Well after 85 years of waiting the dream was finally reality. May 20th 2007 will forever be etched in the memories of not only the 11,000 plus Shrimps fans who ventured to Wembley, but the rest of the people of North Lancashire, who were glued to the TV and Radio. The simple statistics are a 2-1 victory over Exeter City, in front of the largest crowd ever to witness a Morecambe game, 40,043, with Thompson(41mins) and Carlton(82mins) being the scorers. Everyone will have their own story to tell, but it was without any doubt, the greatest day in the history of Morecambe Football Club. A two legged victory over York City(0-0 away, 2-1 at home) had made the visit to Wembley possible. The league success dwarfed all other things in this historic season, but for the record the 2nd round of the FA Cup was reached, a last minute penalty winner for Swindon Town at the County Ground put paid to the Shrimps hopes of cup glory. Old foes Stevenage put us out of the FA Trophy in a quarter final replay, and even older foes, although not recently, Marine put paid to any hopes of lifting the Lancashire Cup. The Reserves fell at the final hurdle in both competetions, losing 6-5 on aggregate in the league playoff and then losing 3-1 in the cup final, on both occasions to Farsley Celtic. As one chapter as a non league club closes the next is eagerly awaited, Morecambe FC as a Football League Club. This coming season promises to be just as eventful as all the 85 previous ones, as the club now sets of on another dream.
After two enthralling games against friends and rivals Hereford United, Morecambe’s hopes of stepping into the Football League were shattered at the Play Off Semi Final stage, losing 4-3 on aggregate. They were the highlight of the season in reality, over 12,000 spectators watching both games, and only an extra time winner separating the two teams. It had always seemed an uphill struggle to achieve the play offs, but an unbeaten end of season run of 8 games, with a record equalling 5 wins to end it, saw the Shrimps into 5th place. The latter part of the first half of the season had been clouded by the sudden heart attack to long serving manager Jim Harvey. Another Northern Irishman, Sammy McIlroy, with Mark Lillis as his assistant, took the reins in mid November until the end of the season. Cup glory evaded the Shrimps this season with a home defeat by promoted Northwich in the FA Cup; an away defeat by Conference North play off winners Stafford ended the FA Trophy trail. Some measure of success was that the club won on penalties at Grimsby in the LDV Trophy, our fist win, and only a last minute goal saved Bradford City’s blushes in the next round. The bitterest pill for all home based Morecambrians was the Lancashire Trophy exit to local neighbours Lancaster. At the close of the season the Morecambe Board of Directors decided to terminate the contact of the now fully recovered manager Jim Harvey, and appoint the caretaker manager to the No 1 position. Jeff Udall again led the Reserves to the Lancit Haulage Lancashire League title, for a remarkable 6th successive season.
The Shrimps dream of league football was dashed on the last day of the regular season when a 0-0 draw at mid table Tamworth condemned the club to another season in the Conference. A surge of good form after Christmas ensured that the poor start was reversed and it was a huge disappointment to lose out so narrowly. The cups held no great joy for the Shrimps, although a 3-2 defeat at Division one champions (to be) Hull City , did not reflect the true picture. Trophy defeat, somewhat dismally at Burton Albion, after beating neighbours Lancaster , put an end to the hopes of a visit to Villa Park (we can wait till next season and a visit to the New Wembley !!) . Old rivals Accrington sneaked a 1-0 victory in the Marsden Lancashire Trophy, whilst Stalybridge Celtic accounted for an under strength side in the Conference League Cup. The LDV Vans Trophy , saw the Shrimps again drawn away to league opposition, with the result again going in favour of the league side, 3-0 to Huddersfield . All in all a season where the ambitions and hopes could have been achieved, and it would have added a glorious chapter to Morecambe's history, but sadly it is a season which will now be soon forgotten..
It was a season that promised
so much after the runners up position in 2002-2003, but
ultimately it turned out to be somewhat disappointing.
Although the play offs were still an outside possibility
right up to the end, the mid season defeats left to much
to do at the end. The only cup success was in the Lancashire
trophy with a two legged victory over Conference rivals
Accrington Stanley. Defeats in both the FA Cup and the
FA Trophy by Shrewsbury Town were bitter pills to swallow,
and a 4-1 defeat at 2nd Division Wrexham, ended our LDV
Vans Trophy hopes.
