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Club News

CEO Update | December 2022

2 December 2022

Another month has flown by and for the last time in 2022, I am penning an update on as many matters as I hope will be of interest to you;

Club Ownership
There was a slightly more comprehensive update last month, but in the interest of this being possibly the most prevalent topic on supporters minds right now, it is correct that I briefly update you on matters.

The Club Ownership remains with Bond Group who have publicly put the Club up for sale some months ago now. I understand that parties are making some progress in their discussions with Bond Group, but that remains an issue between those concerned and when there are any tangible and concrete developments that are confirmed with the Board, we will of course be able to offer a more detailed update.

This week, some of our eagle-eyed supporters have spotted a notice on Companies House that confirms 178,000 shares have been purchased. For clarity, these have been purchased by the ownership, Bond Group, as an injection relating to the ongoing and normal operation of the business. For us here at the Club, the objective remains the same which is to maximise what we can within our resource and continue to work as best as we possibly can towards the ongoing plan to become a sustainable and competitive League One Club.

EFL ‘Together’
Last week the EFL launched their ‘Together – Supporting Communities’ scheme. As a Club, we are 100% behind the campaign and are incredibly proud to already be offering a wide variety of community based support, prior to, during and long after the scheme is rightly in the spotlight. We completely understand our role as a significant establishment in our community and the impact that we can have on our people in the locality – the work that Community Sports do each and every day is testament to this and not only broadens the reach of the Morecambe FC brand, but more importantly, has a positive and real impact on the local community.

I don’t have enough space here to include everything they do, but we will be working hard moving forwards to help highlight the variety of projects they undertake, many of which people would not know about and would probably surprise one or two! At the moment, just a few of the initiatives that we have highlighted that we are running to support our people include; the most affordable season tickets in the EFL; the ‘Tenner on the Terraces’ campaign for Friday night's home match against Exeter City; we host Armed Forces Veterans coffee mornings each month; we also host Extra Time Over 50's coffee mornings every Friday.

This season in particular we have enjoyed hosting more free supporter events such as open training sessions, Christmas Party (watch this space) and our ongoing Foodbank collections at the Club, which are pushed extra hard at this time! These are to name only a few of the ongoing initiatives we engage in, but I think it is important to highlight the amazing work the team here and at Community Sports do.

Women’s Football
It is great to see the positivity surrounding bringing Women’s Football into the Morecambe FC family some months ago. Supporters have got behind and engaged with the enhanced coverage of the team’s activities, and we are certainly looking forward to developing the partnership as time progresses – it is important to get the basics in place and correct first – and it is fantastic to see strong performances and results particularly in the last month or so. This has enabled the team to climb up the table going into their home fixture vs Workington Reds Ladies which we are delighted will be held here at the Mazuma Stadium on Sunday 11 December, 2pm kick off.

Over 200 tickets have already been snapped up, so we can expect a really good turnout in support of the team, on what will no doubt be a memorable day. Hospitality options are available and with it being a Sunday, we have an opportunity to offer a roast dinner – what more could you want – football and a roast dinner all in the same place!

For more information and to buy your tickets, visit here.

Academy
The Academy have welcomed new staff in over the past month or so who have hit the ground running and really helped to increase our provision, particularly around Player Care and Safeguarding.

The Academy management team continue to work hard to improve the provision in place for all of our young players, whether that be facilities, coaching, player care & support, safeguarding, medical care, sport science amongst others. Our U18 scholars have had a good month, including two strong victories against Salford City & Stockport County in the past few weeks – so well done!

Damage at Away Stadia
It is with regret that I received correspondence from Lincoln City following our league fixture at the LNER Stadium a few weeks ago, reporting that toilets in the away end had been damaged over the course of the game. A similar report was passed back to us following the Accrington Stanley fixture earlier this season.

It is disappointing that this behaviour has occurred and is not in line with our values as a football club. Ultimately, we have done the right thing on both occasions and offered to pay for the repairs, which is certainly an outgoing cost that we could really do without, and it is so avoidable. The vast majority of our supporters are fantastic ambassadors for the Club, both home and away, which we greatly appreciate and value. To the mindless few who cause such damage and risk tarnishing the Club’s good name, you are not welcome and your behaviour is costing the Club in both reputation and financially.

I do sincerely hope that we do not see any repeats of this moving forwards and that we can continue to celebrate the wonderful support of the overwhelming majority.

Staff Movement
You may have seen the news this week that we have finalised the new look Medical team, now led by Oliver Howse in his role as Head of Medical & Performance. It is a deserved recognition of the strong work Olly has put in over a number of years at the Club and we look forward to working with him and his team moving forwards.

That team now also includes Jack Griffin in the role of First Team Senior Therapist, and we know we are in good hands (no pun intended) with the team that is in place. Harry Taylor will be moving on to pastures new following a great offer to progress his career following a number of highly successful years here at the Club. We would like to thank Harry for his valuable and much appreciated contribution and the best of luck in his future endeavours – no doubt one day he will be working in the Premier League! The recruitment process for Harry’s replacement is a long way on and we hope to make an appointment in the coming weeks following a round of interviews & presentations.

It gives me great pleasure to see the amount of personal and professional development that can been seen amongst our staff over a number of years now at the Club, with colleagues progressing through the Club and/or then going on to top quality opportunities – which we recognise will be the case and gives us great pride and in fact strengthens our hand when it comes to recruitment, as we can evidence how we can provide career progression and opportunities, all the while benefiting from the fantastic work that our colleagues offer. We have a number of colleagues who have joined the Club and are now in more senior roles within our structure, and have a growing list of those who move on to top Clubs, including in the Premier League. We will work hard to continue on this trajectory and continue to bring in and develop our people to be best of our abilities – which in turn benefits the Club and our supporters, especially given that we have to stretch and get the most out of our people here working in a relatively small team.

Final Points
In the interest of time, I’ll add the final items of note as bullet points below;

  • We are opening JB’s Bar this Sunday for the England vs Senegal World Cup fixtures, 7pm kick off following demand. Please support the Club where you can, get your free ticket online and enjoy the game with us.
  • You may notice that our Twitter handle has changed from ‘ShrimpsOfficial’ to ‘MorecambeFC’. This is a conscious decision we have taken to align all of our social media handles to improve search results and engagement with activity. We hope Instagram will follow suit shortly.
  • Some supporters have asked about half season tickets – we have decided not to sell these this season as we had offered the full season tickets throughout the summer at such competitive prices, and due to amazing sales, we are left with a limited number of seats and terrace tickets to sell on matchdays. We do need to maintain a level of matchday ticket revenue and income which is what the season ticket pricing scheme was based on, so we would have to offer half season tickets at the same price as full season tickets (or more in reality), which we don’t think is right – so that has been our rationale and we hope it pushes more people to purchase full season tickets next time around!
  • The annual supporter survey is open and live for a few days still – please take the time to complete as it is your feedback that helps shape and guide us and our decisions. Click here. 
  • We have a few events lined up pre Christmas which will be shared over the coming days, and we hope you are able to join us for one or more!

As always, your support is greatly appreciated with a big month on the pitch coming up, and opportunities to get much needed points on board.

UTS,

Ben


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