WE HAVE TO INVEST TO BE A BIG FISH!
Roche plea to new Shrimps chiefs
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.
“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.”
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