On Thursday evening, Derek Adams’ Shrimps edged out their first leg of the League Two Play Offs at Prenton Park 2-1. It was a game in which the visitors defended more than they attacked, that was their game plan and the manager’s plans were met by his strong resilient Morecambe team. However, there is still a second leg left to play. Sunday lunchtime, on Sky Sports cameras with everything left to fight for. Thus, I spoke to one of the hosts’ fans in the form of Jack Steel who went into depth about his personal experiences and thoughts of the club’s on and off pitch positions as well as many other relevant subject topics.
How long have you been a Morecambe supporter and how did you first find out about them?
I have been a season ticket holder since 2001 when the Club used to give free season tickets to primary school leavers. It worked – as I am still here 20 years later!
Considering where the club finished last season, how successful has this season been and what are the key reasons behind this quick improvement?
It has been an incredible turnaround which started in October 2019 with Derek Adam’s appointment. At that point we were bottom of the league, so while we “finished” in a low position last year – we had improved considerably from January 2020 when Derek was able to make some shrewd signings.
How significant has Derek Adams been?
Hugely significant. The timing of Jim Bentley leaving was right for all parties and Derek has brought new ideas which has freshened the team and Club up from top to bottom. That has paid dividends, and it has brought new excitement to the entire Club.
What players will pose the greatest threats to Tranmere on Sunday? Thursday evening made it clear how much the Shrimps squad work for each other and there are some quality players for this level.
While there are stand out players who could pose a threat, the strength of our squad is its depth. We have two players for every position and for most we would be no weaker whoever played. Carlos Mendes Gomes is a threat as our joint top scorer, but as Thursday showed, goals can come from all over the pitch.
What is your score prediction for the second leg and do you think your playing style will change much from the initial meeting in midweek?
Our playing style hasn’t changed all season and it won’t change on Sunday. Whatever people think of it, it is effective and that shows in our home form this season. I would like to see us win the home tie with another 2-1 win.
What were your thoughts on the game on Thursday? Were there any Tranmere players that made you nervous across the course of the ninety minutes and how would you analyse your team’s performance?
Tranmere had the brighter player at the start of the game, but things settled down and I thought we were largely in control. We are happy to let other teams have much of the possession, but when we do have it, we are effective. James Vaughan is undoubtedly the main threat for Tranmere so I was pleased when he left the field. Overall, I thought we played an effective away performance.
Random fact about the Morecambe? (The place or the club itself)
Heavyweight champion Tyson Fury lives in the Morecambe area and has acquired and set up a boxing academy which is in the corner of the Mazuma Stadium.
Proudest moment as a fan?
Promotion to the Football League at Wembley in May 2007. It was very much the big ambition in the years preceding and to actually do it with a win at the (then) new Wembley stadium, was an incredible moment.
What is your opinion on Tranmere and how do you think they played throughout the first leg?
The most noticeable thing from the first leg was the number of veterans that were in the team; players who me and my friends were recalling from football manager in the 2010’s. Clearly that equates to a lot of experience. It will be interesting to see how you react on Sunday with needing to overcome the 1 goal advantage we have.
Given the recent departure of Rovers manager Keith Hill, did you become more nervous when considering who you’d be coming up next?
I think it is always in your mind that a manager change could lead to a boost for the team you are playing, however strange the decision was to the outside world. The advantage would have been that if Tranmere supporters were frustrated by Keith Hill’s playing style, it might have helped us if they got on the team’s back in the first leg. That has been and gone now.
Regardless of your fate in the playoffs, what would you like to see happen in the summer, in terms of the recruitment process?
Our main concern will be retaining the players we have. Clearly our final standing will attract the attention of clubs from higher divisions and we cannot compete on player wages. If we do that and make a few key additions, I have no doubt that we will continue to be a good side at this level or the one above.
Thank you very much for talking to me!
Shrimps gaffer Derek Adams has been ‘hugely significant’ as he has brought ‘a great new excitement’ to all areas of the club.