After what feels like an eternity since our last fixture here at the Mazuma Stadium, I am writing to you ahead of a packed fixture schedule going into the winter months.
First of all, congratulations are in order for Cole Stockton, who has picked up just about every award going over the last month – fully deserved and a testament to himself, Stephen and the team, for the hard work that has gone on so far this season.
We have some big games coming up, both home and away, and your support as always will be invaluable in helping us pick up points in the league, and hopefully progress in the FA Cup. It is time again to update you on what has been happening off the pitch, and some developments that will take shape in the coming weeks;
We have lift off! Work started last week on the new roof area behind the Bartercard Terrace.
The development will be phased around home fixtures to ensure we are able to cause minimal disruption to matchday operations, whilst pushing for the works to be completed in a timely fashion.
We have had the holes dug out where the steel supports will stand, and these will be piled this week. We are hoping to have the steel supports in place ahead of Saturday, where works will have to hold until next week.
We will then need to install the roof beams, then fit the sheets around the structure. Finally, we will have the electrics and lighting installed, along with re housing the CCTV cameras and speaker system internally.
The busy schedule does make everything a little more complicated, including the home draw in the FA Cup, but we are hoping the project will be complete during November. Thank you once again to everyone who has supported the scheme over the years, and we are pleased to be delivering on the promises made.
Most supporters will be aware of the ongoing challenges with organising away travel. Charlie Edwards, of the Boardwalk Pub in Morecambe, had arranged a number of coaches to Wembley in the summer, and to our opening away fixtures this season, but operational challenges have put an end to this.
We are grateful to Charlie and his team for their endeavours, that have allowed numerous supporters opportunity to watch the Shrimps at Wembley and at the start of our first season in Sky Bet League One – memories no one can take away.
I understand alongside this, we have various groups of supporters who arrange their own travel on coaches, minibuses and private transport, along with a number of supporters who use public transport to get across the country to back the team, for which we again are incredibly grateful.
Our friends at the Shrimps Trust organise coach travel to as many games as is practical, including a number of fixtures so far this season – so thank you again to all concerned.
In the absence of coach travel being available to the Wycombe Wanderers fixture a few weeks ago, Rod Taylor and some of his fellow directors arranged transport late in the day to help supporters to get down there.
Unfortunately, when the club arranges official travel, there is an awful lot of red tape and boxes we must tick in order to run coaches. We were delighted to get a number of Shrimps fans to the game, but this was at a personal financial cost to the directors, which is not a sustainable option in the long term.
As a result, we must look forwards with regards to away travel, in order to find a workable solution to accommodate what we all want – club, staff, players and supporters – which is ultimately as many Shrimps fans able to watch all of our games home and away.
I met with the Shrimps Trust last week for our regular monthly meeting, with away travel on the agenda. There are some practical challenges for the Trust in committing to run coaches to all away fixtures, but we have agreed between us that we will support the Trust in whatever way possible, including stewarding and administrative software for bookings, with a view that if the demand is there, and it is practical, then they will look to arrange coaches to as many away fixtures as possible.
To this end, I understand that the Shrimps Trust have circulated an expression of interest form to their members for upcoming away fixtures, and I would urge anyone who would be looking to travel via coach to our games, to respond positively to this. If you are not yet a member of the Shrimps Trust, it would be great to get signed up – full details on how to become a member are available on their website - shrimpstrust.co.uk/membership
We are all committed to finding a workable solution – it may just take a little time!
We have been fortunate to recruit some very talented colleagues over the last month – nearly all of whom are now in post. Adele Laffan has joined our front of house, and is on hand to answer all of your enquiries and point you in the right direction for any information you may require.
Anya Wood has joined as Ticket Office Manager and has been working tirelessly to improve the ticketing system, sharpening up the online ticket portal and has managed to get tickets for all upcoming fixtures, home and away, available in good time.
Owen Lambert and Natalie Lawson have joined our retail operation – and have given the Club Shop a much needed bit of TLC – we have managed to rearrange and freshen the supporter facing areas up, with additional new stock available, and we hope a much improved shopping experience.
Take a look at our new ranges via ticketsmorecambefc.com/packages/LZEmOKzmpW/e/l3R8g4avBY
We are delighted to have our new colleagues on board, and we are already benefitting from the impact they are making. We will continue to look to improve across all departments – including our online presence, where we have big plans looking ahead. We also have appointed a new Head of Finance, who we will introduce to supporters once they have taken up post at the start of November!
We have just signed off on a new online retail store, which will replace the current system. This should be much more supporter friendly and again, we would hope, allow for a better experience for you when you interact. We aim to have this up and running for the start of the New Year.
We have a big game Tuesday evening at Cheltenham Town, who were promoted last season alongside ourselves. Thank you to our supporters who will make the long journey and support the team – it is greatly appreciated by all.
Following this, we play Plymouth Argyle back at the Mazuma Stadium on Saturday – it seems like a lifetime since we last played here! We would urge supporters to buy their tickets in advance of the fixture, which can be bought in the club shop, over the phone or ideally, online.
Hopefully we are backed by another bumper crowd – I am sure Plymouth will travel in numbers as they always do – and at home, you are our 12th player – please urge your friends, family, colleagues and all to buy their ticket for this clash if they haven’t already – it will be one not to miss! Tickets can be bought via ticketsmorecambefc.com/
The Shrimps Trust have arranged for a bucket collection outside the stadium ahead of the fixture, in aid of Morecambe Bay Foodbank & Lancashire Mind. I’m sure those who are in a position to do so, will generously donate to these worthy causes.
I think it is pertinent to remind our supporters that all under 14's must be accompanied by a responsible person aged 18 or over for any fixture at the Mazuma Stadium.
Due to our ongoing commitment to safeguarding children, we will not permit entry to any person under the age of 14 who is unaccompanied. We require under 14’s to be directly supervised at all times whilst in the stadium, ultimately to ensure the safety and enjoyment for all of our young supporters. Your co-operation on this matter is appreciated.
Looking ahead, we also have drawn a tasty fixture in the FA Cup, at home to Newport County – I don’t think anyone will forget what happened the last time we met! The FA will confirm this week arrangements for any televised fixtures, and once the selections are known, they will confirm the date and kick off time for all First Round fixtures.
As soon as we have this information, we will let you know – we will also have ticketing information by this point and will pass this on to you – I would envisage this will be the start of next week.
As we move into the winter months, we continue to look at ways in which we can improve and develop across the club. We have come a long way since promotion and the challenges, along with the brilliant opportunities, that this has presented – and all the while we have been moving things around internally and developing the team of staff we have here.
Whilst short term wins are achievable and taken advantage of – I, alongside our brilliant team, are looking at the bigger picture, and our medium and long term growth strategy as a club. We have a robust and aspirational plan in place, with clear objectives which we can measure against on an ongoing basis.
All of our colleagues are mindful of this – and we will continue to look to improve day-on-day, week-on-week and so on. Your feedback will help shape what avenues we go down, and further information on how we will look to obtain your views, including some fan led events, will follow over the coming weeks and months.
Thank you for your support as always,