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Stick or Twist: Morecambe and Derek Adams

The Scottish manager has a record with Morecambe of pulling them through tough circumstances towards improbable achievements. In his first tenure at the club, Adams was credited as the mastermind behind getting the Shrimps promotion to League One on the smallest budget in the entire EFL.

Following this success, Derek moved to Bradford City in search of a different challenge. This ended abruptly but the positive for Morecambe fans being that the Scot re-joined after Stephen Robinson jumped the ship he partially sunk. Derek Adams steered the ship to safety as he secured vital wins against Burton Albion, Oxford United and Charlton Athletic.

Given the pedigree he comes with, Adams was again entrusted with the squad for the 22/23 campaign to give the Shrimps safety. However, Morecambe have managed only one win in 13 games which only came as a result of a last-minute Farrend Rawson header against Forest Green Rovers. Five draws and seven losses place the Shrimps rock bottom of League One and face yet another season with their backs against the wall.

On top of the below-average form on show so far this season, Morecambe have been plagued with uncertainty with regards to the situation surrounding the current ownership at the club. Even Derek himself has expressed concern over the current lack of clarity and has praised the players for the work in this tumultuous time.

“The last month has been terrible. The worst time for me as a manager. Some of the things I can’t say on camera that has happened, there’s a lot of inner workings that have been very difficult. The players have shown how well they’ve coped with it.” Derek said in early October; “I’m worried off the pitch, not on the pitch at this moment in time. We need clarity to help us, but on the pitch, we should be doing better as well.”

What is of note is that these direct quotes were not included within any of the club’s official media channels or on Radio Lancs.

Given all this information and the situation it leaves the club in, would sacking Derek Adams now have any immediate effect on the players and their form? It is relatively well-documented how good Derek is at getting a lot more out of mediocre players and given the current group isn’t particularly blessed bar a few outliers it could be argued that the Scotsman is over-performing in his role. One of the notable candidates has been Dave Artell. The former centre-back was a Shrimps player for three years amassing 110 appearances. The biggest positive of Artell’s potential appointment is both his familiarity with the league and the club having also taken charge at Crewe Alexandria from 2017 up until their relegation last season following a damning 2-0 defeat to Doncaster Rovers.

Another name that has been floated about is Keith Hill. Another former player and local man, Hill has a significant level of experiences in EFL management having taken the helm at Rochdale, Barnsley, Bolton Wanderers, Tranmere Rovers and most recently Scunthorpe. What is interesting to note I that Keith’s name was floated about when Jim Bentley left the club for AFC Fylde back in October 2019. Although his experience is clear, the 7.5% in his most recent managerial stint is laughable for any team.

Despite the poor form, Derek remains in a job for now and only time will tell what the right move for the club to make is. Hill and Artell are only potential candidates should the board see it fit to sack Adams and that uncertainty regarding the ownership means even that process could become lethargic and slow and so any decisiveness from the BoD should not be expected. Personally, I feel as if Adams should be given just a bit more time, many times in football we have seen that the grass is not always greener, and should we sack Derek now it won’t necessarily guarantee any major upturn in form. This being said, many managers have lost their jobs for much less in clubs stuck in similar situations to Morecambe’s.

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