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Tranmere Rovers FC.png
Full name Tranmere Rovers Football Club
Nickname(s) Super Whites,
Founded 1884 (as Belmont F.C.)
Ground Prenton Park
(Capacity: 16,789)
Chairman Peter Johnson
Manager Les Parry
League League One
2008–09 League One, 7th
Home colours
Away colours

Tranmere Rovers Football Club is an English football club located in the Prenton area of Birkenhead. The nicknames of the club are The Rovers or Super Whites.

For the 2009-10 season, Tranmere Rovers will play in League One, the third tier of English Football.

The team play their home fixtures at Prenton Park, Birkenhead. Their current sponsor is the local Authority, Metropolitan Borough of Wirral, who have been their main sponsor since 1989. Wirral-based Rock band 'Half Man Half Biscuit' are probably Tranmere's best known fans.


Prenton Park

Prenton Park has four stands: The Kop, the Main Stand (including the Paddock), the Cowshed and the Johnny King Stand (formerly the Borough Road Stand). The Kop is the biggest of the stands and houses the home fans while the Cowshed houses the away fans. The stadium is all-seater and has a 16,787 capacity. Three sides of the ground were rebuilt over a nine month period in 1995 to a design conceived by former Chairman Frank Corfe. The future of the Main Stand is under discussion as the 40-year-old structure is becoming increasingly expensive to repair.[1]

The crest

The former Tranmere Rovers emblem

The text on the ribbon of the old crest is written in Latin and reads "Ubi Fides ibi Lux et Robur". This translates as "Where there is faith there is light and strength". The club badge and motto are based on the crest of the former Birkenhead Borough, which became part of Wirral MBC in 1974.

The single lion is a symbol of strength, the tree represents nearby Birkenhead Park, the horseshoes represent the nearby fields, the sun represents light and the two lions show that Tranmere Rovers is an English club.

The former logo (pictured right) also included a ship on a ball representing Cammell Lairds shipyard in Birkenhead and was based heavily on the town's coat of arms.

In 2009 the club plan to change the crest for the 2009-2010 season to celebrate Tranmere Rovers 125-year anniversary. It was suggested that the club may change their logo to include a Viking symbol to represent the area's ties with the Norse explorers. In the end the only difference to the badge was the numbers 125, which were placed inside the football in the centre of the badge.


Since the mid-1990s, Tranmere Rovers have become famous for their memorable cup successes. John King led them to the 1994 League Cup semi-final only losing to Premiership side Aston Villa on penalties. John Aldridge continued this tradition, guiding Tranmere to FA Cup quarter-finals in 2000 and 2001 and a League Cup final in 2000. This then continued under manager Brian Little as Tranmere took Millwall to a quarter-final replay in the FA Cup in 2004, eventually losing 2-1.

Since the formation of the Premier League in 1992, Tranmere have beaten many Premiership sides in cup competitions. Notable scalps include a 3-0 victory against local rivals Everton at Goodison Park (FA Cup, 2001) and a victory against Southampton (FA Cup, 2001), which saw Tranmere come from 3-0 down at half-time to win 4-3.

The early days: 1884-1921

The current Tranmere Rovers Football Club was formed by two cricket clubs - Belmont CC and Lyndhurst Wanderers - coming together, initially as Belmont F.C. They played and won their first match 4-0 against Brunswick Rovers on November 15, 1884. The following year (16 September 1885) they re-named themselves Tranmere Rovers, taking the name of a club that had previously disbanded. The connection being both clubs had the same benefactor, James Hannay McGaul, who later became Chairman and president until he died in 1920.

Under the name Tranmere Rovers they played matches at Steeles Field on Borough Road, Birkenhead, in a kit of blue shorts and white shirts. In 1887 they gained a new ground from Tranmere Rugby Club, Ravenshaws Field, also on Borough Road. This was later renamed Prenton Park, although it was not until March 9, 1912 that the team moved into the current stadium of that name.

The team had by this time joined the West Lancashire League in which they competed for thirty years, winning it in 1908. Tranmere nearly folded in 1899 when most players elected to join a rival club Birkenhead F.C. The team had to rent out the ground to Birkenhead Warriors Rugby Club, who did at least bring a 250 seat stand with them. Tranmere were eventually promoted to the Central League in 1919 (though not by usual means, Leeds City Reserves were expelled for overpayment of wages, Tranmere took both their place and their points), and then to the Third Division North in which they played their first match against Crewe Alexandra at Prenton Park on August 27, 1921. At this time the team were managed by Bert Cooke, who did so for twenty three years in total, the club record for longest serving manager.

The Dixie, Bunny, Pongo and Nibbler Era: 1922-1939

In 1924, a Birkenhead youth named William Ralph Dean, but known to fans as "Dixie", made his début at the age of 16. Dean was discovered by Jack "Dump" Lee, Rovers' trainer and earlier team member. He played just 30 games for Rovers, scoring 27 goals, when he fulfilled his boyhood dream and was transferred to Everton in 1925 for £3,000. In the season 1927-28, Dixie netted 60 League goals, a record unlikely ever to be broken.

Three years after Dixie's departure, two more talented youngsters left for First Division clubs - winger Ellis Rimmer to Sheffield Wednesday for £3,000 and Tom 'Pongo' Waring to Aston Villa, where he is still their all-time record scorer in a single season, for £4,700.

