Best and Worst – Tranmere.

Best and Worst – Tranmere.

Tristan Browning – Supporter since 1980.

Team: 

Best – John Achterberg; Steve Vickers, Mark Hughes, Ian Goodison, Ged Brannan; Gary Williams, Pat Nevin, Johnny Morrissey; Ian Muir, Chris Malkin, James Norwood.

Worst – Phil Whitehead; Marcus Holness, Janoi Donacien, Godwin Antwi, Harrison McGahey; Nicky Summerbee, Jon Otsemobor; Nathan Eccleston, Michael Ricketts, Kithson Bain, Guy Madjo

Player:

Best – Pat Nevin, pure class from start to finish. 

Worst – Unfair this, as he is a decent enough player, but in the 2014-15 relegation season, I saw us lose away at Oxford, and defender Janoi Donacien literally didn’t put a foot right all afternoon. Worst individual 90 minutes I have ever seen.

Moment: 

Best – Promotion back to the league in 2018. 

Best individual moment – Andy Cook’s goal in that play off final – I celebrated that one more than Norwood’s. 

Worst – Dropping out of the league in 2015. 

Worst individual moment – Simon Haworth breaking his leg at Brentford in 2004. It happened right in front of me. You could hear the bones break. Ouch!

Game: 

Best – The 2018 play off final just shades it from the home leg of the 2000 Worthington Cup semi v Bolton – the best atmosphere I have ever been in at Prenton Park. 

Worst – Not a bad game as such, but early 1996, home v Crystal Palace, 2-0 up at halftime, lost 3-2 – I came away knowing our time aiming for the Premier league was over.

Player’s haircut: 

Best – Johnny Morrissey’s flowing locks. 

Worst – Dougie Anderson’s 1980s home-made haircut.

Signing: 

Best – Other obvious ones I guess, but a good case for Ian Goodison, signed at age 31, went on to play over 400 games for us, 9th in the all time appearance list. 

Worst – Guy Madjo, a striker signed in 2014-15. Came, ran around in circles for 3 games, disappeared never to be seen again.

Season: 

Best – Loved 92-93, the first 2nd level play off season, and 99-2000 getting to the League Cup Final, but also seeing plenty of new grounds, and of course 2017-18.

Worst – Not so keen on 2014-15. dismal.

Goal: 

Best – Adam McGurk, last minute winner away at Bournemouth in 2011 – real Roy of the Rovers stuff. 

Worst – Sean Flynn’s 20 yard own goal volley at home to Wolves in 2001 – it would have been goal of the season if it hadn’t been in the wrong net.

Kit: 

Best – 1995-97, blue and green hooped home top. 

Worst – Never really liked the pinstripe 2000 home shirt – it had red in it! – even though we got to Wembley wearing it.

Nickname: 

Best – Stuart ‘Jigsaw’ Barlow (‘he goes to pieces in the box’) always made me smile. 

Worst – Ian ‘Goody’ Goodison wins no points for originality.

Chant: 

Best – Too many funny things over the years. 

Worst – Tequila, I can’t bear it!!

Manager: 

Best – Johnny King, a total legend, his team from around 1989 to 1995 was six years of absolute brilliance. 

Worst – Micky Adams – came in at a time we needed rescuing, failed utterly to do so.

Cult hero: 

Best – Graham Branch, described as having “the tactical awareness of a newborn deer”, he was actually a superb player and went on to have a great career after leaving us as well. Honourable mention for ‘Steeeeeeeve’ McNulty.

Worst – Never set the world alight as a player, but Frenchman Max Blanchard from 2010-11 loved playing for the club so much, he was a cult hero even though half the people in the crowd were probably better at football.

Hard man: 

Best – Georges Santos. Full stop. 

Worst – James Wallace – wasn’t trying to be hard, but it was a good job, as he injured himself every time he tied his laces.

Facial hair: 

Best – I’ll go for Aldo’s never changing moustache and goatee combo, or Stefan Payne’s full ‘stranded on a desert island’ look. 

Worst – Sean Flynn’s wispy top lip.

Worst hard man? ‘James Wallace, he injured himself every time he tied his laces’

  • The 29 year old Liverpudlian came through the Everton academy ranks before making just over 60 appearances for Tranmere across two spells at Prenton Park.

Meeting the opposition – Salford City F.C

Meeting the opposition – Salford City F.C

This weekend, Tranmere Rovers host Salford City in a League Two fixture, as they search for their first win six. The Whites’ recent run hasn’t been good enough and there are serious concerns that they will drop out of the promotion mix and the playoffs themselves if that doesn’t change soon enough. Thus, Keith Hill’s men need to beat Gary Bowyer’s Ammies.

With this game in mind, I spoke to a Salford City supporter in the form of Adam Franks. He told me about his experiences as a supporter before giving an insight into Salford’s on and off pitch positions as well as the upcoming game itself, amongst other subjects.

How long have you been a Salford City supporter and when/how did you first come across the club?

I’ve been a Salford supporter for fifteen years, my first game was back in 2006 vs FC United at The Willows. The club came across as my Nana’s next door neighbour’s son, Matthew Burke, played for the club. 

