Jim Bentley resigns as Morecambe FC manager

October 28, 2019

Jim Bentley has resigned as manager of Morecambe Football Club.

A statement from the Shrimps' board confirmed that they had accepted the club legend's resignation with "great sadness".

Bentley has been named the new manager of AFC Fylde.

Senior players Barry Roche and Kevin Ellison have taken temporary charge at the Globe Arena, assisted by head of academy coaching John McMahon.

Assistant manager Ken McKenna and goalkeeping coach Lee Jones have also resigned. 

Bentley, 43, had been the longest-serving manager in the English Football League having taken over as Shrimps boss from Sammy McIlroy in May 2011.

Bentley was previously captain of Morecambe when they gained promotion to the Football League at Wembley in 2007.

Speaking to the AFC Fylde YouTube channel, Bentley said: "It's been a very difficult decision but I'm making it for the right reasons.

"It's been an emotional couple of days. I've gone from one football club and a 17-and-a-half year marriage, get divorced and then ended up in the afternoon getting married again to something new.

"I've got a lot of good friends at Morecambe, friends that I'll have for a lifetime and I've thoroughly enjoyed my time there and I'm pleased with what I've achieved there but I've come to a new venture now which I'm looking forward to.

"This is a different challenge and one I'm looking forward to. 

"We tried to get ourselves up the table at Morecambe but it's been a very very difficult job. But I'm proud of the job that I've done there."

A Morecambe FC board statement said: "It is with great reluctance that we have accepted the resignation of Jim Bentley today.

"Jim has stated his desire to take on a new challenge and it is only right that we honour his wish after the service he has given this club.

"He has been an amazing servant for us as player, captain and manager and has deservedly gained a fantastic reputation throughout the game for what he has achieved with the club.

"We cannot thank him enough for his contribution to the club over the years and it goes without saying he will always be welcome at the Globe Arena.

"Jim's name is synonymous with Morecambe and he has always had the very best interests of the club at heart, playing and managing with great pride, honour and integrity and he departs with the best wishes of everyone connected with the Shrimps.

"Our efforts are now focused on appointing a new manager as soon as possible and that process starts immediately."

In a second statement on Monday afternoon, the board said: “We would like to place on record our thanks to both Ken and Lee for their fantastic contributions to the club over the past seven years alongside Jim Bentley.

“They all worked incredibly hard as a team to develop the club and we wish them well for the future.

"The club has asked Kevin Ellison and Barry Roche to oversee first team affairs with the support of John McMahon.

“All three individuals have great experience in the game, are highly respected by the players and staff and know the club well.’’

Bentley joined Morecambe FC in 2002 and made 298 appearances and scored 29 goals for the Shrimps.

A no-nonsense defender and natural leader on the pitch, he was made club captain and later player-coach.

After becoming manager, the Liverpudlian earned praise for keeping Morecambe in the Football League on a shoestring budget.

A much-loved figure both at the club and in the wider town, Bentley and his assistant Ken McKenna also gained plaudits for their dignity during the club's ownership crisis of 2016/17 when players and staff were paid late on several occasions due to financial problems at the club.

Jim was also heavily involved in the Morecambe community, often appearing with the players in the Morecambe Carnival parade and in 2017 he was named the town's Ambassador of the year by The Visitor newspaper.

After fans clubbed together to pay Bentley's fine after he was sent to the stands during a game in 2017, he repaid them by serving them over 2,000 free pies at a home game.

However this season has been a struggle for Morecambe with the Shrimps currently bottom of League Two.

AFC Fylde play in the National League, a tier below Morecambe FC. The club sacked Dave Challinor as manager earlier this month.