As a boy, Pongo had sold chocolate and cigarettes to the Prenton Park crowd before signing for the club. Before he left, Pongo made his mark with a then club record six goals in the 11-1 thrashing of Durham City in January, 1928.

A fourth local youngster with an eye for goals, Bill "Nibbler" Ridding, was sold to Manchester City, in early 1930, for £3,500.

Without these talents, Rovers took some time to re-group but by 1930-31 they seemed to be running away with the championship on the back of an inside forward trio netted 93 goals between them. But, as would happen again in the future, with four games to go, Rovers' form slumped and the promotion dream vanished.

Off the pitch, many improvements were made to Prenton Park including a five span roof over the Prenton Road West end terrace, forever to be known as the "Cowshed", and the expansion of the Kop which was doubled in size with ash and clinker.

In 1932, Chelsea were held to a 2-2 draw in the F A Cup at Prenton Park. Again in the FA Cup, a home tie in Round 4 against Liverpool, on 27 January 1934, was switched to Anfield where 61,036 saw Rovers defeated 1-3 - the largest ever gate for a "home game".

In both 1934-35 and 1935-36 seasons, Rovers led the Third Division (North) for most of the campaign but, in the last few vital weeks, blew their promotion chance on each occasion to fuel talk that the club lacked ambition and "did not want to go up" - though they did win the Welsh FA Cup in 1935.

The stability of the club was hardly helped by the departure, in acrimonious circumstances, of long serving secretary/manager Bert Cooke amid FA enquiries into illegal payments to players to induce them to sign for Rovers and the dismissal of several directors.

Cooke was replaced by former England international, Jacky Carr, who was in charge on 26 December 1935, when Robert "Bunny" Bell, who had netted an incredible 57 goals in all competitions during 1933-34 season, scored a record breaking nine goals in the 13-4 demolition of Oldham Athletic - and missed a penalty.

Bell's record was broken by Joe Payne who played for Luton Town, three months later, and he himself was subsequently sold to Everton, being replaced a year later by the returning Pongo Waring.

It was Pongo, along with former film extra and new team secretary/manager, Jim Knowles, who masterminded Rovers' triumphant championship season in 1937-38, when five points from their three final games clinched a first ever season in Division Two. In fact, it is still, nearly seventy years later, Rovers' sole championship in the Football League.

With Pongo well past his best and allowed to go to Accrington Stanley, and the rest of the team inadequate for the higher grade of football, Rovers struggled.

Despite early euphoria and then a series of panic buys which failed, they were relegated having won just six of 42 matches - the all time worst record of any team in Division Two.

The wilderness era: 1939-1986

For the large part of this time Tranmere simply survived, and sometimes barely that, making little impact upon the wider football world. Prenton Park survived World War 2 without any significant damage, except perhaps to Manager Bill Ridding, who served throughout the war years, and was then promptly replaced by Ernie Blackburn, who stayed in post nine years. Blackburn's team had some FA Cup success - beating First Division Huddersfield Town 2-1 on 1951, and holding Tottenham Hotspur to a 1-1 draw at Prenton Park in 1953, although the return leg was lost 9-1, Tranmere's record defeat.

Blackburn was replaced by Republic of Ireland international Noel Kelly, but his tenure was unsuccessful and brief, with Rovers having to apply for re-election to the League in 1957, following which Peter Farrell took charge of the club. Farrell took the team to a mid-table position, ensuring that in the 1958 restructuring of the football league's lower divisions, Tranmere were among the top 12 clubs from the third division north who moved into the newly created third division, rather than going down to the fourth. A crucial match against Wrexham, also fighting for a place in the higher league, on 30 April 1958 attracted a crowd of 19,615, which remains the highest ever attendance at a Prenton Park league match. Later that same year, floodlights were installed for the first time.

As Rovers struggled in 1961 a new manager, Walter Galbraith was brought in, but he could not help Rovers avoid the drop to Division 4 for the first time in their history despite the purchase of a number of players, including one John King.

1961 also saw one of Tranmere's greatest servants leaving the club - Harold Bell. Between 1946 and 1955 Bell never missed a single Rovers game - 459 consecutive appearances, a record which holds to this day.

Galbraith was replaced by Dave Russell who all but revolutionised the club - bringing in the modern all white strip and developing a highly successful youth policy which saw many club stalwarts through its ranks - including England international Roy McFarland. Russell oversaw a steady progress for Rovers, coming close to promotion in both 1965 and 1966, before finally achieving it in 1967 - despite winning fewer games than in either previous season. The following year was also successful, with FA Cup wins over First Division Huddersfield Town (again) and Coventry City, before a fifth round 2-0 defeat to Everton. With an attendance of 61,982 this was the largest ever crowd for a Rovers game. By the Everton game, Tranmere was the last third division club left in the cup, a fact which attracted a lot of media attention for the curious reason that a purported mystic had earlier that year predicted that a third division side would reach the final at Wembley.

Russell became the clubs General Manager in 1969 allowing coach Jackie Wright to take the reins. Wright's most significant purchase, former Liverpool defender Ron Yeats scored in the drawn FA Cup match v Stoke City which saw a record Prenton Park attendance - 24,424. Yeats replace Wright as manager after just four months.