Highest and lowest points across that time?

Lowest point for me would have been the play off semi final defeat against Halifax when we got beat on penalties. Was just a cruel way to go. 

Random fact about the Ammies?

My random fact about Salford is that my stepdad, Les Whiteley, used to manage the club years ago. 

What were your expectations going into the season and what are they now the campaign’s coming to a close?

Being a football league team is still such a surreal feeling because of how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time. My expectations were to survive and hopefully challenge some of the top teams that have been up there and got a good history about themselves. 

Gary Bowyer was appointed manager last month, following the departure of Richie Wellens. It was another gaffer that was on the touchline the last time Salford hosted Tranmere, Graham Alexander. What are your thoughts on the departures of Wellens and Alexander? Also, what are your thoughts of Bowyer’s time so far?

The departure of Alexander came of a shock with the recent run of form and it being such an early start to the season. 

Wellens was a good replacement but he tried to change the full format which backfired. He went to Swindon and was handed a squad who played the formation he wanted and he tried throwing that at the lads straight away and it backfired. 

I think Bowyer will do well with these final run of games, he has to considering his contract only runs into the end of the season and I hope that the club can appoint someone on a long-term basis soon. 

Who are the club’s owners and what are your thoughts on them?

I have a lot of respect  for the owners of the club, both Class of 92, Karen Baird and the back room staff as the club wouldn’t be where they are without their constant support. 

Your danger men?

For me I have three danger men within the Salford squad, Vaclav Hladky, Ibou Touray & Ashley Hunter.

The last meeting between Salford and Tranmere ended in a 2-2 draw, in mid-October. Thoughts on that game?

I was embarrassed with our final five minutes as being 2-0 up and to only come away with one point because of two very poor late goals. 

How do you see the game panning out this weekend? (Score prediction etc) and why, if you do, do you think the game this weekend will pose more interesting questions than last time?

On the back of two wins and a loss against a strong Bolton side I see us doing well as Tranmere are still without James Vaughan who has been their target man throughout this campaign. I hope we come away with a clean sheet but it’ll be a tough game and hopefully full of goals. 

What starting eleven do you think Bowyer will select?

Hladky, Clarke, Eastham, Turnbull, Touray, Towell, Coutts, Lowe, Hunter, Brandon Thomas Asante & Henderson. 

Thoughts on Tranmere? The club in general.

Tranmere are a solid team with a very decent past record and I did think they would be challenging for promotion. I wasn’t wrong. 

Thoughts on the Ammies’ winter transfer business? That is crucial, more often than not, in determining whether the club can reach their late found ambitions.

The transfer business this season has been very good, I’ve been impressed with every player the club has brought in. 

Who is your favourite all time Salford player?

My all time favourite Salford City player has got to be Scott Burton. Scott was a solid leader in the midfield and put his heart on the line every time he stepped on the pitch. 

Midfielder Scott Burton, ‘he was a solid leader’.

Best and Worst – Tranmere

Best and Worst – Tranmere

Zak Hayes, 20 years old – Matchgoer since 2008

Favourite team – Has to be the 17/18 squad that got us out of the National League. They all played their part in getting us what was the most important promotion to date in my opinion.

Favourite player – Ian Goodison, mostly because of how he was an absolute soldier at the back for years but throw in the overhead kicks and arrive back just in time for the start of the season every year and it’s impossible not to love the guy.

Best moment – I’d go for Jennings’s winner against Newport, since it was in virtually the last minute of normal time and it was complete pandemonium in our end. I know many of us will go for Norwood’s winner the year before but I was still too nervous for the remaining 10 minutes to over-celebrate it.

Best game – Boreham Wood at Wembley. The battle from the 10 men was something else.

Favourite player’s haircut – Ian Goodison’s dreadlocks

Best signing – James Norwood.

Favourite Season – 2018/19, was brilliant to be back and in the league and we surprised everyone with our form and promotion.

Favourite goal – Larnell Cole’s strike in extra time against Ebbsfleet. Too much power for their keeper to handle and put the semi final to bed.

Favourite kit – I’d say the 2010/11 home kit. 

Favourite nickname – The Superwhites

Favourite chant – Either One Night in Gay Paris or just simply the one where we chant “Tranmere” 11 times. I know that seems boring but it’s been a constant over the years and it still goosebumps when it’s done loudly and properly.

Favourite Manager – I wasn’t around for the King or Aldo years so it’s got to be Micky Mellon really.

Favourite cult hero – Since I’ve already mentioned Ian Goodison, this one goes to Steve McNulty. Made opposition fans eat their words on a regular basis.

Favourite hard man – Jay Harris. Loved his energy and how he didn’t hesitate to fly into a tackle, if he won the ball of course. The fact he left Wrexham for us when in the same league made him even more likeable.

Facial hair – That’s an interesting question. Stefan Payne’s beard I suppose, likeable guy even if he didn’t amount to much overall with us.

Worst Team – The 2014/2015 season side by a country mile. Owain Fon Williams, Max Power and Liam Ridehalgh spring to mind as maybe the only players that emerged from that season with any credit.

Worst Player – George Donnelly, as we actually paid money for him and he was talked about as being a good replacement for Ryan Lowe.

