‘Meeting the opposition’ – Port Vale.

‘Meeting the opposition’ – Port Vale F.C

This upcoming weekend sees Tranmere Rovers play host to Port Vale in League Two action. With that in mind, I placed questions towards long-serving supporter Scott Challinor. I thought it would be interesting to see the thoughts of a fan who’s club will soon face Rovers, to get his opinions of the Whites as well as his thoughts on the position of the Vale at the moment, on and off the pitch; amongst many other subjects.

How long have you been a Vale fan? How did you first come across the club?

‘I have been watching the Vale since roughly 2001, with the LDV Vans Trophy Final triumph of that season being the first game I can remember. As for how I got into watching them, my Dad indoctrinated me early on in life!’

Proudest moment as a fan?

‘Promotion in the 2012-13 season. The club started the season still in administration from the previous campaign and didn’t even have a permanent first-team kit by the opening day. 21 wins, 15 draws and just ten defeats later and the club was celebrating a miracle promotion which had manifested completely against the odds. Boyhood Vale supporter Tom Pope also notched 31 league goals that season (33 in all competitions) and walked away with the League Two golden boot to put the cherry on the cake’.

Random fact about Port Vale?

‘The club holds the record for the fewest goals conceded in a Football League season, with Freddie Steele’s Vale side conceding just 21 goals in 46 matches on their way to the Third Division North title in the 1953-54 season. The Valiants defence, nicknamed the “Iron Curtain”, also helped the club reach the semi-finals of the FA Cup in the same season, controversially losing out to eventual winners West Brom’.

What are your thoughts on the campaign so far? What were your expectations going into the season and what are they now in the final stages?

‘Going into the season, there was high expectation that we’d be finishing in a playoff place and prospectively sneaking into the top three. After a horrible run of form between November and the New Year which culminated in John Askey’s sacking, those hopes are pretty much out of the window now! I am quietly hoping we can string together a good run of form to at least give us an outside chance of sneaking seventh place, but I’m expecting that we’ll be between 11th and 14th by the end of the campaign’.

What were your thoughts on John Askey’s dismissal? How has your interim manager looked in his role so far? Going forwards, who would you like to see in the hot-seat?

‘It was absolutely the correct decision and was perhaps slightly overdue. Although the players had to shoulder a large portion of the blame, our run of form became indefensible and a change was needed. I’m pleased that the owners were brave enough to make what was a difficult call.

Since Askey’s departure, interim manager Danny Pugh’s performance has been pleasing. If we overlook two of our recent fixtures where Pugh wasn’t present for training or in the dugout due to testing positive for Covid (both of which we lost) he has taken seven points from a possible nine. I anticipate this weekend’s match to be one of the sternest tests of his time in caretaker charge, however.

In the long-term, out of the realistic candidates for the role, I’d like to see David Flitcroft in the Vale Park hotseat. He has an impressive track record in League 2 and has managed at a higher level, as well as having worked with Pugh before now. Having successfully worked with Tom Pope at Bury earlier in his career also, he’s sure to curry up favour in the dressing room quite early on, I feel’.

What are your thoughts on Vale’s owners? Who are they?

‘I couldn’t be happier with the owners we have. Carol and Kevin Shanahan are both supporters of the football club and they run the successful IT security business Synectics Solutions which is based just next door to Vale Park. They both paid well over the odds for the club to take us out of Norman Smurthwaite’s hands (thankfully!) and since then it has largely been a period of steady improvement…until now. The last 2-3 months have been the biggest test of their tenure so far.

Having made the bold decision to dispense with John Askey after an unacceptable run of form, they now find themselves having to appoint a new gaffer for the very first time. Whether they do decide to appoint an experienced manager or stick with interim manager Danny Pugh for longer than anticipated, I trust that they will make the right call for the club’.

What players will pose the greatest threats to Tranmere this weekend?

‘Firstly, Devante Rodney. The 22-year-old summer signing from Salford scored in the return fixture at Vale Park and has since established himself as the Valiants’ leading marksman for the season with ten goals in all competitions, nine of which have been in the league.

Secondly, Tom Conlon. A leading contender for Vale’s player of the season, the midfielder has established himself as one of the most proficient set-piece takers outside of the Championship and boasts five goals (three of which have come from direct free-kicks) and six assists for the season to back that up. His stellar performances haven’t gone unnoticed by the interim manager, who has awarded the locally born midfielder with the captain’s armband since taking charge of the side. He won and scored a penalty in the return fixture against Tranmere at Vale Park and assisted another in the same game.