Yeats immediately started strengthening Tranmere's Liverpool connections - bring in Ian St John, Bobby Graham, Willie Stevenson and Tommy Lawrence, as well as the great Bill Shankly in a "consultancy" role. This team saw one of the most memorable Rovers results of all time when, on 2 October 1973, in a League Cup tie, Tranmere beat First Division superstars Arsenal 1-0 thanks to an Eddie Loyden goal, and later FA Chief Executive Mark Palios shackling Arsenal's Alan Ball. Tranmere Rovers are the only club to have a 100% record at Arsenal's former Highbury home.

Such glories couldn't last though, and Tranmere slipped back into the Fourth Division in 1975, despite bringing players through such as Steve Coppell. Yeats was sacked and replaced by his coach. The following decade was among the bleakest times in Tranmere's history, with the club usually in the lower reaches of the fourth division and beset by severe financial difficulties, almost going out of business on several occasions, despite a takeover by American Solicitor Bruce Osterman. A takeover by local businessman and common purpose crook, Peter Johnson following the invocation of the Insolvence Act 1986 by George Higham, proved to be a turning point in Tranmere's history, the club under his ownership enjoying by far the most successful period in its history, in which manager John King took the team from the bottom of the fourth division to the brink of English football's top league.

The John King era: 1987-1996

John King was appointed manager of the club for a second time (having previously been in charge in the 1970s) towards the end of the 1986-87 season, with the club fighting not to finish bottom of the fourth division and be relegated from the football league. Safety was only guaranteed in the last game of the season with a 1-0 home win over Exeter City, Tranmere's crucial winner being scored by midfielder Gary Williams. Thereafter, King began to show the talents which made him a legend on the Wirral and established his reputation as one of the greatest managerial geniuses ever to grace England's lower leagues, as well as one of the most eccentric. Carefully blending homegrown talent from the club's youth programme with astute bargain signings from league and non-league clubs, he built a team which took Tranmere steadily up the football league standings and acquired a fearsome reputation in cup competitions.

King's first full season of his second managerial spell in charge saw Tranmere make their first appearance at Wembley stadium when a good mid-season run of form saw them qualify as one of the fourth division's two representatives, along with eventual champions Wolves, in the football league's centenary tournament. Tranmere were the surprise stars of an otherwise derided tournament, beating first division Wimbledon and Newcastle United before losing on penalties to eventual winners Nottingham Forest.

King's second season in this spell (1988-89) saw him guide Tranmere to promotion as Fourth Division runners-up. It also marked the first of a string of cup successes against sides from the first division, Middlesbrough going down 1-0 on aggregate in the second round of the League Cup. Fellow top flight sides Millwall, Aston Villa, Chelsea and Coventry were among the other giants slain at Prenton Park by King's Tranmere.

A successful return to division three saw Tranmere finish fourth in the table, only to lose to Notts County in the 1990 third division playoff final. They were granted a place in the Second Division after Swindon Town (Second Division playoff winners) were demoted to the Third Division for financial irregularities. But Tranmere remained in the Third Division after Swindon's punishment was reduced to remaining in the Second Division. Consolation came in the form of victory in the L.D.V cup final, a 2-1 Wembley win over third division champions Bristol Rovers. Club record scorer Ian Muir gave Tranmere an early lead with a magnificent volleyed strike, and after Devon White gave Bristol Rovers an equaliser early in the second half, Muir's strike partner Jim Steele headed a late winner.

Tranmere Rovers went one better in the 1990-91 season, finishing fifth in the league but winning the Third Division playoffs with a dramatic 1-0 win over local rivals Bolton Wanderers. Chris Malkin's extra time goal saw the club promoted to the Second Division for the first time since the 1930s. They also made a second successive appearance in the L.D.V cup final, this time losing 3-2 to Birmingham City. This made the play-off victory over Bolton Tranmere's fourth appearance in a Wembley final in just over a year. Another notable event that season was in Tranmere's home match against Southend United on New Year's Day 1991, when right back Tony Thomas scored after just eight seconds, at the time the fastest televised goal in history.

Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge joined the club that summer, signing from Spain's Real Sociedad, and would remain on the club's payroll for the next 10 years. John King guided Tranmere into the new Division One play-offs for the 1992/1993 season but went down to Swindon Town in the semi-finals who went on to book themselves a place in the newly-founded Premier League. Tranmere made the new Division One play-offs for the second time in the 1993/1994 season but again went out in the semi-finals, this time to Leicester City, who like Swindon went on to clinch promotion to the Premier League. Tranmere once again made the Play-offs for the 3rd time running in the 1994/1995 season, but as in the previous two seasons Tranmere went out in the semi-finals, this time to Reading, who unlike Swindon & Leicester didn't make it to the Premier League. This would be the last time King's men qualified for play-offs. This period also included a semi-final appearance in the League Cup. Rovers were unlucky to eventually lose on penalties to Premiership side Aston Villa.

The John Aldridge era: 1996-2001

John Aldridge was appointed player-manager and remained in that role for five years. During that time Tranmere failed to reach the play-offs although they came very close in the 1996-1997 season. The 1999-2000 season was Tranmere's best ever in cup competition, with a run to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup, and the final of the League Cup, the club's first major cup final. The League Cup final resulted in a 1-2 defeat to Leicester City, Tranmere's goal scored by David Kelly after Tranmere defender Clint Hill had been himself sent off; although it should also be added that the player he fouled had been clearly offside at the time. Remarkably, Aldridge took Tranmere to the final of a major national cup competition with a team which did not include a single player he had paid a fee for. The club's severe financial constraints meant that at the time the squad included only a single player for whom a transfer fee had been paid, big striker Wayne Allison, who was cup-tied for the League Cup run.

