Jim Bentley has left Morecambe to become the manager of AFC Fylde, ending his 17-year association with the League Two club as player and team boss.
READ MORE: Victory for Fylde at Boreham Wood
Morecambe announced Bentley’s resignation this morning, paving the way for the move to Mill Farm, where he will be joined by his Shrimps assistant Ken McKenna and goalkeeping coach Lee Jones, the former Blackpool keeper. All three have signed contracts until the summer of 2022.
The 43-year-old Bentley replaces Dave Challinor, who was sacked this month after almost eight years in charge of the Coasters.
Until this month, Bentley and Challinor were the longest-serving managers in the top five divisions of English football – Bentley appointed six months before Challinor in May 2011.
Fylde currently sit 19th in the National League, just three points above the relegation zone having been beaten play-off finalists last season, while Morecambe are at the foot of the League Two table.
John Hills and Brett Ormerod have been in charge since Challinor’s sacking and ended the team’s four-match losing run by recording back-to-back victories: against Peterborough Sports in the FA Cup and against Boreham Wood in the league on Saturday.
Former centre-back Bentley played almost 300 times for the Shrimps, joining in 2002, and led then into the Football League in 2007.
Bentley takes charge of his first Fylde game at Maidenhead on Tuesday night.
Liverpudlian Bentley, who was due to conduct a press conference at 4pm, said: “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.
“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.”
Morecambe’s club statement read: “He has been an amazing servant for us as player, captain and manager and has deservedly gained a fantastic reputation throughout the game for what he has achieved with the club.
“We cannot thank him enough for his contribution to the club over the years and it goes without saying he will always be welcome at the Globe Arena.”