Thirdly, David Worrall. The industrious and hard-working winger is League Two’s leading assists provider for the season with nine, while notching two goals of his own. He assisted Devante Rodney’s headed goal in the return fixture against Rovers earlier this season with a quick free-kick’.

What is your score prediction for the match at Prenton Park?

‘I think this match will finish 2-2. Both sides carry a significant attacking threat while finding clean sheets somewhat hard to come by. With the previous match between the sides being a seven-goal thriller, I expect goals again in this one. After the manner in which the last game ended, I think the Vale players will be desperate to come out of this one unbeaten, but will come up short in having enough to win the game against an in-form Rovers side’.

What is your opinion on Tranmere?

‘At this stage in the season, Rovers are pretty much exactly where I expected them to be. I imagine the Palioses felt hard done to that the club found itself in League Two this season in the first place – given the manner in which the previous campaign ended – and their determination to get the club swiftly back into League One is underpinned by the significant investment that has gone into this campaign. Not only have they dispensed with Mike Jackson and funded the appointment of Keith Hill, but an array of impressive summer and January signings including the likes of James Vaughan, Otis Khan and David Nugent show the spending power that the club has at this level. With an impressive transfer window coming during a rich vein of form, I expect Tranmere to finish in the playoff places at least, if not in the top three’.

What were your thoughts following the last meeting between the two clubs? Tranmere won 4-3 after an amazing comeback.

‘From a Vale point of view, that result was bitterly disappointing. Were it not for a needlessly reckless challenge from Vale midfielder Luke Joyce who took an early bath around ten minutes into the second half, I feel we would have taken something from the game. Nevertheless, even with ten men, when you have worked so hard to get ahead and lead 3-2 in stoppage time, you expect to see out the win or take a point at the bare minimum, yet we conspired to lose the game in dramatic circumstances. That isn’t to take anything away from the spirit Tranmere showed that day to keep going for the win. That match also happened to spark the poor run of form which derailed our season and culminated in Askey’s sacking, so perhaps the football gods might let us escape Prenton Park with a point or better this time around!’

What are your thoughts on Port Vale’s January transfer business?

‘Considering that our transfer business has been conducted by an interim management team, I’m quite pleased with the additions we’ve made. The permanent return of midfielder Jake Taylor who scored seven goals on loan with the club last season is most welcome, and the addition of Bradford’s Kurtis Guthrie provides us with a target man in the final third while Tom Pope is sidelined with a broken arm. On deadline day, we bolstered the defence with the loan addition of young Huddersfield defender Mustapha Olagunju, who I look forward to seeing in action, and Nottingham Forest striker Will Swan who has an impressive goal record in U23s football and in the Southern Premier League following a previous loan spell at Truro. I anticipate both players should help us. With a managerial change looming and squad turnover likely, strengthening the side for the rest of the season with loan deals was a cost effective move.

The only other January move came out of necessity, with young goalkeeper Tom Scott coming in to provide cover for regular number one Scott Brown, after backup keeper Dino Visser suffered a season ending training ground injury. Credit to the club for making sure we covered all bases’.

Given that David Amoo played for Tranmere, in 2013, what are your thoughts on him?

‘I’m a fan of Amoo. On his day he can be unplayable, but so typically of a flair player at this level, consistency is an issue. After an impressive first season with us in 2019-20 I hoped he’d kick on and become a key player for us this time around, but he has found his opportunities limited by injury, with a recurring hamstring problem hampering his season. However, he still has plenty to offer to the team when fit and notched a goal in the return fixture against Tranmere earlier in the campaign. At this stage I’m not certain as to whether he is match fit, so we may see him this weekend or we may not!’

  • Former Tranmere forward, David Amoo, pictured in action for Port Vale. 

I would like to thank Scott Challinor for his time answering the questions that I placed towards him. This league encounter should be an interesting occasion, a Rovers win could see them being placed in the top three. I hope that readers enjoyed this Q+A.

Thank you very much for reading,

Stay safe,

Ethan Hoijord 

Peterborough United F.C – ‘Meeting the opposition’

‘Meeting the opposition’- Peterborough United F.C

On Tuesday night, Tranmere Rovers will play host to the high flying League One side Peterborough United in a Papa John’s Trophy encounter. With that in mind, I placed questions towards long-serving supporter Simon Scarborough @scarboroughsss. I thought it would be interesting to see the thoughts of a fan who’s club will soon face Rovers, to get his opinions of the Whites as well as his thoughts on the position of the Posh at the moment, on and off the pitch; amongst many other subjects.