The following season they again reached the FA Cup quarter final with a run that included two games unlikely ever to be forgotten. The fourth round saw Tranmere drawn away to Merseyside rivals Everton, in whose shadow, along with that of Liverpool, the club has always lived. A memorably one-sided game saw Tranmere give the Toffees a comprehensive 3-0 hammering at Goodison Park, with one goal from Jason Koumas and two storming headers from defender Steve Yates. The date has been immortalised in Tranmere's history, fans having designated 27 January Saint Yates' Day. More drama was to come in the shape of a 4-3 fifth round victory over Southampton. Trailing 3-0 at half time, and having been comprehensively outplayed by the Premier League side, Tranmere came out for the second half transformed. With Prenton Park a cauldron of noise, Tranmere began to launch an astonishing display of unfettered attacking football, ripping the Southampton defence to tatters as they blazed forward at will. A hat trick by Paul Rideout brought the scores level, with Stuart Barlow then hitting the winner which gave Tranmere a 4-3 victory in a game generally regarded as the greatest FA Cup comeback of all time. In the quarter final they were drawn against their other neighbours, Liverpool, who would go on to win the cup that year. Liverpool had to use their attackiing depth to defeat a spirited Tranmere side 4-2 in a pulsating clash.

In the league things were very different, with the side floundering at the very bottom of the table. John Aldridge finally handed in his resignation in March 2001 when Tranmere lost 2-3 at home to Barnsley after having led 2-0. The caretaker team of Ray Mathias and Kevin Sheedy was unable to save them and Tranmere were relegated from Division One after a decade at that level.

The Dave Watson era: 2001-2002

Tranmere had hopes of a quick return to Division One, but it was not to be. Dave Watson was appointed manager.

Watson joins a short list of managers who have been sacked due to a side's performance in a pre-season friendly.

The Ray Mathias era: 2002-2003

Results and performances seemed to improve immediately when Tranmere stalwart Ray Mathias was promoted from assistant manager to full manager in 2002-2003. Tranmere's season opener was an away match at Port Vale which was won convincingly 4-1. By the end of August Tranmere were a point outside the play-off places. Under the guidance of Mathias and the extremely popular assistant-manager David Kelly who was appointed in October, Tranmere remained within three points of the play-off places most of the season. Kelly's influence on the season was said to be considerable and his ideas and personality in training were hailed by the players.

A feature of the 2002-2003 season was the extraordinary number of loan players who served the club for different lengths of time, including three goal-keepers: Ian Feuer, Keith Welch and Phil Whitehead, plus short-lived outfield players Pat McGibbon, Tom Curtis, Christian Edwards, Adam Proudlock and Marvin Robinson. Loan players of note were Tyrone Loran and Mike Jackson (who were both later signed permanently) and winger Iain Anderson who chipped in with two goals in his seven-game stay.

A remarkable second half of the season saw the team lose only once in 23 league matches to finish just outside the play-off zone in seventh place, despite equalling a club record of eighty points. In their push for promotion Tranmere also established a new club record of doing the double over eight league opponents. Cardiff City beat Rovers to the last play-off spot by a single point, a feat made mathematically possible by an unforgettable Tranmere v Cardiff Friday night fixture in March 2003. Cardiff opened the scoring through Robert Earnshaw but Simon Haworth equalised for Tranmere. Earnshaw scored again only for Iain Hume to equalise again for Tranmere. The home side finally went ahead through Gary Jones with one minute of normal time remaining and the game seemed won, only for Robert Earnshaw to equalise for Cardiff City and complete his hat-trick in the 94th minute. An event which has fuelled rivalry between the South Wales club and Tranmere.

Optimism for the following 2003-2004 season was shaken when in July 2003 assistant manager David Kelly left the club for Sheffield United. Tranmere's opening match was followed by ten games without a victory and pressure on Ray Mathias was mounting. This lead the board to issue Mathias with an ultimatum that he must win the home match against Wrexham on Saturday 27 September 2003 in order to retain his job. In a cruel twist of fate Tranmere not only took an early lead but outplayed Wrexham in almost every respect. Had it not been for an outstanding performance by Wrexham goalkeeper Andy Dibble, the visitors faced a heavy defeat. Unfortunarly for Mathias's career, Wrexham equalised on 62 minutes, and a minute later Shaun Holmes scored his first-ever league goal to leave Tranmere defeated, and manager less.

Following Mathias's departure from the club at the end of September, Tranmere actually won their first game since the beginning of August however there followed another two league defeats, and Tranmere were left low on morale, without a manager and occupying a relegation spot.

The Brian Little era: 2003-2006

In October 2003, Tranmere turned to Brian Little as their new manager. Little had previously achieved promotion success with Darlington (twice) and Leicester, as well as leading Aston Villa to League Cup success in 1996.

