”

Having worked with the younger teams at Accrington, Brannan now has the chance to use all the knowledge he’s accumulated and guide Morecambe up the League Two table.

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A 6-0 loss to Wrexham while he was in acting charge with John McMahon was followed by defeat to Newport County AFC in his first game as boss.

With that in mind, what kind of football does he want to play and what kind of manager does he want to be?

“In an ideal world?” Brannan said. “I like two quick wingers, I like overlapping full-backs, a high press and things done with pace.

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“That’s my goal; players who are big, strong and get on the ball: I like players to be comfortable on the ball, especially in midfield.

“My door is always open to the players, I’ve had near enough everyone in here already.

“The hardest part of being a manager – even having been manager of the U23s (at Accrington) for five or six years – is how you manage the lads as a team to get them all onside.

“I think players can see if you’re faking it but my personality is to be honest.

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“I’m easily approachable. I’m learning as well but we’ve got a great group of staff: we have a meeting every morning and talk through the sessions and what we’re going to do.

“Myself, John and Baz (Barry Roche, goalkeeping coach), we all jump in together on the training ground.”

McMahon will continue as assistant boss under Brannan, who hopes he’ll be able to bring in a replacement for the role he’d previously taken on.

The new boss also hopes Morecambe’s reputation as a club that gives bosses time to do their job means he won’t be part of English football’s managerial merry-go-round.

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Darren Ferguson’s latest stint in charge at Peterborough United began on January 4 this year, yet he’s already the 41st longest-serving manager among the 92 Premier League and EFL clubs.

Having had three bosses between 1994 and 2019, Brannan became Morecambe’s fourth permanent appointment in as many years.

That wasn’t so much down to a ‘hire and fire’ strategy, rather that Adams and Stephen Robinson left for roles elsewhere.

With an 18-month contract in his pocket, where does Brannan want Morecambe to be come the summer of 2025?

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He responded: “I would like to be pushing for the play-offs, 100 per cent.

“I don’t know what the board wants but I’d like the play-offs.

“We’ve got good young lads and the ones on loan, if we manage to keep them, you never know.

“Morecambe is a club that’s always backed the manager, even when I played here.

“They have always given them time so let’s hope I can justify their faith in me.”