Worst Moment – I didn’t go to the game, but seeing the tweet that said we were relegated to non-league after Plymouth away really did feel like a strong punch in the stomach.

Worst game – Welling at home was an absolute disgrace given it was the first game after Johnny King’s passing.

Worst signing – I’ve already mentioned George Donnelly, so Stephen Foster or Kayode Odejayi.

Worst season – Again 2014/2015, by a country mile.

Worst goal – Remember one from the National League days where their keeper parried it against his own defender and it went in. Think it was Sutton at home.

Worst kit – The first home bargains one with blue sleeves in 2013/14 made me question why I bothered with this club even as a 12 year old.

Worst nickname – Always winds me up a bit seeing Bolton or Oldham fans calling us “Trampmere”.

Worst chant – “Odejayi baby” to the tune of the Human League’s Don’t You Want Me Baby.

Worst manager – Micky Adams. Came in with a good record and looking a solid appointment to steer us to mid-table safety and left with the club in ruins and fans booing when our own players had the ball.

Worst hard man – Does Michael Higdon count as a hard man? Certainly seemed to think he was when sarcastically applauding the Kop after we cheered seeing him getting taken off when behind in a crucial game against Wrexham in which he’d contributed nothing positive at all.

Worst manager? Micky Adams.

Best and Worst – Tranmere

Best and Worst – Tranmere Rovers F.C

Neil Jackson, 50 years old – Supporter since 1981

Best 

Team – 1994 squad – Nixon – Thomas, Nolan, McGreal, Hughes – Morrisey, Irons, O’Brien, Nevin – Aldridge, Muir – Subs Coyne, Higgins, Jones, Brannon, Malkin 

Player – Ian Muir just for going through from 4th division days to Championship and still standing out. 

Moment – Last 4 mins v Barrow to get 4-3 victory with 3 goals in added time. 

Game – 3-0 v Everton 

Player’s haircut – Ian Goodisons dreadlocks 

Signing – John Aldridge 

Season – 1999/2000 

Goal – Norwood’s header in the play off final to fire us back into the football league, for the pure emotion

Kit – Home kit 93 to 95 

Nickname – Tony “the tank” Thomas 

Chant – One night in Gay Paris  

Manager – Johnny King 

Cult hero – Eddie Bishop 

Hard man – Jim Steel 

Facial hair – Aldridge’s Moustache 

Worst 

Team – 2014/2015 squad 

Player – Marcus Holness 

Moment – Losing in the Worthington cup final 

Game – Tranmere 1 Burton 4 2015 – knew then we were being relegated out of the football league 

Player’s haircut – select any from 1982 to 1985

Signing – James Alabi 

Season – 2014/2015 

Goal – Matt Elliot’s at Wembley League Cup final 

Kit – Gold and grey striped away shirt 93-95 

Nickname – To be honest, I can’t think of one 

Chant – Der Tranmere 

Manager – Micky Adams 

Cult hero – Eugine Dadi 

Hard man – James Wallace, he was a great player but any decent tackle put him out for 3 months at a time.

Facial hair – None spring to mind 

Worst player? Marcus Holness.

Holness was a centre half for Rovers between 2014 and 2016.

‘Meeting the opposition’ – Walsall F.C

‘Meeting the opposition’ – Walsall F.C

Ahead of the upcoming League Two encounter at the Bescot Stadium between Walsall and Tranmere Rovers, I spoke to the Saddlers independent blog and news website @BescotBanter. They gave their thoughts on Walsall’s on and off pitch subject matters as well as giving an insight into Tuesday night’s fixture, amongst other subjects.

How long have you been a Walsall supporter and when/how did you first come across them?

Sentenced to a lifelong love of the club. From the start to the end, we’ll always be Saddlers. Although they don’t make it easy to keep the faith from time to time.

Highest and lowest points across that time?

A recent high has to be the visit to Wembley for the JPT final. Whilst there have undoubtedly been higher highs over the years, famous victories over Arsenal and Liverpool et al, the visit to the national stadium saw thousands of fans both committed and casual descend upon the capital to watch the Saddlers take on Bristol City.

Near financial collapse and proposed Bluenose mergers aside, the 2018/19 season has to be one of the low points in recent times. The club’s almost submission-like relegation from League One was a season-long decline which we’re currently showing little sign of recovering from. There remains a long road ahead.

Random fact about the Saddlers?

Always terrible at these questions. We’re joined as supporters by the likes of Pop Idol judge and train aficionado Pete Waterman, amongst others. We think you’ll agree we win this round of ‘Famous Fan Top Trumps’.

What were your expectations going into the season, and what are now the campaign’s coming to an end?

We were hoping for an upper mid-table finish with a possible late surge towards the Play-Off’s, at the moment we’ll settle for a winning end to the season and a welcome rebuild in the summer months.

Brian Dutton is Walsall manager; he was appointed this season, and it is the 35-year-old’s first time in charge of a club. What are your thoughts on him? Darrell Clarke was sacked, in mid-February, to make that happen. Was it the right time for the club to part ways with the former Bristol Rovers gaffer?