Tranmere had slipped into the relegation zone just prior to Little taking over, but his arrival seemed to bring an immediate stabilising influence over the team. His primary objective was to tighten up the defence and despite losing his first game in charge in the LDV Vans Trophy, there followed a run of eleven league and cup games in which Tranmere won seven, drew three and lost only one which pulled away from the drop zone, and took the team through to an FA Cup tie with old rivals Bolton Wanderers. The match played at Prenton Park ended in a draw which meant a replay at Bolton's Reebok Stadium in which the home team looked favourites to ease past their lower-league opposition, despite fielding a weakened team. However, it was Tranmere who scored first through Eugene Dadi, whose goal-celebration revealed a t-shirt with the number "9" and "Haworth" in honour of the team-mate who had recently broken his leg. Tranmere's hopes of a win in normal time were ended when Bolton equalised with one minute of injury time remaining to take the game to extra time. Only 20 seconds into extra time, Tranmere's young Iain Hume struck a 25-yard shot which proved to be the winner and continued the upturn in the club's fortunes.

By mid-February, Tranmere had climbed to 12th and were only seven points from a playoff position. Following an FA Cup win over Swansea City, March saw an FA Cup quarter final away to Milwall in which again, the lower-league Tranmere were not favourites, however the game was a draw thanks to a penalty save by John Achterberg. Meanwhile, in the league, a loss to Blackpool had been followed by four draws in five. The FA Cup success once again seemed to weigh heavily on the team's league performance as it had done in the relegation season of 2000-2001 and four consecutive losses saw Tranmere drop back down to 16th. After being knocked out of the FA Cup by Millwall in the replay at Prenton Park, Tranmere's league form returned and Tranmere won eight out of their last ten fixtures, ending the season in eighth place.

Little's first full season in charge saw a genuine promotion challenge as the club finished third behind Luton Town and Hull City. The side had started the season well but the end of January and throughout February saw a run of four draws in five games, culminating in a 3-1 humbling at home by promotion rivals Hull City. Having only lost five games all season up until that point, Tranmere managed only five wins in the last 12 fixtures and it was on the back of this poor form that Tranmere went into the play-offs. Not surprisingly, the team which had only won two of the last nine away games put in a poor performance away at Hartlepool United, being well beaten 0-2. Just as might be expected, the return match at Prenton Park was a superb football game and proved that once again Tranmere could perform when the occasion demanded it. Rovers outperformed Hartlepool, despite captain Jason McAteer going off with concussion, and Tranmere scored two goals which took the tie into extra time. In the end they lost on penalties to Hartlepool United to send them crashing out of the play-off semi-finals with Ian Sharps having his spot-kick saved.

During the 2005 close season Tranmere lost their top four goal scorers of the previous campaign. Ryan Taylor and Iain Hume were sold to Wigan Athletic and Leicester City respectively. The club released Eugene Dadi who later joined Nottingham Forest while Paul Hall was only offered a one year deal and swapped Birkenhead for Chesterfield. Sam Aiston and Steve Wilson were brought in from the lower leagues, whilst Little signed the striker Chris Greenacre from Stoke City. The 2005-2006 season was poor, in which the club achieved safety from relegation only with a dramatic away victory over MK Dons in the penultimate game, saw rising discontent against Little among Tranmere fans. As well as below-standard performances, many supporters blamed him for excessively conservative tactics leading to dull football, weakening the strength of the squad by failing either to identify quality signings or introduce new talent from the club's youth ranks, and generally failing to recognise the spirit of the club. Many players had come on loan to Tranmere during the course of the season due to the loss of Ryan Taylor and Iain Hume, but were generally considered not to have been of high enough quality, Alex Bruce was brought in at right back and did little to impress, whilst veteran Nicky Summerbee came on a week to week deal, and also failed to impress. The exception was Simon Francis from Sheffield United who proved himself to be a more than capable right back, and with the potential to play at a much higher level. Sam Aiston signed from Shrewsbury, and despite being a favourite with the home fans, due to his willingness to run with the ball, he failed to make much impression on the scoresheet: scoring only 3 times all season. Steve Wilson in goal was capable of great saves but also capable of equally silly mistakes. Some credit should go to Brian Little for recognising the untapped potential of Chris Greenacre, who he converted to a striker from the midfield role he played at Stoke City. Greenacre went on to become leading scorer for the 2005-2006 season with Delroy Facey next on 8 goals for the season, including the last minute winner against MK Dons which helped send the Dons down and keep Tranmere up. The lack of goals from midfield was the biggest failing of the side. Tranmere's midfield, containing local players Steve Jennings and Danny Harrison were organised and hard working, but shows little creativity and flair to provide ammunition for the strikers. Polls conducted on the club's unofficial website during this season recorded an increasing swell of opinion that Brian Little should be removed. It therefore came as no great surprise when Little left by mutual consent on May 5, with club captain Jason McAteer and John McMahon taking over for the last game of the season, a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Doncaster Rovers. Despite speculation linking the former Brentford manager, Martin Allen with the vacant post, on June 9, Tranmere announced the appointment of popular former player, coach and assistant manager Ronnie Moore, formerly manager at Rotherham United and Oldham Athletic, as Little's replacement.

The Ronnie Moore era: 2006-2009

After Moore took over the job in June he quickly made a flurry of signings, including several from his former club Rotherham United such as Paul McLaren and John Mullin. Australian central defender Shane Sherriff signed as did Chris McCready from Crewe, after impressing in pre-season friendlies. Perhaps the biggest signing of the summer for Rovers was the addition of pacey wide man Chris Shuker from Barnsley, fighting off competition from several successful Championship clubs as well as Blackpool. Veteran forward Gareth Taylor signed from Nottingham Forest, after an uneasy stay at the City Ground. The season began with a 1-0 win against Moore's former club Oldham Athletic.

