As supporters of a financially unstable lower league club, Morecambe fans will have taken little pleasure in the demise of Bury FC – their liquidation was a harsh reminder of how tough life is further down the footballing pyramid.
That said, the Shakers’ expulsion from the Football League has been a source of consolation in another way – due to a restructuring of the third and fourth tiers of the English game, only one team will be relegated from League Two at the end of the 2019/20 season.
That’s excellent news for Morecambe, who find themselves embroiled at the wrong end of the table once again, and the perennial relegation favourites in League Two – they were once again expected to face demotion in the outright League Two football betting odds for this season – are swimming against the tide.
The majority of teams have nine matches left to play, but some – like current basement dwellers Stevenage – have a game in hand. That means Morecambe’s ten-point cushion over the Boro could be snipped to seven, and there is still the small matter of the rescheduled meeting between the pair at the Globe Arena to consider.
Further fixtures against Plymouth Argyle, Swindon Town and Exeter City – all in the division’s top four – suggest that Shrimps fans have cause for concern.
However, some joy amid the gloom comes from an unlikely source. Football Manager, the annual computer game series, is considered one of the most accurate algorithms available in simulating the beautiful game – ‘real life’ scouting teams have admitted to using the game’s database for research, while stats provider Prozone have signed a deal to harness the title’s power.
Sports Interactive, the makers of Football Manager, announced that they had simulated the rest of the 2019/20 season using current points tallies, accurate squads and the real list of fixtures.
And here’s some great news to warm the cockles. According to the game’s findings, Morecambe go on to avoid the drop by the skin of their teeth!
Four is the Magic Number
In the end, the Shrimps manage to survive in League Two – according to the in-game algorithm, of course – by a four-point margin, with Stevenage the team to fall through the dreaded relegation trapdoor.
Morecambe accumulate 40 points in total, which is eight more than their current haul, and that is enough to keep their heads above water despite the Boro defeating Carlisle in the final game of the campaign.
The Sky Bet League Two season was supposed to come to a conclusion on Saturday, but who would have been promoted, relegated or reached the play-offs?— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) April 25, 2020
Football Manager 2020 simulated the rest of the Sky Bet League Two season. Here are the results… 👇
At the other end of the table, it was Swindon who go on to claim the title by a solitary point ahead of Crewe. Plymouth, meanwhile, claim the third automatic promotion place with 80 points.
So that left four teams battling it out in the dreaded play-offs: Port Vale – courtesy of a late run into the top-seven, Cheltenham Town, Exeter City and Bradford City.
But the real story for Morecambe fans is survival once again, and at the end of another tumultuous campaign they will be hoping that life imitates art as far as this Football Manager simulation is concerned.