Ahead of Tuesday night’s game against Morecambe, I spoke to Dave Salmon.
Hi Dave, you do the commentary for Morecambe on their iFollow channel and talk on the Shrimps Live Podcast. Could you tell us how and when you started both of these roles?
This is my second spell covering Morecambe. I originally did so between 2007 and 2013, and came back to front the commentary coverage at the start of the 2021/22 season. We launched the Shrimps Verdict podcast at the same time.
What have been some of your best and worst memories following the club?
Promotion into the Football League in 2007, and then into League One for the first time in the club’s history in 2021 will never be beaten. There have been some great away days too, going to superb stadiums such as Hillsborough, Pride Park and Portman Road, it’s the stuff that fans could only dream about a few years ago.
There have been low points too. Relegation struggles to stay in the league, and being relegated away from home back onto League Two on the final day of last season, when a win would have kept us up.
Could you start us off by giving us a random fact about Morecambe? (The place/The area).
The Beatles played a gig in Morecambe just a few weeks before they had their first number one single in 1962.
Morecambe were relegated from League One last season and currently stand 10th after twelve games, winning six this league season. What were the key factors behind the relegation?
Budget, simply. It was just as big an achievement to stay up for a second season in League One, but lack of investment simply meant that despite best efforts, the squad just fell short. A little more investment in the January transfer window may have made the difference.
This summer saw a lot of change. Two of the many that were recruited included striker Charlie Brown from Cheltenham and midfielder Yann Songo’o from Bradford City. How impressed were you with the club’s business?
The club signed 16 players in the summer after our financial issues meant we had to release everyone under contract and couldn’t offer new deals to existing players. We have trusted in youth, with many new players aged between 19 and 22, in the form of permanent signings and loans. Many have already caught the eye.
The Shrimps are managed by Derek Adams. The 48-year-old who was a midfielder in his playing days, spending all but one year up in Scotland for clubs such as Motherwell and Ross County, was re-appointed in February 2022 after a short spell at Valley Parade with Bradford City. How happy were you with the appointment? How good would you say his relationship is with the fans and how exciting is his style of play to watch?
Derek is the perfect manager for us and is pretty much universally admired by the fan base. He took us into League One for the first time in out history and is arguably the only person who could deal with the turmoil behind the scenes, while building a quality, exciting side on a shoestring on the pitch.
Our playing style is soak up pressure, keep our shape, and hit on the counter with pace, and on our game, is superb to watch.
How do you believe he will set up his side for the game on Tuesday night? (Tactics/Formation/Starting eleven).
We’re usually 4-2-3-1. We have a few injury doubts from the weekend, a suspension and a longer term injury. Our first choice keeper is the most likely absentee. So I’d imagine it will be: Smith; Senior, Rawson, Bedeau, Tutonda; Love, McKiernan; Bloxham, Major, Slew; Mellon
Adams’ bosses are Co-Chairmen Graham House and Rod Taylor. They joined in November 2018 as the club were taken over by Bond Group investments, a company that operate primarily in the venture capital and private equity sectors. How well are they running the club? What are the current exciting projects, if any?
That’s not quite correct. Graham and Rod have been on the board for many years, they weren’t bought in by the current owner. The situation is unusual in that the owner of the club isn’t on the board, and those who run the club excellently on a day to day basis have little say in financial aspects. The club is run on the lowest budget in the league, and has been up for sale for around a year.
Rovers legend Micky Mellon has his son playing for Morecambe, he – Michael – is the side’s top scorer with seven goals and an assist in twelve outings. The 19-year-old is on loan from Burnley. How good is he and who are the other ones to watch?
He’s going to be an excellent player and play at a very high level. He’s already one of the best strikers in the division and will only continue to improve. He has an all round game. A number of other players have also impressed. These include midfielder JJ McKiernan, fresh from a hat trick two games ago, academy graduate Adam Mayor, and right winger Tom Bloxham. All of these will cause Tranmere big problems at the back.
Focusing on another link, striker Cole Stockton had an excellent time at Morecambe between 2019 and 2023 netting 52 goals in 153. How good was he and was it the right time for him to leave?
Cole was instrumental in our promotion season, and then his 26 goals were a major reason we stayed up in our first season. He was undoubtedly one of the best forwards we’ve had in our history. He wanted to leave before the start of last season, but for various reasons stayed, and was always going to leave in the summer. We wish him all the best.
Rovers, according to 11v11.com, have faced Morecambe on ten occasions. Tranmere have won half of the meetings, Morecambe have won three. The last time the two clubs came head to head was in 2021 as Adam’s men progressed through to the League Two Play-Off Final where they would go on to win. How special was that period of time and what do you believe the score prediction will be this time round?
The play offs were a special time for us and the semi final had particular importance as it was when fans were just being allowed back into stadiums post lockdown.
This time out, it’s two completely different teams and set ups. We’re unbeaten in six and unbeaten at home in the league all season. If we play anywhere near our level, we should comfortably get all three points.
Finally, what are your thoughts on Tranmere? The Whites, being guided by interim Nigel Adkins, are evidently struggling as they find themselves near the bottom of the division.
I get the impression you are an underperforming side, perhaps in a false position. You desperately need clarity on the managerial situation and I would want Adkins on a permanent basis after perhaps a mistake following Micky Mellon’s departure. I think you have plenty to be fine this season but we’ll be looking to take full advantage tomorrow.