Morecambe striker believes Shrimps deserve more credit for winning promotion
Cole Stockton believes the magnitude of Morecambe’s promotion into the third tier still hasn’t been fully appreciated by outsiders.
Last month saw the publication of the fixture list for the 2021/22 season, one which sees the Shrimps playing in League One for the first time.
It’s a world away from where most pundits had tipped them to be this season with the club yet again fancied for relegation this time last year.
Instead, the class of 2020/21 finished fourth in League Two, setting a club-record points tally along the way, before beating Newport County AFC in the play-off final at Wembley.
“It was massive and I don’t think people from the outside will fully understand it,” Stockton said of Morecambe’s promotion.
“I don’t think they will because the majority of our lads were on 80 per cent pay all season, which was understandable because of the situation (the pandemic).
“It was very tough but the work we put in to achieve what we did as a team and a club was massive.
“It was difficult in a way but it was how it was, everyone was in the same boat, but all our work paid off for us.”
That work saw the Shrimps take the automatic promotion battle down to the final day.
However, despite ending the season with six wins from their last seven, victories for Cambridge United and Bolton Wanderers on the last afternoon meant Morecambe had to settle for fourth place and a spot in the play-offs.
Any disappointment was shrugged off with victory over Tranmere Rovers in the semi-final before the defeat of Newport at the end of May.
Stockton said: “It was incredible. To miss out by one point but to go through the play-off semi-final and win the final was testament to our character.
“We just didn’t give up as a team and, as a club, we knew what we were about and how we could hurt teams.
“We knew our game plan and nobody expected us to do what we did last season.
“Nobody knew what we could bring to games but we always backed ourselves.
“We were favourites to go down but once we started getting points – and kept on getting points – we could think that we might not have been pretty on the eye but we were a good team.”
If Morecambe were annually tipped for the drop in League Two, it isn’t a surprise to see they are ranked as outsiders this time around.
Stockton, who had brief experience of League One as a youngster with Tranmere, believes it’s something they should relish.
He said: “It’s a nice little challenge and something we should embrace.
“The top half is going to have more quality, technique-wise, than the lower half but we’re looking forward to it.”
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