It’s still a little too early to tell in regard to Brian. He’s only recently been able to secure his first win since taking charge and has a long way to go before he will be accepted by the Saddlers faithful. Hopefully, with the upcoming appointment of a Director of Football, and the odd win or two between now and the end of the season, he can prove himself capable of not only leading the team but guiding them back towards the upper reaches of the table.

Darrell Clarke appeared to be looking for a way out for quite some time and, given our run of form, probably jumped before he was pushed. We’re probably a happier club without him and will hopefully be able to repair some of the damage done over the coming weeks and months.

Who are the club’s owners, and what are your thoughts on them?

Leigh Pomlett is the majority shareholder and chairman. A local lad who clearly loves the club, he took over from Jeff Bonser and has sought to reconnect the club with its fans, although not helped by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, there is still a long road ahead if the club is to truly begin to challenge not only for a place in the third tier but the leagues above.

Your danger men?

Only one true danger man at the moment, Rory Holden. He is capable of unlocking the opposition back-line and, as seen over the weekend, is a major player when it comes to our attacking line. His injury lay off saw team performances dip and goals almost completely disappear. Hopefully, he can continue to make the team tick before the inevitable move to pastures new.

The last time the two clubs met was in December at Prenton Park. The visitors won 3-1 in a League Two encounter .. thoughts on that game?

Always welcome the opportunity to burst a bubble and the fact that the game was the first to be played in front of fans for quite some time will (sadly) serve as a highlight of the campaign. You can draw your own conclusions as to just how successful the season has been, given this particular highlight.

How do you see the game this upcoming Tuesday night panning out? (Score prediction etc) and why, if you do, do you think that the game will pose more questions than the last encounter did?

We’re not expecting a repeat of the most recent outing, although we will come into the game on the back of a win over Forest Green so shouldn’t be discounted as a threat. We’ll go with a 1-1 draw.

What starting eleven do you think Dutton will select?

The gaffer has sought to make few changes overall, although injuries and fatigue will always play a part. The team v Forest Green was; Rose; White, Clarke, Sadler, Melbourne; Wright, Kinsella, Perry, Osadebe; Holden; Gordon. We’re not likely to see too many changes, with Alfie Bates and Cameron Norman possibly coming in.

Thoughts on Tranmere? The club in general.

Rovers appeared to be amongst the favourites to go up at the end of the campaign. And, despite the recent run of results – which we hope to capitalise upon – we expect that to be the case when the curtain comes down in May.

Thoughts on the Saddler’s winter transfer business? That plays a good part, more often than not, in improving a club’s chances of meeting their late found ambitions.

We were in a panic mode setting in January and made signings simply to fill a few gaps. Lincoln City’s Max Melbourne has slotted in well and could even make a permanent move in the summer. Sadly the departures had much more of an impact upon the squad, something which has to be addressed in the summer.

I normally finish the ‘meeting the opposition’ Q+A by asking for your thoughts on current squad members that have played for Tranmere previously. Considering that there isn’t any in your current squad who match that description, what are your thoughts on current Rovers forwards Kieron Morris and Corey Blackett-Taylor who have both played their football at the Bescot Stadium before their time on Merseyside?

Kieron Morris was a fairly consistent performer overall. Loved a shot wide of goal, but always had the potential to improve and was capable of changing a game if motivated.

Former loanee Blackett-Taylor made the odd promising performance but, as with many of our loanees, was here for match sharpness and to hopefully put himself in the shop window. Saying that we’d have welcomed his return as a permanent signing but it wasn’t to be.

23-year-old midfielder Rory Holden is Saddlers main threat. @BescotBanter describes him as being a major player when it comes to their attacking style of play.

Best and Worst – Tranmere.

Best and Worst – Tranmere Rovers F.C

Scott Keith Walker, 24 years old – Supporter since 2003. 

My favourite team has to be from the I think it was 05/06 season. It’s the first team I remember properly watching and some of my all time favorites played in it. The worst for me would have to be the 14/15 squad that saw us relegated to the national league.

My all time favourite player for me is Ian Hume. He was my hero when I first started watching the rovers and while the other kids were pretending to be Stevie G or Rooney whilst having a kick about on the playground I was shouting Hume (on the rare occasion) that I banged in a goal. My least favourite player, and this is just my personal opinion of course, has to be Marc Laird. I know a lot of fans like him but for me it just all he ever seemed to do was lose possession and sometimes he’d win it back. But as I say I don’t know what it was I just never liked the football he played. That might be one for the unpopular opinion bin though.

Moment I’ll keep short and sweet. Best moment? Norwood’s winner against Borehamwood to take us back to the football league. Worst? The journey back after watching us get bent over by Forrest Green in the play off final.

Haircut I don’t really know, I don’t think we’ve had any extravagant ones have we? In all honesty I never took much notice of hair cuts but you can’t go wrong with Humey’s skinhead can you? Bit I definitely couldn’t give a worst I don’t think I’ve ever disliked a players haircut.

