Matt Jones talks about the Play-offs of 2005 and 2009, two games that shaped his successful books and the fortunes of Tranmere’s very recent history.
‘I was there as a fan in 2009 and that was quite an incredible season, Tranmere had built a brilliant team. Obviously they had got to the Play-offs in 2005 under Brian Little, with an eleven that runs off the tongue with the names of John Achteberg and Eugene Dadi. However, the side that nearly reached the Play-offs four years later was so different in that there were no real superstar players. Yes, you had Ian Thomas-Moore who had been brought by a club for a £1million in the past but it was more full of proper work-horses, they had lots of ability but they had worked so hard to reach the stage that they were able to get to. Players such as Anthony Kay, Ben Chorley and Steve Jennings etc’
John Achteberg, the current Liverpool goalkeeper coach, was at Rovers for 11 years of his playing career between 1998 and 2009. He played in the 2005 game at Prenton Park against Hartlepool United.
‘Tranmere were phenomenal that year at home, wiping the floor with the likes of Leicester but they built momentum up at the end of the season which brought a win or lose all tie. Throughout the game, Tranmere were fantastic but they just ran out of a little bit of steam come the end, Gareth Edds being sent off and the man who scored the goal for Scunthorpe would’ve been marked by him’
‘One of my pet hates in football is fans who enjoy celebrating the misfortune of the team playing against more than the fortune of their own team’s success and at the end of the game quite a few fans ran towards the Tranmere supporters and at Steve Jennings who was on the floor’.
‘It just wasn’t really to be and we lost out by the skin of our teeth. We’ve since been able to talk to at least half of that 2009 squad and they say the same, that it was sad to not reach the play-offs as they had given their all throughout the season. That was the start of Tranmere’s demise really, you look at the team that started the game against Scunthorpe and a lot of players went on to leave in the summer for pastures new’
Ronnie Moore was the manager for the 2008/09 campaign but was dismissed following the frustrating result at Scunthorpe. This brought the start of Rovers demise.