It seems that it just goes
on getting better. 3rd round of the FA Cup again, and
remarkably Ipswich Town again, this time at Portman Road
, and while a 0-4 defeat was disappointing, it was a
day that all of Morecambe's 1250 supporters present will
never forget. Runners up in the Conference for the first
time ever, with two up, this was to be Morecambe's year.
Alas, no the play off's. Beaten on penalties in the semi
final by Dagenham & Redbridge. It was a blow, but
one that will make the club stronger for the experience.
The Shrimps also had 3 players selected for the England
Non League team on the same occasion for the first time.
Stewart Drummond, Lee Elam, and Adriano Rigoglioso. Gary
Thompson and Craig Mawson had also earned selection for
the under 23 team. The future looks good, the future
The Shrimps enjoyed a mixed
season, with overall more positives than negatives. Progress
to the 1 st round of the FA Cup was achieved, and in
arguably the teams brightest performance of the season,
unluckily went down 0-1 to 2 nd division high flyers
Brentford. Whilst reaching the semi final of the FA Trophy
is an outstanding achievement, defeat in the semi final
against Stevenage Boro, in two games in which the team
just did not perform to its capabilities. An early and
embarrassing defeat at lowly Darwen in the County Cup
, meant that the sideboard remained bare for the time
being. The league form was fairly consistent throughout,
with a creditable sixth place achieved, despite a back
log of fixtures, due mainly to the clubs Trophy success.
During the course of the season Academy graduate John
Hardiker was sold to Stockport County for a fee of £150,000.
John who in over 70 league appearances for the Shrimps
had failed to score a league goal, scored 3 in his first
4 games for the County. The reserves under Jeff Udall
, retained the Lancashire League title with 26 wins out
of 32 games. A truly remarkable record. During the close
season, the floodlights have been upgraded to near 400
lux, from 250 lux, the shower areas have been completely
renewed, and the North Stand Car Park has finally been
After the high finish of
the previous season and the club record purchase of Steve
Walters from Northwich Victoria for £25,000(later
to be sold to Stevenage Boro) and a number of other high
quality captures hopes were high of a successful league
campaign. That was not to be, as at the end of the season
the Shrimps were in there lowest ever Conference position,
and only 2 points above the relegation mark. The season
however was memorable for Morecambe's FA Cup exploits.
Reaching the 3 rd round proper for only the 2 nd time
in the club's history, (39 years to the day from the
previous occasion), 6,000 fans crammed into Christie
Park to see the Shrimps tackle the Tractor Boys of Ipswich.
A 0-3 defeat didn't tell the full picture. The day will
live long in the memory of all Shrimp devotees. The other
cup competitions brought little success. A defeat at
Lincoln City, a little unluckily 2-3 in our first incursion
into the LDV Vans Trophy, was followed by an early exit
from the McMillan Trophy, (league cup) 0-2 at Nuneaton
after a 5-2 extra time victory over Leigh RMI. The semi
final of the Lancashire Trophy was reached, but local
rivals Southport put paid to any hopes of glory with
a 3-1 victory at Christie Park. The FA Umbro Trophy saw
the Shrimps progress to the 5 th Round after replay victory's
against Evesham and Burscough, but a penalty shoot out
defeat at Hereford United put paid to our hopes of glory.
Some glory was gained at the season's end with the Reserves,
managed by Jeff Udall, completing a Lancashire League
cup and League double, with a great many of the players
having graduated from the academy ranks.
The club's highest ever
National League finish, 3rd, was evidence of the progress
that has been made over the last 5 years at Christie
Park Investment in the youth programme is beginning to
look as if it will pay dividends with a number of youngsters
progressing to the 1st team squad. Justin Jackson (later
to be sold for a club record fee, reported to be £180,000)
became the 1st Morecambe player to win the Conference's "Golden
Boot" with 29 goals and both he and Stewart Drummond
played for England during the season. On the cup front
it was an almost bleak season. Early departure from the
McMillan Trophy, 1-2 to Southport , another 1-2 defeat
by Blakenhall in the FA Trophy, and yet another 1-2 defeat
by local rival Barrow, in the Lancashire Cup. The feint
glimmer of success was had in the FA Cup, where after
a hard fought 1-0 victory over Bishop Auckland, the Shrimps
travelled to Oxford United and lost an entertaining game
undeservedly, in the last minute, 2-3.
A disappointing season
at Christie Park with the Shrimps dropping to their lowest
Football Conference placing, 14th. Exits at an early
stage of both the major FA competitions also brought
dismay to the faithful supporter.FA Cup defeat against
Hednesford and a 1-4 beating by Unibond Leigh RMI in
the Trophy brought to an early end any hope of cup glory.