Favourite signing for the impact and career that had for us in my time as a fan was probably Norwood but honorable mention to the resigning of Ian hume. I know it didn’t go well but I can’t tell you the goosebumps I got when he was subbed on for the first time and I heard his name called over the tannoy again. Least favourite signing for me would probably be Nugent on loan at the moment. Seems ridiculous that we let two capable strikers go and brought in someone not really ready to play as a replacement and now find ourselves in a real predicament because of it.

Favourite season. Promotion from league 2, some brilliant memories and away days from that one. Least would be last season. Wrongful relegation after coming into form and being in no doubt at all we wouldn’t make a great escape really does cut deep and I’m definitely still bitter about that one as, I’m sure, so are many others.

Favourite goal. Norwoods in the final. Because it was sloppy and weak but it went in and that’s all that mattered. Least favourite goal? The Bury scored to doom us and promote themselves and meant we had to watch them dance on our pitch.

Best kit for me is the home strip worn from 05 – 07. Simple but effective. Least favourite is the home strip from 15 – 16. Just looked ugly to me.

Nickname I’ll go with jenno for favourite and in all honesty I never had a least favourite nickname. I have zero negative feelings towards any nicknames.

Favourite chant by far is “one night on gay paris” absolutely love that bad boy. Least favourite chant, well I don’t know if you could call it a chant but that thing with the clapping that the kop tried to do to copy from the Iceland fans because we had nordic roots. It was a disaster and didn’t work at all.

Favourite manager that I actually watched manage would have to be Micky Mellon for me. Least favourite John Barnes.

Favourite cult hero has to be Goody. What an absolute legend of a man he is never mind that fact he was our best cb in recent history. Least favourite cult hero is a tough one because the very definition of a cult hero is people love them and in all honesty I couldn’t pick one I dislike.

Hard man I’ll have to go with McNulty as my favorite. Took absolutely zero sh*t and gave just as many fu*ks. 

Facial hair I don’t know at all to be honest and can’t even picture any players who actually had facial hair so I’m going to have to skip that one sorry.

My favourite hard man? Steve McNulty. Took absolutely zero sh*t and gave just as many fu*ks.

Steve McNulty joined Tranmere in 2015 and left as a double promotion winner to League One from the National League in 2019.

Best and worst – Tranmere

Best and Worst – Tranmere Rovers F.C

Geoff Carrington, 56 years old – Supporter since 1975

Best Tranmere Team

1993/94 Aldo, Pat Nevin, Mogsy, John McGreal, Danny Coyne or Nico in goal… great team that almost got promoted, quality all over the pitch.  Used to love the fact that half the team would be in the Clipper after home games.

Worst Tranmere Team

2009/10 John Barnes era… enough said!

Best moment

Whilst there’s so much this is easy for me, Norwood’s goal at Wembley to get us promoted… still sends shivers down my spine when I think about it!

Worst moment

When we were relegated from the league in 2015…

Best game

FA cup win against Southampton, 3 down and came back to win 4 – 3… I remember walking down Borough Road on the way home and some Southampton fans kicking off saying Birkenhead was a shit hole… yeah it is a shit hole but we still beat you ha ha.

Worst game

Vs FGR 2017 play off final… horrible game against a horrible team.

Best Player’s haircut

Ian Goodison

Worst

Bas Savage

Best signing

John Aldridge… what a legend!

Worst Signing

Jason McAteer

Best season

1993/94 it was just amazing to be a Rovers fan and see us genuinely compete with the 2 sides from across the Mersey.

Worst Season

2016 first season in the conference – the football was just shocking

Best goal

Andy Parkinson vs Middlesbrough worthy cup 99

Worst Goal

Not sure – any goal against us…

Best Kit

I would say the current home kit

Worst Kit

Green away kit from 1995 (for some reason I used to have one and wear it all the time!)

Best Nickname

Super white army

Worst nickname

Scousers.

Best Chant

Super white army

Worst chant

“You’ll never get a job…”  Hilarious!

Cult hero

Eric Nixon – Tranmere through and through

Worst

John Barnes – awful manager who then played the race card when he got sacked.

Hard man

Steve McNulty

Worst

Vinnie Jones when he played for QPR against Rovers – horrible player to watch.

Facial hair

Danny Lloyds Beard… that’s a proper beard.

Worst

Aldo’s tash… just no! 

Worst player’s haircut? Bas Savage.

Savage was known for his extraordinary style and played for Rovers between 2008 and 2010.

Best and Worst – Tranmere

Best and Worst – Tranmere Rovers F.C

Phillip Rippon, 36 years old – supporter since the 1991/92 season

Team 

Best

Nixon, Nolan, McGreal, Vickers, Thomas, Nevin, Harvey, O’Brien, Morrissey, Muir, Aldridge

Worst

Wilson, Antwi, Jobson, Foster, Darville, Williams, Sousa, Gill, Carole, Gornell, N’Diaye

Player

Best

John Morrissey

Worst

Sean McGinty

Moment 

Best

Chris Malkin scoring against Bolton 1-0, Playoff final 1991, class forwards roll in celebration

Worst

Relegation to the Conference, 2015

Game 

Best

Tranmere 3-1 Aston Villa, Coca Cola Cup, Semi Final, 1st leg, 1994, my favourite ever game.

Worst

Aston Villa, 1994 Coca Cola Semi Final, 2nd leg, heartbreaking.

