Morecambe FC owner: We couldn’t commit to a new deal for Jim Bentley

Morecambe owners Jason Whittingham and Colin Goldring are seeking the club's first new manager since 2011 after Jim Bentley's exit
Morecambe owners Jason Whittingham and Colin Goldring are seeking the club's first new manager since 2011 after Jim Bentley's exit

Morecambe co-owner Colin Goldring has given his side of the story following Jim Bentley’s departure from the club.

Bentley left the Shrimps on Monday, moving to AFC Fylde along with assistant boss Ken McKenna and goalkeeping coach Lee Jones.

Bentley’s contract with the Shrimps had been due to expire at the end of the season and, before leaving the Globe Arena, revealed there had been an impasse over a possible new contract.

When asked if the now former manager would have been given a new deal at the end of the season, Goldring said: “It’s something we would have considered but there’s no escaping the club is at the bottom of the table and the club wasn’t able to commit without an improvement in results.

“We lost to Stevenage on Saturday who at the time were bottom of the table and I think it’s obvious to say what any other club would have done in that situation.

“Morecambe is a family club with a big heart and it’s held onto Jim in a way other clubs wouldn’t have done.

“I had a conversation with Jim, who was asking ‘can you guarantee me a contract?’ and I said I couldn’t at that point.

“Ultimately, we’re here for the benefit of the fans, the club and the community; it’s our responsibility to manage this club and make sure Morecambe don’t end up in the regrettable position other league clubs have suffered this season.

“We have to be careful and accept the reality of the situation we’re in at the bottom of the table, and a need to make positive changes. With the amount of losses we’ve had everyone will know what other clubs would have done in the same situation, although it’s not a bad thing Morecambe has such a strong community spirit with close support for management and players.”

Bentley was the longest-serving manager in English football until his departure, having been in charge of the Shrimps for almost eight-and-a-half years.

Of the Shrimps’ squad, only club captain Barry Roche has played for another boss while at Morecambe after spending three years working under Bentley’s predecessor, Sammy McIlroy.

The new man has to be the right appointment with Morecambe at the foot of League Two and desperate to avoid crowning their centenary year with the club’s first relegation.

After taking over the club in 2018, Goldring and his business partner, Jason Whittingham, had discussed bringing in former England skipper Paul Ince as a director of football; an idea that was quickly put to one side.

The decision now is whether they resurrect the plan to bring in a so-called ‘big name’ to the Globe Arena, promote from within, or appoint someone who knows the division and what it takes to be successful.

“The reality is the club needs a manager,” Goldring said.

“We will decide the process and it will be a case of speaking with the interested parties.

“The guys at AFC Fylde asked for permission to speak to Jim and were good about it.

“Sometimes a change of environment can be a good thing; there’s a reason why clubs in the EFL say ‘10 games and you’re out if you’re struggling.’

“Morecambe is a good family club who held onto Jim in a way other clubs didn’t; that’s why he was the longest-serving manager.

“That’s their values and their loyalty – and something we should commend – but sometimes change is needed for everyone’s benefit and we’re starting the process of looking for a new manager immediately.

“There’s a part of me that would love to have a big name in but we’re thinking about what’s right for the club and the fans.”