Football! What a month (and last few weeks) it has been!
I would firstly like to take this opportunity to thank both Stephen Robinson and Diarmuid O’Carroll for their hard work during their time at the Club – we had a fantastic working relationship and I absolutely believe we are in a better place for having spent the time with them and allowed them to drive improvement and change across the infrastructure of the Club, which are the building blocks for the future success that we aim to achieve.
Everything happens for a reason, and I wish them all the best at St. Mirren and am sure that they will also achieve future successes.
In the blink of an eye, Derek Adams is back at the helm and, following his outstanding achievements with us last season, it is fantastic to have him back at the Club. We have a solid plan now developed, which means that despite any changes and ‘organised chaos’ that can occur from time-to-time, which of course is the very nature of football, we can continue to move forwards in a clear and focused manner no matter what the circumstances are.
This is particularly important given the final two months of the season that we have ahead of us – 12 more huge fixtures that we are excited to attack, during which your support, as we have said all season, will be integral to us succeeding in the challenge. As I’m sure you would imagine, yet again, it’s been a busy month at the Club – just how we like it!;
Supporter Survey & Focus Workshop
Thank you all for your feedback via our Supporter Survey. Following the overwhelming number of responses, we have decided that the prize draw will offer five opportunities to win a signed shirt – not the initial one we had planned. The draw took place last month and winners have been contacted to obtain their prize. I’m sure the names of the winners will be published in due course, subject to their agreement!
Following the survey, we held a Fan Focus Workshop at the Club on Monday 21 February – again thank you to all who applied and attended the session. The feedback we received was incredibly valuable to ‘bring to life’ the results of the survey and allowed us to understand and expand upon the numbers and comments received during the process. I hope that those who attended also felt value in the session, and it is certainly something we intend to continue moving forwards.
The headline results, comments and ultimately what we intend to do to address the feedback has now been collated by Anya Wood, and we will be publishing this very soon so that all of our supporters can see the direction in which we will be going - and we can be held accountable to what you, our fans, are asking of us.
There are of course some suggestions that regularly appeared during the survey which unfortunately, for a number of reasons, we are unable to implement. Again, some of the most common ones will be highlighted and our reasons for not pursuing them outlined.
Again, we do not wish for this to be a ‘one-off’ flash in the pan – this will become a regular (likely twice a year survey) exercise that will allow us to continually monitor feedback and develop our plans accordingly.
It would be remiss of me to not address some the issues we experienced at the home fixture versus Bolton Wanderers at the Mazuma Stadium. The day can only be described as unique and challenging, unfortunately in the main for the ‘wrong’ reasons. The Club had worked with all relevant authorities in the lead up to the day of the game, as is common practice, and our safety team had planned thoroughly.
As our supporters know, some of the incidents that occurred that day were unsavoury and tested us greatly. Our ticketing team worked tirelessly to ensure that supporters were only able to obtain match tickets in the appropriate areas, which was an overwhelming success.
Disappointingly, a very small number of supporters who met the home ticket purchase criteria sold match tickets on to away supporters, which led to a very small number of away supporters entering home sections of the stadium. The ‘home’ supporters who sold these tickets will receive lifetime bans from the Mazuma Stadium.
We do not accept the integrity of our matchday planning and operations to be undermined in this way, which could lead to safety issues. Furthermore, some elements of the day, in terms of the operational strategy, is beyond the Clubs’ control and lessons are to be learnt moving forwards to ensure we improve, as is our objective across each and every department.
At our monthly meeting with our friends at the Shrimps Trust, we discussed some specific elements in further detail, and I hope that my responses have satisfied our supporters on that front. As is standard, we conducted a post-match debrief and review, both internally and with the relevant authorities, and we use the day as a learning opportunity.
Since the fixture, we have hosted Gillingham and most recently Ipswich Town, with another bumper crowd, made up of large numbers of both home and away fans, and it was so pleasing to see the day go smoothly with impeccable support from everyone who attended – a credit to the EFL.
I would like to thank our Clubs’ stewards and safety team who perform a largely thankless task right at the forefront of matchday operations, ensuring that matchday’s can go ahead and all supporters can attend safely.
As is public knowledge, there is a Police investigation ongoing in regard to a specific alleged incident from the day, and at this moment in time, our position remains the same – we will not comment on the matter until the conclusion of the investigation. Once that has been concluded we will issue a further statement.