Players Haircut 

Best

Ged Brannan, took great care of his hair, it looked the same at kick off and at full time, it didn’t move, it was so smooth you would think it was a hairpiece, lol.

Worst

Mark Yozzer Hughes

Signing 

Best

John Aldridge, £250,000 in 1991 an absolute steal.

Worst

George O’Callaghan, did he even play a competitive match for us, he was signed to much fanfare too.

Season 

Best

1994/1995

We had it all this season and the football we played was eye catching, fast counter attacking football it was scary good, could rip through opposition defences with ease. We finished 5th, 6 points behind Middlesbrough, that’s how close we were to the Premiership, only one automatic spot back then. Lost to Reading in Playoffs after doing the league double, typical hey!

Worst

2000/01 and 2014/15

Goal 

Best

I’ve seen some beauties but Nick Henry’s volley against Bolton in the Worthington Cup Semi Final, 2000 is a personal favourite.

Worst

Can’t really remember,  properly Chris Shucker scoring a header on goal line, smallest player on the pitch by a mile.

Kit

Best

Home kit, 1995/1996 & 1996/1997 (wore it for two seasons)

Worst

Away kit 2016/2017, wheelie bin anybody?

Nickname

Best

Super White Army

Worst

Trannies

Chant 

Best

E I E I E I O, Up The Football League We Go, it’s iconic and my first football chant memory

Worst

Hey Rock and roll, Watson’s on the dole

Manager

Best

Johnny King

Worst

John Barnes

Cult Hero 

Best

I honestly could have picked numerous names but I’m going with Kenny Irons, underrated but he was a good player. We haven’t had a box to box player like him since 1999 when he left.

Worst

Ivano Bonetti

Hard Man 

Best

Dave Higgins, he was hard as nails, always put his head in where it hurt, talking about players who played for the badge.

Worst

Georges Santos

Facial Hair

Best

I’ve gone more recent with James Norwood, I thought he had good facial hair and kept it smart.

Worst

Danny Holmes (that season the players were all growing beards in 2013/2014

Worst hard man? Georges Santos. 

The French defender/midfielder played for Rovers from 1998 to 2000.

Best and Worst – Tranmere.

Best and worst – Tranmere Rovers F.C

Ethan Hoijord, 18 years old – Supporter since the 2014/15 season.

Team –

Best – The 17/18 promotion team that got us promoted from the National League. Fight, hunger and a hell tonne of skill. I loved that team, when they were climbing the stairs up to collect their trophy .. I was in tears saying how proud of them I was. The club was united then after so many years of disarray. 

The team that played at Wembley? Davies, Sutton, McNulty, Monthe, Ridehalgh, Cole, Norburn, Hughes, Ginnelly, Cook, Norwood. Subs? Clarke, Jennings and Harris.

Worst – It has to be the 14/15 team that got us relegated to the fifth tier of English football for the first time in the club’s history. 

This was the eleven that played on the day that was confirmed: Fonners, Laird, Ihiekwe, Dugdale, Donacien, Hill, Koumas, Jennings, Power, Odejayi, Donnelly. The subs? Green and Hume.

Player – 

Best – James Norwood. Goals, pace, trickery .. he had it all and it also helped that he had a great affection for the fanbase as Rovers fans loved him too.

Worst – See, this is a tricky one. I feel like there’d be a long list if I was really going to put my mind to it and a certain current striker may be on there. However, I’ll go for defender Marcus Holness. He was awful. I remember meeting him in a pre-season friendly at Cammell Lairds, I said I had heard a lot about him .. he replied ‘anything good?’ .. I nodded, that was a lie.

Moment –

Best – When Norwood scored against Boreham Wood, to promote us back to the Football League. That day will forever live in my memory, I’m so glad I was there to experience it. 

Worst – Again, there would be a long list. However, considering it was the game that saw us being relegated to the National League .. Plymouth Away 2015. Made me cry, that did.

Game –

Best – In terms of end to end or in terms of what it meant? To be honest, as is a common theme, I’ll have to go for the National League Play Off final victory. 

Worst – As I’ve already mentioned that Plymouth game and I don’t fancy having a nightmare when I’m sleeping tonight, I’ll go with the Play Off final defeat against Forest Green in 2017. Definitely having a nightmare. 

Player’s haircut –

Best – I don’t mind a straight and narrow two all over. However, I’ll label Bas Savage’s red and blue style as the best. As a young lad, I thought it was quite cool. Tricky question, this one. 

Worst – The worst? Adam McGurk’s! Looked like he had a parrot or a squirrel, I can’t remember the description too well, on his head. Made me and my comb over look alright.

Signing –

Best – James Norwood, easy. Forest Green fans were laughing at us, he had played as a winger for them. We, well Gary Brabin, turned his role into an out and out striker and Nors’ time on Merseyside showed the Nailsworth outfit just what they had been missing out on. 

Worst – The list is endless. Thus, I’ll go for one that is still at the club and was signed by the current gaffer in January. David Nugent, god help him .. he’s past his best and if he was food you’d refrain yourself from eating in the fear of food poisoning. 

