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New Bradford City boss Derek Adams prompted Morecambe chiefs to rewrite three-year promotion plans after play-off Wembley triumph

Derek Adams with the silverware at Wembley after taking Morecambe into League One via the play-off final against Newport County. Picture by Kieran McManus/BPI/Shutterstock
Derek Adams with the silverware at Wembley after taking Morecambe into League One via the play-off final against Newport County. Picture by Kieran McManus/BPI/Shutterstock

Former Ross County manager Derek Adams revealed that Morecambe’s owners drew up a three-year plan to reach League One – but he’s made them get back to the drawing board after their stunning play-off success.

The unfancied Shrimps moved up to English football’s third tier for the first time in their 101-year history.

Adams, who came into the annual strugglers in November 2019, guided them to a 1-0 extra-time play-off final triumph at sun-kissed Wembley on Monday.

An ice-cool, yet hotly-disputed, Carlos Gomes spot-kick edged out rivals Newport County and capped a brilliant season where survival was the original target, in the boardroom at least.

Adams won’t be bossing them in League One, though, as he quit that job on Thursday to swiftly become the boss of Bradford City, who finished 15th in League Two last term.

Morecambe manager Derek Adams celebrates on the touchline after their play-off triumph against Newport County. Picture by John Walton/PA Wire

From keeping Morecambe up, to Wembley glory three years ahead of schedule

In the end, Morecambe finished a mere four points behind champions Cheltenham before getting through the play-offs by seeing off Tranmere then Newport.

Earlier this week, before leaving Morecambe, Adams told the Press and Journal: “When I went into Morecambe, it was about keeping the club in the Football League.

“This season was about mounting a challenge towards mid-table. That’s what the owners wanted to achieve.

“However, we got a squad together that we felt was capable of challenging for the play-offs. We spoke to the players and that’s what we wanted to aim for.

“We got to a stage in the season when we were looking for automatic promotion. That was testament to how well we had coped with the division.

“We have a range of very talented players throughout the team. The work ethic and team-building throughout the season helped us.

“In my teams, throughout my career, it has been about getting individuals to work for one another to make a team.

“You have to have different blends in your squad and different blends within the starting 11. That’s what we’ve been able to do to get out of League One.

“The board of directors put a three-year plan together just a few months ago, which was to start this season. That plan was to get ourselves into League One within three years, so fortunately we’ve achieved that quite quickly. They will have to get on with a new plan.

“That’s great because it allows this football club to move forward. They are into the third tier of English football for the first time in their history.”

Yann was the man…from Dingwall to Wembley

In 2014, Adams took French defender Yann Songo’o took Ross County on loan from Blackburn Rovers and he dazzled in the sunshine in the showpiece final earlier this week.

Yann Songo’o, of Morecambe, with his man-of-the-match award. Picture by Joe Toth/BPI/Shutterstock

Adams said: “Yann Songo’o was terrific. He was man of the match on Monday. I have signed Yann three times, at Ross County, Plymouth and now Morecambe. It shows that I rate him as a player. He has been a fantastic ally for me on the pitch.”

Money doesn’t always talk and promotion tops the lot

Morecambe’s rise under Adams is all the more remarkable given the club had the least cash to play with out of the top four tiers.

The former Aberdeen midfielder said: “We had the lowest budget out of the 92 (Football League) clubs. Even when I was at Ross County, I have always said it’s about recruitment and putting a good squad together.

“Money does help, but it’s not the be all and end all. It’s a case of how you use the funds you have available.”

Adams led Plymouth Argyle into League One in 2017, but he was sacked in April 2019 after they slid into that division’s drop zone.

However, delivering for Morecambe puts the superb achievement of taking expectant Plymouth up into the shade.

Some of the clubs Morecambe will lock horns with from August in League One include Sunderland, Portsmouth, Charlton, Wigan, Shrewsbury and Bolton.

Adams explained: “To take a team that is notoriously at the bottom of the league, without really having the ambition to get out of that league, that’s what has happened at Morecambe.

“At Plymouth Argyle, the pressure was on us to get out of League Two. The Morecambe promotion would be classed as a bigger one because of that. No promotion is easy.”

Derek Adams jumps on the back of the Morecambe players celebrating their play-off win.
Derek Adams jumps on the back of the Morecambe players celebrating their play-off win.

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