Some success was gained in the Endsleigh Trophy before
losing to Doncaster Rovers in the semi final. Whilst
in the Lancashire Cup victory in a penalty shoot out
ensured some silverware for the Shrimps. During the season
assistant manager Tony Hesketh left to join Lancaster
and was replaced by ex player David Miller. During the
season Sir Bobby Charlton, with Dave Jones's Southampton
providing the opposition, had officially opened the New
Silverware again at Christie
Park, the Spalding Cup was won after extra time and a
penalty shoot against Woking . FA cup disappointment
at Emley, lost in 1st round penalty shoot out. The club
dropped 1 position from last season to 5th, but recorded
a record number of points for the season. Innovative
scheme with the Manchester FA and Bedford College , similar
to YTS was introduced with the club running two teams
in Lancashire League. Christie Park also saw a massive
improvement with the South Stand undergoing renovation
and a new North Stand being built at a cost of £550,00,
these improvements along with others over the last 5
years enabled the club to gain an approval as an A graded
ground, suitable for the Football League. Attendance's
had risen from an average of 400 in the early 90's to
a very commendable 1,537 with a fabulous 3,940 watching
the game against Halifax Town in late October and 3 other
games attracting 2,000 plus attendance's, and non of
the 21 league games attracted an attendance of less than
1,000, this was the first time since 1969 that that had
happened, progress indeed. Brian Healy became the 2nd
Shrimp to represent England when he played against Holland
and then became the 1st player to be selected for an
overseas tour with the Middlesex Wanderers.
No ATS success this season,
but 4th in the league, FA Cup 1st round, lost 0-3 at
Boston United, losing Spalding semi finalists at Macclesfield,
but a highly creditable 4th in the Vauxhall Conference.
During the season Justin Jackson was sold for a club
record fee of £30,000.
Ninth in the first season
in the Vauxhall Conference and winner's medals in the
repeat of last seasons ATS final, this time the Shrimps
The wait was over. After
27 years the Shrimps finally managed to haul themselves
out of the NPL. Runners up spot were sufficient, with
Jim Harvey being the successful manager. The club lost
to Bamber Bridge 1-2 in the ATS final at Deepdale.
Won the Lancahire ATS Trophy
against Conference team Southport 4-3 after extra time
at Bolton's Burnden Park . Reached the last 8 of the
FA Trophy, only to lose 3-2 at Guiseley when all concerned
believed it to be the Shrimps year. Car wash terrace
built holding over 1,000 spectators.
John Coleman became the
first Morecambe player to be selected for the England
Semi-professional team against Wales at Whaddon Road
, Cheltenham , and was substitute against Finalnd on
Wednesday, April 14th. Vauxhall Conference ground grading
was sought for the 1st time. New floodlights installed
at a cost of £37,000.
Finished third in the NPL
for the 2nd consecutive year, reached the 1st round of
the FA Cup for the first time in 7 years, losing 0-1
to Hull City (this was the game of the goal that never
was). Silverware returned to Christie Park winning the
Presidents Cup 3-2 on aggregate over champions Stalybridge.
The club also played its 1,000 the Northern Premier League
game against Buxton on November 2nd.
Lost 0-2 to Colne Dynamoes
at Ewood Park , in the Lancashire ATS Final.
Lost 0-2 to Marine in the
now retitled Lancashire ATS Final at Burnden Park , Bolton.
Retained Lancashire Junior
Cup beating Chorley 2-0 at Springfield Park , Wigan.
Finished 3rd in the league,
won the Lancahire Junior Cup, beating old rivals Chorley
3-2 at Deedale. The highlight though was drawing 0-0
at 2nd division high flyers York City, although the
replay was lost 0-2.
The next ten years proved
as barren as the 1930's had before them. No success on
the field and massive financial problems off it. The
club lurched form one crisis to the other, with the club
run on a shoestring. Playing performance were as bad
as at any time in the clubs history.
Probably the greatest day
in Morecambe's history, winning at Wembley. The Shrimps,
with Dave Roberts as manger beat Dartford 2-1 in the
FA Trophy final in front of 19,000 with goals from Sutton
and Richmond . Lost in final of Lancashire Senior Cup
to Manchester City , finished 14th in the league.
Finished 3rd in the NPL
inaugural season, won Lancahire Junior Cup, beating Gt
Harwood 1-0, and lost 0-2 at York City in FA Cup.