Season –

Best – Our League Two promotion campaign in 2018/19. No one expected us to go up, we defied the odds and we had fun whilst we were at it. The 4-3 win away at Morecambe still lives in the memory, so does the smell of the pyro I was next to.

Worst – 2014/15, enough said.

Goal –

Best – I’ve already mentioned the James Norwood goal at Wembley, but that still leaves plenty in the back of my mind. I’ll go for Andy Cook’s long range strike against Eastleigh, what a combination those two players were. I miss them, deeply.

Worst – Impossible question, every Rovers goal is worth celebrating and I can’t remember our last tap in.

Kit –

Best – I love the 2016/17 home shirt. It was nothing special but it was smart, looked so clean and it was the one that we wore when I first watched us at Wembley. Good memories, glad that I’ve got that shirt in my wardrobe.

Worst – Looking back, as I thought it was alright at the time, I hate the 2015/16 home shirt. A mixture of Cabrini, Home and Bargains as well as awkward green and blue stripes .. grim.

Nickname –

Best – Super Whites, bit of might.

Worst – I’ve seen rival fans label the club as ‘tranny’ and the fans as ‘trannies. Not very politically correct. However, considering I’ve went for ‘one night in gay paris’ as my best chant, I’ll just say there’s better nicknames out there.

Chant –

Best – ‘one night in gay paris’. A chant that I’ve always wanted to learn and now I know every word I love belting it out in a packed away end. ‘I paid five francs to see …’ I’ll stop there.

Worst – ‘super white army’. Probably a bit of a controversial one. However, it gives me deep and dark thoughts of when those three words were the only ones that you’d hear coming from the Kop when we were awful and getting relegated. Alright chant, dark memories. Our songbook has since improved.

Manager –

Best – Considering this is only since I started supporting the Whites, it’s an easy one. Johnny King is the obvious, he was before my time though. Thus, I’ll go for Micky Mellon. I was starstruck when I first met him after he had been appointed, I spent many an hour waiting for him after the game in my teenage years. He was great, understood the club so well and brought me the only footballing success I have had the pleasure of experiencing in person. I was gutted when he left for Dundee United. Honestly, I still am. What a man.

Worst – How long have you got? I’ll say Micky Adams and if you’ve read his book, which I’ve seen extracts from, you’d understand why. He’d lost all love for the game when he arrived at Prenton Park and he made all fans fall out of love with it as well. To top it all off, he left before he got a relegation on his CV. Dare I say fraud? Yeah, I’ll say it.

Cult hero –

Best – Tough one. For the case of including him in this write up, I’ll say Steve McMulty as he’s a football cult hero due to being a little bit on the larger side. He’s a unit, up close, it’s not fat .. it’s muscle. Great player in all. However, you know that if you understand football. I’m just including him because he was class, on the pitch and every time I’ve met him and he’s occasionally mocked by others due to his stature.

Worst – I suppose James Alabi is somewhat of a cult hero, considering the majority of the fanbase had such high hopes after he netted 5 past Lairds in something like half an hour. On the pitch though, in competitive encounters, he was awful. He spoke to a paper and said he’d ran out of excuses if he wanted to play in the Premier League .. I thought that was a little bit far fetched. However, he did get promoted with us .. his few games contributed, kinda.

Hard man –

Best – There’s been quite a few. The two Jay’s are in the back of my mind though, although you could add Peter Clarke into the mix as well. Jay Spearing and Jay Harris are, of course, the two Jay’s. I’ll go for Spearing, he’s been top notch this season and some of his tackles have been immense. A hard man but clean whilst he’s at it.

Worst – Worst hard man? Can I say Joss Labadie? I was watching Rovers when he was playing for us, although not supporting us entirely. He’s been in the papers for biting a few players, nasty.

Facial hair –

(I’ll leave this one unanswered as I don’t pay too much attention to facial hair, unless someone has done movember successfully).

Micky Mellon. Easily the best manager in my time supporting the club. He loved Tranmere and brought the club success, to a level that I thought I’d never experience.

Meeting the opposition – Scunthorpe United F.C

Scunthorpe United – ‘meeting the opposition’

This weekend, Keith Hill’s Tranmere Rovers travel to Scunthorpe United in the aim of improving their automatic promotion chances and putting past on the road nightmares to bed. Scunthorpe have their own aims, they will want to steer away from the relegation zone before they have any chance of being sucked into the cesspit of worry. Thus, ahead of this League Two encounter I spoke to @tobyskelt0n about all of United’s on and off pitch subject matters before discussing the pre-match topics amongst others.

How long have you been a Scunthorpe United supporter and when/how did you first come across them?

Being from Scunthorpe and having family who support Scunthorpe United, I’d say I’ve been a fan my whole life. My mum often took me to matches when I was very little and I’ve been attending most games ever since.

Highest and lowest points across that time?

For me personally, the highest point was winning the League One play offs in 2009 to reach the Championship. We were massively outnumbered in terms of support against Millwall, but we came away with a 3-2 win and I’m sure it’s a day that will live long in the memory of all Scunthorpe fans. The lowest point was going all the way down to Plymouth on the last day of the season in 2019, losing 3-2 and confirming our relegation to League Two. That season was terrible throughout, and this final game only accentuated it. It was a very long journey home afterwards too.

