Morecambe... what does it stir in the mind? Seaside? Sandy beach? Eric and Ernie?
For me it’s of course Morecambe FC, otherwise know as the Shrimpers.
As I’ve said already in previous blogs, being in League Two allows us Poolies to visit new towns and some old towns with new grounds. Morecambe drops nicely into the new town with a new ground category having moved into their present home in 2010. Formed in 1921, this is their sixth season in the football league after gaining promotion after beating Exeter City in the Conference Playoff final 2-1 at Wembley.
The journey over to Morecambe follows the typical Hartlepool to the Lake District route, very scenic I must admit no matter what time of year you travel.
On arriving at the Globe Stadium you can’t help but be impressed by the frontage. Crisp, clean and one of those big “Welcome To” signs, very nice! Behind that frontage is a main stand. Plenty of car parking here right around the ground. There’s also the obligatory pub beside the ground, the kind you see at most new grounds now. You can park here for the game and get the cost of parking taken from the value of your meal should you eat there.
The main stand holds the usual mixture of offices, dressing rooms and medical rooms with the dugouts also situated in this stand. Looking at the pitch and to the left of the tunnel is the away goal end terracing and to the right the travelling fans covered terracing, both of which run the full length of the goal line.
No skimping on concrete here! Where most people would think Morecambe have let themselves down is the full length, five row high open terrace running along the opposite touchline. This lets what is a tidy ground down a little, however, I understand it was at the request of the fans. Nice thought for the summer but I reckon they head for cover during winter games.
The only major criticism I have with this ground was the state of the pitch. It is far from the best condition, too many bumps and lumps for my liking with the odd mud trap lurking here and there.
Being a holiday fixture, this game was bound to attract a fair number of travelling Poolies even if it was hot on the heels of the away game in Chesterfield on Boxing Day. The pulling power of Morecambe managed to get in excess of 400 Poolies which accounted for around a quarter of the fans in the ground, magnificent support I’m sure you’ll agree. The Poolies sang louder and chanted harder than the Morecambe fans throughout the game with the noise absolutely deafening when Jonathan Franks scored his late winner right in front of the away fans, and oh how they celebrated.