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Official Review by Martin McNelis, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Globe Arena is the home of Morecambe FC, located in a seaside town in Lancashire, England. They played non league football throughout their history until they gained promotion to League 2, the fourth tier in the English Football League in 2007, after defeating Exeter City in the Play off Final at Wembley Stadium. Their nickname is 'the Shrimps' due to their association to the fishing and shrimp industry in Morecambe Bay.
The club moved to this purpose-built facility in 2010 after spending 89 years at their old ground, Christie Park. The Globe Arena has a very modern, welcoming entrance and facade and is named after the builders, Globe Construction. It comprises a large and impressive Main stand, covered terrace behind each goal and an open terrace where spectators can stand and watch the match.
The Main, Peter McGuigan Stand is named after the current club chairman and is the main hub of the club's activities, containing corporate hospitality facilities for both match day and external functions. It is also where the main entrance and reception is located for both sets of players, officials and directors. The dressing room, gymnasium and public bar and a busy club shop are also housed within here too.
Across from the Main Stand is the open North terrace, which has four narrow steps with a safety barrier at the front. The view of the pitch from here is decent and is especially nice when the weather is good, otherwise you are exposed to all the UK elements. The entrance is located in the centre, with a small television gantry perched above it. Either side of this there are toilet and refreshments, though no alcohol is sold in this particular area of the ground. In the right hand corner there is a police control box which is discrete and outside it, there is a very basic scoreboard providing information like substitutions, messages and other scores from the division.
The covered East terrace is to the right of the Main Stand and is for away fans, though this will depend on the opposition and the number of supporters they bring. Opposite this, the similarly structured West Terrace is also covered, and it is for the home supporters and where the majority of the atmosphere is generated.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
This part of northern England is associated with a variety of pies. It would be unfair to be overly critical as I was only able to access the refreshments in this particular area of the ground. With only one person serving, it isn't overly busy and sells only basic hot and cold drinks with pies. Alcohol is sold within the Main Stand and like every other ground in England, it can only be consumed on the concourses and not in your seat.
The away fans are vocal throughout and the home fans behind the goal in the West terrace respond in turn, though they can be subdued in parts when the team is losing.
The stadium is located near the coastline, a couple of miles from the town centre and train station, which in itself is approximately a twenty minute walk away. Outside it, the houses on the main road are modern and lavish. This is a good place to park as it is literally just a couple of minutes walk away from the stadium. There is also a holiday park with up to date looking chalets along the road which is popular with tourists.
Within a one mile radius of either side of the stadium, there are a couple of fast food establishments, a couple of pubs and restaurants to give you some options depending on your preferences.
There are a variety of hotels, travel lodges and bed and breakfasts located at either end of the town. The most prestigious establishment being the renovated Midland Hotel.
The fans are both passionate and yet quiet at various times during the match. The club mascot 'Christie' goes round the perimeter of the home end doing high fives with fans and posing for pictures. Fans are courteous without being overly friendly. Morecambe's average attendance is just under 2,000 a match.
The home supporters retort with chants of their own when the away fans go through their own renditions and repertoires. When there isn't a huge crowd on hand, it has a negative impact on the overall atmosphere of the stadium experience.
The stadium is set just off a busy main road and has a walkway in which you can see the ground ahead. It is spacious around every side of the stadium and you should expect to encounter no difficulty or restrictions walking round it, with both sets of supporters mingling freely and hassle free.
The number 6 bus, which goes to and from town, is very regular along the main road, and the train station is located approximately 20-25 minutes walk from the stadium.
Approaching Morecambe by car from the motorway you have two options. Taking the junction 34 exit will take you through the main part of town where the traffic is very slow and tedious due to the volume of cars passing through. Coming from the north, junction 35 takes you through Carnforth and along the more coastal part of Morecambe. I used this on the way out and found the traffic moved a lot quicker.
There is limited parking at the stadium and a couple of areas charge £10 to leave your car there. On either side of the stadium there is adequate street parking and only a few minutes walk to the stadium entrance.
You are very restricted to each individual end and I encountered a very officious steward when I asked to go into the West Terrace to take a photo! If there is no flexibility to move under cover when the rain comes on, you could be in for a very wet and uncomfortable 90 minutes.
The cost for admission, food, programme and items in the club shop is on a parallel with other clubs in the division.
The uncovered North terrace end is the cheapest option for tickets at £16 and the other ends are a couple of pounds more, with the West Terrace behind the goal £17 and the Main Stand £21 for the family section or up to £26.
The club have an impressive pricing system for other groups like concessions at £14 or £17, under 18s are £5 and anyone aged under 14 is admitted free, so it would be financially beneficial to bring the family with you!
You could potentially buy a match ticket or cash for the premium seats in the Main Stand at £26 and bring say two children under the age of fourteen and still pay the same price. Alternatively if you are looking for maximum value, you could do the same and stand in the uncovered North terrace for £16.
The Morecambe match programme is an impressive 68-page full colour publication, priced at £3. There are a number of features including current team stats for the season, past meetings between the clubs, upcoming local events, interviews with current and former players, the Academy players and in depth details on the opposition.
Given the club's location and depending on weekend or midweek fixtures, not to mention the television schedule, you could potentially stay a couple of nights locally and take in a number of games with clubs located close by like Blackpool, Fleetwood and Preston North End.
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Marine Rd W
Morecambe, Lancashire LA4 4BU
+44 1524 424000