Random fact about the club?

Kevin Keegan started his career at Scunthorpe.

What were your expectations going into the season and what are they now the campaign’s coming to an end?

My expectations were just to stay in the league. After finishing 20th last season, and having a largely underwhelming summer in terms of transfer business, I would definitely have taken survival in League Two this season. We currently sit 18th, almost unable to go up or down. We’re currently 10 points above the relegation zone which, barring an incredulous turn of events, should be enough for us to stay up. So overall, I am largely content with how the season has turned out.

Neil Cox is Scunthorpe United’s manager; he was appointed last year following two assistant manager spells under Neal Ardley at AFC Wimbledon and Notts County respectively. Thoughts on him?

As Cox is actually from Scunthorpe and played for the club, he already established a more positive relationship with the fans. Considering this is his first full season as a manager, he’s done very well. We’ve had many injuries to some of our key players recently, and despite that, we’re still way above the relegation zone. So all things considered, there can’t be many complaints directed towards Cox.

Who are the club’s owners and what are your thoughts on them?

The club chairman is Peter Swann. He initially invested heavily when he first came to the club, and got us into consecutive League One play off semi finals in 2017 and 2018. However, since then, he’s had to cut the cloth according, as our spending was very unsustainable. The current business model is to develop young players and push the wage budget down. This will be a long-term plan, but personally I am optimistic about it, as it will safeguard the finances of the club for the future. The chairman has always spoken honestly with fans, especially on local radio and fans’ forums, and this transparency is very much welcomed, especially when most owners rarely have any dialogue with fans anymore.

Your danger men?

In our last two matches, we’ve scored 0 goals and only conjured up a mere 2 shots on target, so identifying a target man is rather difficult at this moment! Fans favourite Kevin van Veen is injured and first choice striker Ryan Loft has looked rather uninspiring recently, so the danger men would probably be our wingers Alex Gilliead and Abo Eisa. On their day, both can tear up any defences at this level, but inconsistency, especially with Eisa can be a problem. Expect Gilliead to be running at your full backs throughout the game.

The last time the two clubs met was last October. Rovers won that game, at Prenton Park, 2-0. Thoughts on that encounter?

Not a game that was especially enjoyable as a Scunthorpe fan. Apart from the goal, the first half was largely uneventful. In the second half, Rovers maybe should’ve scored more than just one more. We had very few clear-cut chances ourselves, so we couldn’t complain too much about the result.

How do you see the upcoming game panning out? (Score prediction) and why, if you do, do you think that the game will pose more questions than the previous meeting did?

I’m not expecting much from us from this game if I’m honest. Our performances against Carlisle and Crawley were both below par, and carving out any real decent chances have been few and far between. We’ve not really got anything to play for, and with a few key players being injured, I can see a win for Rovers. I’ll go for another 2-0 Tranmere win.

What starting eleven do you think Cox will select?

With injuries to our first-choice keeper Mark Howard, defenders Junior Brow, Harrison McGahey and George Taft, creative midfielder Jordan Hallam and striker van Veen, our squad is already quite thin. In addition, winger Devarn Green and defender Manny Onarise are doubts for the game too, so we really are down the bare bones. I’d envisage the line up being something like:

Watson, Howe, Clarke, Bedeau, O’Malley, Karacan, Beestin, Gilliead, Eisa, McAtee, Loft.

Thoughts on Tranmere? The club in general.

They’re a big club at this level. Very nice stadium and passionate fans. Although arguably, you shouldn’t even be in this league, after being unfairly relegated on PPG last season. I’ve seen there’s been a bit of backlash against manager Keith Hill recently, which is understandable after recent results.

Thoughts on Scunthorpe’s winter transfer business? That plays a good role, more often than not, in instilling hope and some fire into a team with a goal.

In all fairness, not much happened in the winter in terms of transfer business. We did sign Jem Karacan after a successful trial, and managed to tie down George Taft to a permanent deal after his initial loan from Bolton. In terms of departures, only three loan players departed the club. Karacan has made a substantial difference to the squad though, having that experience in the middle of the park has been vital.

Two players that are currently on your club’s squad list may come up against their former team this weekend, Junior Brown and Devarn Green. How have they done in their time with the Iron?

Junior Brown has been okay, nothing special but he is one of the older heads at the back and his presence largely goes under the radar. He lost his place to Mason O’Malley earlier in the season, who is a much more adventurous and attacking left back in comparison to Brown. He has been injured as of late too, and it’s unlikely he’ll be offered a new contract this summer. Devarn Green on the other hand has been very exciting. He’s been getting regular game time and has shown fans his lightning pace on the wings and his desire to run at defenders gets fans off their seats. If he manages to add a few more goals to his game, he could be a real key player in the future.

Left back, who can also operate in midfield, Junior Brown played for Tranmere nine times in the season that they were relegated to League Two .. not demoted. This weekend, he will be hoping his side can cause problems for Rovers which is something that he did when being sent off in a vital game against Bradford City at Prenton Park.

Thank you very much for reading,

Stay safe,

Ethan Hoijord