Two Stories Partnership
As revealed last month, we have now launched our partnership with Two Stories, a local based brand consultancy, and work is now well underway between us.
Club staff attended a workshop with the team at Two Stories last Friday to really delve into some powerful conversations surrounding the supporter feedback and how we can harness this into our brand moving forwards.
We are extremely excited to have Two Stories on board and I am certain that the partnership will help us ‘knit’ together everything we do across the Club. For our supporters, the most noticeable difference will be seen over the coming months and into next season – this is a long-term partnership that will help us with some ‘quick’ fixes, but most importantly small and consistent improvements over a period of time.
Memorial Garden/Derek Quinn
Derek Quinn, our Club's programme editor and Community Sports Trustee is undertaking an amazing challenge - to walk a million steps this month, to raise money for a memorial garden at the Mazuma Stadium.
Starting on Tuesday, Quinny will need to average 15-16 miles a day, every day. Plans are being drawn up for the Memorial Garden, which will be a joint venture between the Club and Shrimps Trust and will offer a respectful area in which supporters will have the opportunity to honour those close to them and/or the Club at the Mazuma Stadium.
We will circulate the plans to our supporters once finalised for any feedback before we press on with the project. Of course, we would like to do a great job, so fundraising will be required and Quinny’s challenge should be a huge contribution to the costs of the scheme.
The Club and Shrimps Trust will work together to push the fundraising efforts of anyone and everyone who wishes to support this initiative! If you are in a position to do so, you can donate to Quinny’s challenge here.
It is with great sadness that last week, we learnt of the passing of a Legend of the Club, Ken Ormrod. I did not have the pleasure of meeting Ken, but everyone who you come across speaks so highly of Ken, and we will be forever thankful for the impact he had on the Club over a number of decades.
A minutes silence in honour of Ken was held at our game against Ipswich Town on Saturday and was impeccably observed by all. I would again reiterate that everyone at Morecambe Football Club would like to send our condolences to Ken's family and friends at this time.
Firstly, I would like to apologise to our supporters for this project taking longer than it should do, and we hoped for. There have been a number of challenges, which are still on-going in regards to the build.
The team are working non-stop to solve these challenges and get it done and dusted. The weather at the Gillingham fixture was atrocious and you should have been able to use the cover to enjoy the offer behind the Bartercard Terrace, but the delays on our side have not allowed this. We will absolutely get it done, it is a critical priority (ironic that the sun has started shining again now!) and I hope to be sat here at my next update inviting you to enjoy a drink underneath it!
Alongside this, and various smaller projects that have been ongoing, you may have noticed that we have made improvements to the gantry, which are now properly clad and covered and befitting of a Club at our level.
As I started this update with, in the blink of an eye things can crop up and take us in a new direction. This is the case with the Club Shop, where over the last few weeks, some incredibly exciting developments have been made, which we will share with you as soon as we can! The website is now ready to go live (bar a photo, word or two here and there), but we will link the launch in with the news we can’t wait to publish! Keep your eye on this – it won’t disappoint!
Over the last month, following the feedback in the supporter survey, we have made changes to how tickets are sold on matchdays – moving out of the Shop completely and over to the Ticket Office.
We are conscious that the changes won’t be perfect for everyone, but the overwhelming majority of feedback has been positive – the Shop is now clear for supporters to browse our merchandise – and queue times are streamlined across the stadium.
We would still encourage all supporters who can, to buy their tickets online via ticketsmorecambefc.com in advance of fixtures, both home and away, as huge improvements to the system have been made by Anya and the team this season, and I am now confident that the system is fit for use, convenient to supporters (postage option available on all away ticket sales now) and by far the easiest way to buy tickets in seconds!
Any issues or feedback you wish to offer is always welcome via email@example.com – Anya and the team are always on hand to assist!
Focus must now turn entirely to the here, now and future - we have 12 games left to secure our status as a League One football club and we will give Derek, John Mc & the team every tool within our means to achieve this over the next eight weeks.
Everyone at the Club will play their part, not least our supporters who have been outstanding and shown us support at times, particularly when we have been really tested.
Thank you all once again and I can’t express how ‘up for it’ we all are to get the job done.