Six games into the season, the 3-0 victory against Leyton Orient caught the headlines. Not only because it placed Tranmere second in the league table, but mainly due to an extraordinary 90-yard goal scored by the Rovers goalkeeper Gavin Ward from an indirect free kick just outside his area. As it bounced over the débutante Leyton Orient goalkeeper's head he stuck up a hand and got a touch to it giving the referee no choice but to give the goal. A good run of form, including a creditable draw at home against Nottingham Forest left Tranmere placed second in the table but there then followed three opportunities in quick succession whereby Tranmere could have used a game in hand to go to the top of the table. None of these chances were taken and a spate of injuries in October exposed the lack of depth in the squad after Ronnie Moore had chosen quality over quantity of players with his limited budget. Injuries contributed to a result at home to Huddersfield Town which ended 2-2 after being 2-0 up after half time and a 2-0 reverse in the second half at Bradford City. Attempts to bring in loan signings to cover the lack of strikers proved fruitless, however coming through this bad patch saw a morale-boosting away win at Brighton which took Tranmere back to within one point of an automatic promotion place. However, form slipped away and Tranmere finished a respectable 9th position for Ronnie Moore's first season at the helm.

In the close season, Moore signed the ex-Rovers and Welsh international goalkeeper Danny Coyne as well as defensive duo Antony Kay and Ben Chorley. Midfielder Adnan Ahmed was also signed from Huddersfield Town. Tranmere opened the 2007-2008 season at home with defeat to Leeds United and then went on to exit the Carling Cup in the first round. But Tranmere went on to win their next two matches 2-0 against Gillingham away and Brighton at home.

On 6 October 2007, after their 2-1 win at Southend United, they reached the top of the League One table, on goal difference, with 19 points from 10 games. However, their stay at the top only lasted for one week, and began a dreadful run of only four victories in the next sixteen league games which saw the team slide steadily into mid-table. A big factor in this loss of form was long-term injuries to both of the team's first choice wingers, Steve Davies and Chris Shuker, severely limiting the team's attacking options. The situation was remedied by tactical reorganisation on Moore's part, boosted by the loan acquisition of two promising youngsters from higher division clubs, Blackburn's Andy Taylor and Bristol City's Jennison Myrie-Williams, along with the return of manager's son Ian Moore from Hartlepool United, who had started his career at Tranmere. By the end of February, Tranmere had reached the play-off zones, but were unable to keep up their good form during the final weeks of the season and ended up finishing 11th with 65 points, they finished 11 points short of a playoff place.[2]

Moore signed a new 2 year deal keeping him at the club until 2010. The summer of 2008 saw a few new signings, with Gareth Edds, Edrissa Sonko, Luke Waterfall, Bas Savage, Charlie Barnett and the loan signing of Godwin Antwi. However the season started poorly with a disappointing 3-1 loss away to Swindon Town. The first league win came in the form of a 1-0 victory over Hartlepool United , Tranmere's first home game of the season. By the end of the year Tranmere sat in 8th position in the league, 4 points of the play-offs. Their play-offs aspirations continued in the later part of the season, a vital 2-0 win against league leaders Leicester City boosted these hopes. As off the 11th of March Tranmere sat 9th in League One, just 2 points of the play-off places. But three days later on the 14th of March Tranmere sat in a play-off position. Tranmere found themselves 6th after a 3-1 win over Huddersfield Town at Prenton Park. Following a disappointing defeat at Cheltenham who were currently bottom of Coca-Cola League One, Tranmere really gave their play-off aspirations a huge lift after an excellent 2-0 away victory against local and play-off rivals Oldham Athletic. This delighted Ronnie Moore [2] due to the fact he was once the manager of Oldham Athletic and had on many occasions, suffered abuse from the Boundary Park faithful. This also delighted Ian Moore who receives abuse from Oldham fans for being Ronnie's son and for turning down Oldham to return to Tranmere in the 2007-2008 January transfer window. This defeat could arguably have ended any play-off hopes for Oldham Athletic in the 2008-2009 season.

As of the 1st May Tranmere were in 7th place, 2 points behind Scunthorpe United in 6th place with both teams only having one league game remaining. This game was between the two sides at Glanford Park. A win would secure Tranmere a play-off place and anything less would mean Scunthorpe would qualify for the play-off's. Tranmere scored in the first half through Craig Curran, but unfortunately for them Scunthorpe equalised from a header with only minutes remaining. The match finished 1-1 ending Tranmere's dream of getting the play-off's for the 2008-2009 season.

Ronnie Moore was sacked by Tranmere on the 5th June 2009.[3] In an official statement, the club said: "Attendances have dropped by more than 19 per cent during the last three years and the club felt that now is the right time to move forward in a new direction."[4]

Moore's final act was to sign ex-Oldham midfielder Mark Allott.

The John Barnes era: 2009

John Barnes was officially named as manager of Tranmere Rovers on 15 June 2009, with Jason McAteer assisting him,[5] after Barnes himself had confirmed the appointment a day earlier.[6]

At the start of the season, a run of six successive losses was halted by a draw with Colchester United and then a win over Wycombe Wanderers. Any hopes of a revival were immediately dashed by a comprehensive 5-0 loss to Millwall, Tranmere's worst defeat in six years, giving the team the worst goal difference of any side in the English leagues and fuelling talk of relegation even at this early stage in the season.

