WE HAVE TO IN­VEST TO BE A BIG FISH!

Roche plea to new Shrimps chiefs

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Char­lie Peat

MORECAMBE’S time in the EFL has been more about sur­vival than pro­gres­sion – now hero goal­keeper Barry Roche has urged the club’s new own­ers to splash some cash.

The 36-year-old Ir­ish­man played a star­ring role as the Shrimps stayed up on the fi­nal day of the sea­son cour­tesy of a 0-0 draw with play-off con­tenders Coven­try, sur­viv­ing at the ex­pense of Bar­net on goal dif­fer­ence.

Morecambe have spent 11 years in League Two since pro­mo­tion from the Na­tional League but have only once made it into the top ten, fin­ish­ing fourth in 2010 be­fore los­ing to Da­gen­ham & Red­bridge in the play-offs.

But fol­low­ing the takeover by Bond Group In­vest­ments last week and with the Shrimps hav­ing pre­served their league sta­tus, Roche has his fin­gers crossed that Morecambe can make strides in the right di­rec­tion next term.

“There needs to be money in­vested in the club. It’s there for ev­ery­body to see,” the stop­per said. “We’ve had some money trou­bles in the last cou­ple of years and that has af­fected ev­ery­body. We’ve got a smaller bud­get than more or less ev­ery side in the di­vi­sion.

“If we’re to have a chance of be­ing more suc­cess­ful and mov­ing up the league, then we need to see money in­vested in the squad – it’s as sim­ple as that.”

Morecambe’s dark­est hours came in De­cem­ber 2016 when play­ers weren’t paid due to fi­nan­cial trou­bles but Roche says that only served to tighten dress­ing room unity at the Globe Arena.

“It’s been tough for ev­ery­body – play­ers and staff alike,” he said.

Fam­ily

“It’s been hard over the last few sea­sons but it’s brought ev­ery­body closer to­gether. It is a fam­ily club. Ev­ery­body on the pitch gets on re­ally well with the rest of the club.

“We’ve all been in the same boat and we’ve stuck to­gether. Around 18 months ago, it was re­ally tricky but that only gave ev­ery­one the re­silience to dig in.

“There’s two ways you can go when you’re not get­ting paid – you can down tools or you can dig in and fight, and there was no chance of us down­ing tools.”

The hard-earned 0-0 draw against the Sky Blues at the Ri­coh Arena last week­end was just what the doc­tor or­dered for the Shrimps, with Roche steal­ing the lime­light with a man-of-the-match dis­play be­tween the sticks.

But there was crit­i­cism aimed at both clubs, with claims that the sides played for the draw in the clos­ing stages. “Those com­ments are most likely from those who have gone down. It can be un­der­stand­able,” said Roche. “From our per­spec­tive, we’ve done a job to keep us in the Foot­ball League. Coven­try needed a draw and the longer the game went on, it would’ve been fool­ish for them to com­mit men for­ward and risk a play-off spot. “We were never go­ing to over­com­mit men for­ward in the last 30 min­utes and nei­ther were they. That’s just foot­ball.”

Con­tract

Fit­tingly, the pre­cious re­sult and clean sheet came in Roche’s 400th league ap­pear­ance in a Morecambe shirt.

His con­tract is up this sum­mer but he hopes to fin­ish his ca­reer at the club.

“I hope I’m stay­ing. I’ll find out more over the next week or so. There’s no way I want to leave,” he said. “I’d like to think I’ve done enough to earn my­self a con­tract but only time will tell. There’s quite a few of us out of con­tract.

“With­out a shadow of a doubt, I want to stay and I want to fin­ish my ca­reer here. I feel I have a good cou­ple of years left in me and I want those years to be at Morecambe.”

IN SAFE HANDS: Morecambe goal­keeper Barry Roche played a piv­otal role in pre­serv­ing the Shrimps’ sta­tus

WE’VE DONE IT: Morecambe play­ers cel­e­brate stay­ing up after their draw at Coven­try

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