Guest

Writer

Band of Brothers” Part 2 by Mike Whalley

Mike Whalley at work

And then on to the artificial turf at Lancaster and Morecambe College, splendid facilities but not grass. Jim Bentley said the lack of grass for training was the biggest hindrance. In fact, two of the senior players used a small area of grass for their work-out, to avoid possible joint problems on the artificial area.

At the college, the squad put into practice Ken's drawing-board tactics. Split into a series of different training elements, controlled by Jim on the whistle, it quickly developed into a high-octane session, with little quarter given! Short, sharp passing (the type extolled by Ken back at the Globe), long diagonal balls, instant low crosses and a rasping shot on goal. Closing down players with the ball at speed and with aggression was another prominent feature of the morning.

The start of training on the artificial turf at the College

Ken, far left, Jim, central, and Chris Squirrell, right, go through the various routines, encouraging the players to give everything, concentrating on mental sharpness.

The camaraderie amongst the players stood out like a beacon of light and the laughter and banter showed a group of professionals hard at work.

Training at the Lancaster & Morecambe College
under the watchful eye of manager, Jim Bentley

And then it was back to the Globe for a well-earned energy-boosting helping of pasta and chicken followed by a muffin.

It was clear that here was a team that had probably grown even closer because of the troubles, a team united and committed, a band of brothers that had risen magnificently above the unseemly mess swirling around them.

Come on Morecambe!

Matt Rushton, club analyst: "Because we have so few players, they are all involved. The supporters' positive attitude has helped such a lot. The players are normal people, earning just as much as those on the terraces, and they feel loved now, which is important."

Matt Rushton - Analyst

Jim Bentley, first team manager: "We have got good supporters, although they have vented their frustration and anger. On the flip side, it has been positive, because they have got behind the players, who have performed well and given them something to shout about. The fans have been massive. Who knows, we might all be able to look back at this and think something positive came out of it. I remember the flooding last year when communities came together - I think we, too, will have forged a stronger bond."

Jim Bentley (Manager) & Ken McKenna (Assistant Manager)

Ken McKenna, first team assistant manager: "Everyone has been positive but it's been down to Jim, me and the staff to keep the lads focused on the bigger job. We have had to keep strong and keep picking up points."

Lee Jones, goalkeeping coach: "Hopefully, things are getting better. You just keep going; we have stuck together."

Chris Squirrell (Fitness coach) & Lee Jones (goalkeeping coach)

Chris Squirrell, fitness coach: "There are plenty of games and you just get on with it. There's no time to think about anything else. The support has been good, especially away. They understand what has been going on."

Senior player Kevin Ellison, who joined Morecambe in 2011 and turns 38 this month: "We have stuck together and this has been a major part of it. You obviously have a moan when you don't get paid, but this stops once you go over the white line, when you give your all. We could have sulked and thrown our dummies out of the pram but we are professionals and we represent the club and the fans. At the end of the day, you have to do it for yourself and your family. It's about personal pride."

Kevin Ellison receives his man of the match award from the
match sponsors after the victory over Notts County

Peter Murphy, team captain: "At the end of the day we enjoy playing football and, thankfully, we have been playing well. We are all in the same boat and help each other. I am proud to be captain and even more so at the moment.  We are hoping we can keep it going."

Peter Murphy (Club Captain)

© Soccer Nostalgia 2017

Design: David Ainsworth