Both Barnes and McAteer were sacked by the board on 9 October 2009.[7][8] Chairman Peter Johnson told the club website: "Unfortunately results have not gone our way this season and we are at the wrong end of the table. We must now focus on finding the best possible candidate."

The Les Parry era: 2009-

Physiotherapist Les Parry was placed in temporary charge, assisted by reserve boss Shaun Garnett.[8] Following a 2-1 defeat at Leyton Orient, Tranmere hit the bottom of League One on 21 November 2009. However, a turn around in form in late November and the beginning of December saw Tranmere go on an unbeaten run stretching to 5 games, including a 2-1 away victory against Aldershot in the second round FA Cup replay, giving Tranmere a third-round spot for just the second time since the 2003-2004 season, and a game against Premier League opposition, Wolverhampton Wanderers, resulting in the ever popular chant "Who needs Mourinho, when we've got our Physio".

On 16 December, Les Parry, with the support of chairman Johnson, was appointed as manager until the end of the 2009-10 season. Johnson said: "Les, along with Shaun Garnett and Wayne Allison, has the respect of the players and the staff at Tranmere and I firmly believe he is capable of guiding us away from the bottom of the division."[9]. His first official game resulted in a 2-0 win over Bristol Rovers.

Manager History

List of Tranmere managers who have taken charge of the club on a permanent basis.

Manager Nationality Period G W D L Win % Point Av.
John King  England April 1987 - April 1996 488 211 129 148 43.24 1.56
John Aldridge  Ireland April 1996 - March 2001 268 93 78 93 34.70 1.33
Dave Watson  England May 2001 - August 2002 55 22 15 18 40.00 1.47
Ray Mathias  England October 2002 - September 2003 66 29 18 19 43.94 1.59
Brian Little  England October 2003 - June 2006 147 61 43 43 44.21 1.54
Ronnie Moore  England June 2006 - June 2009 158 65 38 55 41.14 1.47
John Barnes  England June 2009 - October 2009 14 3 1 10 21.42 0.76
Les Parry  England October 2009 - Present 27 10 7 10 37.00 1.37


As of 1 June 2009.[10]

Current squad

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 England GK Luke Daniels (on loan from West Bromwich Albion)
2 England DF Shaleum Logan (on loan from Manchester City)
3 England DF Aaron Cresswell
4 Australia MF Gareth Edds
5 Jamaica DF Ian Goodison
6 England MF Paul McLaren
7 England FW Bas Savage
8 England DF Marlon Broomes
9 England FW Ian Thomas-Moore (Captain)
10 Republic of Ireland MF Alan Mahon
11 England MF John Welsh
12 Wales MF Ash Taylor
No. Position Player
13 England GK Joe Collister
14 England FW Terry Gornell
15 Grenada FW Kithson Bain
16 England FW Josh Macauley
17 England MF Thomas Baker
18 England DF Chris McCready (on loan from Northampton Town)
19 England MF Charlie Barnett
23 England MF Chris Shuker
24 Côte d'Ivoire DF Zoumana Bakayogo
25 England FW Craig Curran
27 England FW Marvin Sordell (on loan from Watford)
28 England DF Luke O'Neill (on loan from Leicester City)

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
20 England MF Ryan Fraughan (at Aberystwyth Town)

School of Excellence

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
England Liam Benson (First year)
England Andrew Coughlan (First year)
England Callum Fairclough (First year)
Wales Jay Gibbs (First year)
England Dale Jennings (First year)
England David McNamara (First year)
England Ben Oliver (First year)
England Max Power (First year)
Wales Connor Roberts (First year)
No. Position Player
England Joe Collister (Second year)
England Jack Mackreth (Second year)
England Tom Baker (Second year)
England Ross Rule (Second year)
England Jay Ashcroft (Second year)
England Alex Pursehouse (Second year)
England Josh Macauley (Third year)

Main rivals

Despite being near to Everton and Liverpool who are from just across the Mersey, Tranmere's time in the lower leagues has meant they have formed rivalries with other clubs. However, in the 1990s a rivalry, not fully reciprocated, did develop with Everton FC following the controversial departure of Peter Johnson to Goodison Park, the subsequent Steve Simonsen transfer saga, and Rovers' momentous FA Cup victory against The Blues in 2001. This rivalry has cooled in recent years given the present gulf in status between the two clubs.

Bolton Wanderers: The history between Bolton Wanderers and Tranmere goes back to the early 1990s when both clubs were fighting for promotion from Division 3 into Division 2. They met in the Division 3 play-off final at Wembley in 1991. In the final Chris Malkin scored the winning goal in extra time to send Rovers up into Division 2 for only the second time in their history. Bolton and Tranmere fans were reacquainted once more after Bolton won promotion from Division 3 in the 1991-92 season. The rivalry continued as both clubs challenged for promotion into the Premiership culminating in the 1994-95 season when Bolton gained promotion through the play-offs. As Bolton found it hard to remain in the Premiership, being promoted and relegated twice, there were still some meetings between the sides. When the two teams were managed by John Aldridge and Sam Allardyce, meetings became quite juicy.[11] Tranmere met Bolton in the semi final of the League Cup on their way to the last Wembley final at the old Wembley in 2000. It was a two legged affair which Tranmere won 4-0 on aggregate. The fact that Tranmere were still a division lower than Bolton at this time further fuelled the rivalry. The rivalry continues with the two clubs meeting competitively in the League Cup 2nd round in 2009 where Bolton won 1-0 after fielding their strongest side.