Another outstanding season
in the clubs history. Champions of the league in the
last season before the formation of the Northern Premier
League, Combination Cup winners, 1-0 over Horwich. The
real triumph however was becoming the 1st non-league
team to win the prestigious Lancashire Senior Cup, 2-1
over Burnley , after beating Blackburn Rovers, Bury,
and Oldham Athletic. During the season the club set the
goalscoring record beating Rossendale United 14-0, with
Arnold Timmins scoring 8 goals to equal the individual
With Ken Waterhouse now
at the helme the Shrimps clinched both the league title
and the Combination Cup after beating Fleetwood 1-0 at
Christie Park in front of 3,719 supporters. The club
also reached the 1st round of the FA Cup losing after
2 replays to York City . Morecambe also lost in the final
of the Lancashire Floodlit Cup 1-2 to Wigan.
The main stand, costing £20,000
was opened by Leeds United, on 08th August with John
Charles kicking off for the visitors. The league and
Junior Cup were retained, but Blyth Spartans knocked
the Shrimps out of the FA Cup.
Arguably the Shrimps greatest
season, League champions, Lancashire Junior Cup winners,
3-1 over arch rivals Wigan Athletic, in front of 8,000
spectators at Deepdale. The icing on the cake (and the
disappointment) was reaching the 3rd round of the FA
Cup, winning 1-0 at Chester (R2) before losing 0-1 to
Weymouth at Christie Park in front of a record 9,234.
Floodlights at a cost of £4,000
were erected and opened on October 27th with a game against
an All Star X1 4-3. The Auxiliary Supporters Club at
a cost of £10,000 was built and opened on December
7th with another All Star X1 making up the opposition
in a 5-5 draw.
Finished 5th in league,
and lost 1-2 at home to Blyth Spartans in FA Cup 1 st
Ken Horton appointed manager,
finished 3rd in league highest position for nearly 30
years, playing 7 games in last 10 days of season, which
eventually put paid to any championship hopes. Lost,
2-1 over legs to Horwich in Combination Cup Final, but
reached FA Cup 1st round, losing 1-4 to Accrington Stanley
in front of over 9,000 supporters. Ray Charnley, later
to play for England , was sold to Blackpool (then in
the 1st Division) for £1,000.
Avoided relegation by winning
against Prescot Cables on the last day of the season,
Lost in final of Lancashire
Junior Cup to Rochdale at Deepdale.
The club appointed a manager
for the first time in its history, ex North Ender Jimmy
Milne (later to manage PNE to the 1964 cup final. Lost
in the semi-final of the combination Cup to Lancaster
in front of 6,000 spectators.
The Shrimps finished a
creditable fourth scoring 133 goals, and recording the
clubs record way victory 12-0 at Gt Harwood with Jimmy
Ashworth setting the individual scoring record at 8 in
the same match.
During this period the
club lurched from one season to the next finishing no
higher than half way, and in fact in 1931-32 finishing
next to the bottom with only 18 points. Cup success was
non-evident and financial troubles always were close
at hand. The Second World War gave the club the opportunity
to "start again" and certainly the late forties
saw a marked improvement. Although in season 1937-38
the club did reach the 1st round proper of the FA Cup
for the 1st time, losing 0-1 at South Liverpool.
Retained the Lancashire
Junior Cup beating rivals Lancaster 1-0 at P.N.E, and
also won the Lancashire Combination Cup beating the same
opposition after a replay, 2-1. The Club became an incorporated
Company at the end of this season. "Pinky" Grass,
who had scored 43 goals, was sold to Blackburn Rovers
Finished runners up to
Nelson, by seven points, but for the 1st time won the
then coveted Lancashire Junior Cup, against Chorley after
2 replays, over 35,000 spectators watched the 3 games.
The ground was renamed Christie Park, after J B Christie
donated the land to the football club.
After only five seasons
Morecambe became Champions of the Lancashire Combination
with 55 points from 36 games. The club also reached the
final of the Combination Cup losing to Chorley 0-1.
Moved to Roseberry Park
, finished 5th from bottom, 26 points.
Joined Lancashire Combination
and played Fleetwood in 1st league game at Woodhill Lane
(shared with cricket club) losing 1-4 in front of 3,000
spectators. Finished the season 6th from the bottom with
25 points from 10 wins.
Club formed on 7th May 1920, after a meeting at the West View Hotel.