Chris Durning from the Baradin website chose to spend his New Year in Morecambe…Don’t ask…
“Bring me Sunshine” goes the song most associated with the seaside town of Morecambe, yet typical british weather decided otherwise as the rain lashed down on my Fiat Grande Punto on the long journey to Lancashire from the East Midlands. The final match of 2011 for Burton on whats been a memorable year for the Brewer’s, a last gasp giant-slaying of Middlesbrough in the F.A cup, securing football league status for the second season running and now Albion find themselves battling amongst the divisions top six for a dream ticket to League One.
Still there was the small matter of an away tie before all that due to take place at the brand spanking new Globe Arena, the Shrimp’s residence after leaving Christie Park in 2009. Arriving in Morecambe is one of the easier drives to an away ground in the country with a few car parks surrounding the stadium and street parking a-plenty. Car parked it was time to brave the elements and head to see one of Morecambe’s main attractions, the statue of the towns most famous son, Eric Morecambe.
One half of legendary comedy duo Morecambe and Wise (i’ll leave it up to you to guess which one) Eric’s statue is surrounded by a Hollywood walk-of-fame style arrangement with stars depicting famous names that have appeared on the pair’s chat show’s over the years, well worth a look if you’re ever up in this part of the country, on the other hand from riches to rags the town appears a shadow of its former pomp in its heyday of years gone by and in parts has the appearance of a delapidated seaside resort that once owned a large slice of Britain’s tourist trade.
Culture absorbed and round two of being battered by the most torrential rain i’ve ever experienced later, I’d made it to the stadium. On first impressions there doesn’t seem a lot around the ground, other than a caravan park and desolate space only magnifying the sheer lack of fans in the area half an hour prior to kick off. Once through the turnstiles onto the Bay Radio terrace, I nestled in with the quite brilliant travelling support who had made the long journey north from Staffordshire. I’d read in a quite brilliant book, featured on this website in fact, about the credentials of Morecambe’s pies and armed with this information I concluded that it would be criminal not to part with £2.50 for a plate of meat and potato heaven, safe to say it did not disappoint. For a football league club, Morecambe are definately Premiership for pies. Wearer’s of Bench clothing or those who love a bargain may also be interested in a trip to the Globe Arena as the clothing line has its own section in the club shop at 50% off the recommended retail price.
The design of the stadium is almost identical to the Pirelli Stadium at Burton with the floodlights long and stalky and the two terraces of similar stature and facility, however the subtle difference comes in the shape of the North terrace to the right of the away support, its almost as if the ‘stand’ was built on a friday at 4:45pm with the builders installing four row’s and a wall before knocking off for the day, a slight let down on the overall appearance of the ground. The Albion support got behind their team from the off, pushing for promotion against a Morecambe side struggling at home after a derby defeat to Accrington Stanley (who are they?). However it was the home side who forced the early running with Andy Fleming forcing a finger-tip save from Burton ‘keeper Ross Atkins. Slightly against the run of play the Shrimp’s took the lead through Lewis Allessandra’s curling effort clipping the post on the way past a helpless Atkins, 1-0 and the away support temporarily silenced.
Morecambe’s home support soon came to life, as it was discovered that in stark similarity to Sheffield Wednesday, they had their own brass band behind the goal. Considering there were only 1,810 people in the ground the atmosphere more than made up for it. It wasn’t long before Burton’s pressure told and as Billy Kee lined up a free-kick Roberto Carlos style, his thundering effort took a huge deflection past Barry Roche in the Morecambe goal to level the scores. The rain by this point was worse than ever as a catalogue of errors blighted both teams “Get back on that beach…….with the rest of the donkeys!” one bloke shouted from the back of the stand, causing a ripple of laughter across the terrace.
The beauty of being at League two stadiums is that generally you are within touching distance of the players and can therefore hear everything thats being said and pick up on all the little things that the officials are missing. On this occasion we focused on Morecambe’s afro-bearing striker Jason Price (looking a little like a lower league Marouaine Fellani) involved in a tussle with Brewer’s centre half Nathan Stanton, pushing, shoving and handbags were exchanged before Price picked up a booking for a cynical foul on the touchline causing injury to Stanton’s shoulder. This prompted an outburst of abuse from the travelling yellow and black army from the original ‘Get your hair cut’ to the slightly more advanced ‘Pricey, you’re a twat!’
With Burton growing in confidence a second goal was looking all the more likely and it came early in the second half thanks to birthday boy Calvin Zola with a header from inside the six-yard area. Barry Roche looking nearly as frustrated as when keeping goal for Nottingham Forest in a game against Derby County he was outfoxed by a combination of Paul Peschisolido (now managing Burton of course) and a plastic coffee cup, resulting in a hilarious miskick and a Derby goal, he was frequently reminded throughout the afternoon.
The Shrimp’s would not lie down despite the Albion pressure and a 25-yarder from Gary Mcdonald ensured that the points were shared. Whilst squelching away from the stadium, in what had now become marshland, I concluded that it had been a brilliant day out, four goals, free parking and the most famous pie in the country, Happy new year!