Wrexham: Wrexham have always been one of Tranmere's rivals. Not only because the two clubs are relatively close to each other or because they have been in the same division for long periods of time, but also because Tranmere Rovers are English and Wrexham are Welsh. Tranmere's last win at Wrexham's Racecourse Ground was a 5-1 victory.

Chester City: Chester City are based to the south of Tranmere near the Welsh border, with their stadium just in Wales. Chester have not met Tranmere in a league match since 1991, but previously had often played in the same division as Tranmere. In recent years, some of the rivalry between Chester and Tranmere results from the Chester City chairman, Stephen Vaughan, proposing in 2003 to buy Tranmere, sell Prenton Park and have Tranmere play their home games at the Deva Stadium whilst a new "community stadium" was built on the Wirral.[12] This was unacceptable to most Tranmere fans, who were concerned that it could lead to Chester City and Tranmere Rovers being merged.

Oldham Athletic: A rivalry has grown between the two clubs due partly to manager Ronnie Moore leaving the Latics to return to Tranmere, and partly due to both clubs being relatively local and regularly vying for a play-off position. A similar rivalry was created with Wigan Athletic during their Division 2 era because of Simon Haworth's controversial transfer from Wigan to Tranmere, and just like with Oldham both teams were pushing for promotion and were relatively local.

Local teams such as Cammell Laird, Heswall and Vauxhall Motors play Tranmere nearly every pre-season and as all the teams are within 5 miles of Tranmere, there is a friendly rivalry between the clubs and fans.

As at the summer of 2007, the following teams have played the most league games against Tranmere: Crewe Alexandra 116, Halifax Town 104, Rochdale 104, Stockport County 104, Wrexham 102, Hartlepool United 100, Chesterfield 92, Darlington 86, York City 82, Southport 80, Barrow 70, Chester City 68.

Women's football

Tranmere Rovers' affiliated female counterpart, Tranmere Rovers L.F.C., is currently competing in the Northern Championship. They are currently feuding with Liverpool L.F.C., Lincoln City L.F.C. and Crewe Alexandra L.F.C. for promotion to the Women's Premiership, where they have been before, from 1996 to 2001.

Internal records

Best league victory

Tranmere Rovers and Oldham Athletic both hold the English football record for most goals in a game. The match was played on the 26 December 1935 at Prenton Park, Tranmere won the game 13-4.

Highest attendances

Lowest attendance

Most goals in a season

  • 40 - John Aldridge - 1991-1992
  • 40 - Robert "Bunny" Bell - 1934-1935

All-time record goalscorers

  • Ian Muir - 180
  • John Aldridge - 176
  • Bunny Bell - 113
  • Fred Umson - 107
  • Barry Dyson - 106



The Metropolitan Borough of Wirral's logo "Wirral" has adorned Tranmere shirts since 1989, making it the longest shirt sponsor in English football and the third longest in European football.

In popular culture

  • In the movie Goal!, one of the young reserve players says he joined Newcastle United from Tranmere Rovers.
  • In the prison-escape movie Lucky Break, starring Timothy Spall, Lennie James and James Nesbitt, a young cell mate, who is good at making gizmos and gadgets, has a Tranmere Rovers team poster on the wall of his cell.
  • In the Liverpool-based soap opera Brookside, Geoff Rogers, an aspiring young footballer, had a spell as a youth player at Tranmere.
  • Something for the Weekend chef Simon Rimmer went on Mastermind and his topic was on Tranmere.
  • Awaydays is a motion picture set in late 1970s Birkenhead and features a fictional Tranmere firm ('The Pack'). It is based on a novel of the same name by Kevin Sampson.
  • Physio Les Parry recorded and released a Christmas single in December 2006. The song was written by breakfast DJ Jeff Nolan from Wirral's Buzz 97.1 and was released to aid the annual Wirral's Buzz help a Wirral child appeal. Les is due to release his first solo rap album in November 2009, titled 'Short Shorts'.


  1. ^ "AGM told land deal key to Tranmere Rovers' long-term future". icLiverpool. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  2. ^ "Football: League One". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2008-02-29. 
  3. ^ Moore sacked as Tranmere manager
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "Barnes confirmed as Tranmere boss". BBC Sport. 2009-06-15. Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  6. ^ "Barnes - I am Tranmere boss". Sky Sports News. 2009-06-15.,19528,11095_5378713,00.html. Retrieved 2009-06-14. 
  7. ^ "Rovers sack Barnes". Sky Sports News. 2009-10-09.,19528,11095_5618464,00.html. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 
  8. ^ a b "Tranmere sack Barnes and McAteer". BBC. 2009-10-09. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 
  9. ^ Les Parry Appointed Manager Until End Of Season
  10. ^ "Squad Numbers Announced". Tranmere Rovers FC. 2008-07-23.,,10365~1349454,00.html. Retrieved 2009-06-01. 
  11. ^ "I don't hate Bolton insists Aldridge". Bolton Evening News. This Is Lancashire. 2008-01-12. 
  12. ^ "Vaughan 'close to Tranmere deal'". BBC Sport. 2003-01-15. 

External links

Preceded by
Bolton Wanderers
Football League Trophy Winners
Succeeded by
Birmingham City

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