Former Morecambe boss Jim Bentley has been confirmed as AFC Fylde’s new manager.
Bentley was unveiled as the new Coasters boss on Monday afternoon, pictured, within hours of standing down as Morecambe manager.
The longest-serving manager in England’s top four divisions ended his 17-year association with the Shrimps to succeed Dave Challinor following his exit from the National League club earlier this month.
The Non-League Paper’s website, BBC Radio Lancashire and local media were all reporting the 43-year-old’s imminent appointment within hours of his departure from League One Morecambe on Monday morning.
Bentley, who joined Morecambe as a player in 2002, succeeded Sammy Mcilroy as manager in May 2011 after skippering the club into the Football League.
He told Coasters fans he was looking forward to building on Challinor’s legacy in a club statement announcing his appointment.
“It’s been an emotional couple of days, but it’s for the right reasons – I’m coming to a new venture now which I’m really excited about,” said Bentley.
“I’m very proud of the job I’ve done there, but I want a CV that shows promotions as much as the survival.”
“It’s totally geared to go up here, it’s a club going in the right direction, and hopefully I can carry on the good work that David Challinor did here.”
The right replacement for the long-serving Challinor was crucial for Coasters chairman David Haythornthwaite who is delighted to have secured Bentley’s services.
Haythornthwaite said: “I would first like to say a big thank you to Rod Taylor, the Morecambe chairman, and everyone else at the club for the way in which they have handed this very sensitive situation.
“I can say that from day one they have been professional, polite and accommodating, something that you don’t find too often in football.
“It goes without saying we are delighted to have secured Jim’s services and that of his long time assistant Ken McKenna.
“As you may imagine, we had a lot of applications for this job and did interview two other candidates but once we knew of Jim’s interest things moved very quickly.”
“Jim has done a fantastic job at Morecambe and has been an amazingly loyal servant of the club for the past seventeen years which says a lot about the kind of man he is.”
“We believe Jim will be a perfect fit for the club not just on the pitch, but off as well, as he understands where we are in trying to build a football club from scratch.
“We are not a Wrexham, a Stockport or a Chesterfield with their long history and huge fan base, but more a Forest Green or a Crawley – and it is important for all concerned with the club that we understand and embrace that.
“Jim’s knowledge of local football, his wealth of contacts and his understanding of the league above will ensure we have the best chance of achieving our long term plan of getting in the Football League by 2022.”
He added: “We will provide him with the funds and management support he needs so that he can focus everyday without distraction on football, and nothing else. It’s an exiting new era for the club and I hope everyone will get behind Jim and the new management team.”
Challinor became the third National League boss to get the chop in three days when he was sacked on Saturday 12 October after Ebbsfleet terminated Garry Hill’s contract and Hartlepool United dispensed with the services of Craig Hignett.
Pictured putting pen-to-paper on a three year contract extension running until 2021 in June 2018, Challinor oversaw three promotions since arriving from Colwyn Bay in November 2011, including masterminding the Coasters rise to the National League as National League North champions in 2016/17.