How long have you been a fan of the Posh? How did you initially find out about the club?

I’ve been a Posh fan for over 30 years. My Dad took me when I was 7 years old on a wet Tuesday night in the old 4th division. Rochdale beat us 4-1! It may sound crazy but I fell in love with the club after that!

Where did Peterborough finish last season, what are your thoughts on the last campaign?

We finished 7th via PPG, when the season ended early. I know every fan wants promotion but our form going into those games cancelled was excellent. I really do believe we would have got the last auto spot! We had Ivan Toney on fire and were playing some great football.

What are your thoughts on Peterborough United’s manager? Who is he?

Darren Ferguson (son of Alex) is our current manager, back for his 3rd spell with us. He likes to play attacking football and I think he’s one of those managers that just fits well at the club. If he can recapture his early years with us then I think we will be in for a good couple of years.

What are your thoughts on Peterborough United’s owner? Who is he?

Darragh McAnthony is our chairman or El Presidente, as he is known as. The title change came about when he said he will no longer be chairman if we don’t go up (Last Season)! I personally think he is brilliant. Honest, brash, savvy and so engaging with fans. He puts his money where his mouth is and is a straight talker. Some fans dig him out but it’s been a very exciting ride with ‘DMAC’ at the helm! 

What are your expectations for this season? What are your thoughts on the campaign so far?

I feel that with our transfer business pre-season I would like to reach for the automatic promotion spots, or at very least the playoffs. This season as we all know has been strange. I would say that after playing every team so far we are probably looking at playoffs at best. We could sneak into autos but we would have to put a run together very soon and try and pick up more points from teams below us which we seem to struggle with. League 1 is so open and it really is between 10 teams that could go up!

What players will pose the biggest threats to the hosts on Tuesday night?

Before Saturday’s loss to Shrewsbury I would say that (Darren) Ferguson would play a very strong team but we have one of our best players out in midfielder Jack Taylor and I think that the manager will freshen the team up a bit as we looked quite flat at the weekend. Saying that we have a front 3 which should cause havoc in League 1 with Dembele, Johnson Clarke Harris and Sammy Szmodics. Also we have a very good crop of young players coming through most notably Rickey Jade Jones and Harrison Burrows. They’re all, without doubt, players to keep an eye out for.

What is your score prediction for the cup encounter at Prenton Park?

I think that if we get a reaction from Saturday’s game we win 2-0. However, if the same team and the same attitudes etc are on show then we will get beat 2-0.

Random fact about Peterborough?

(Laughs) There aren’t a lot to choose from! Passport office and we are supported by a guy who founded Rolls Royce, somebody from the music band JLS, a couple of C-list actors and the guy who founded Pizza Express!

Proudest moment as a fan?

Beating Liverpool at home in the Rumbelows Cup in 1991. The first time I had seen us beat a top flight team! The atmosphere that night made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck… I will never forget it!

What is your opinion on Tranmere?

I have an affinity with Tranmere as we were both shafted last season on PPG. I would love to see them promoted. Also, I like your Chairman Mark Palios.

Given that Danny Lloyd plays for Tranmere now and he may come to face his former club, what are your thoughts on him?

When he first came to the Posh he started well and scored some great goals. We had Marcus Maddison as our No.10 so his game time was limited and we also felt he went missing in games on occasion. Overall, he’s a decent footballer though.

  • Tranmere forward Danny Lloyd, who has excelled during his time at the Whites, may face his former side on Tuesday night. The 29-year-old spent a season at London Road, scoring eight goals in thirty-one games according to Wikipedia. 

I would like to thank Simon @scarboroughsss for his time answering the questions that I placed towards him. This cup encounter should be an interesting occasion and I hope that readers enjoyed this Q+A.

Thank you very much for reading,

Stay safe,

Ethan Hoijord 

‘Meeting the opposition’ – Morecambe F.C

‘Meeting the opposition’ – Morecambe F.C

This weekend, Tranmere Rovers will travel to the newly-named Mazuma Stadium where they will face high-flying Morecambe F.C in a League Two encounter. With that in mind, I placed questions towards long-serving supporter Stuart Rae @Stu_Rob_Rae. I thought it would be interesting to see the thoughts of a fan who’s club will soon face Rovers, to get his opinions of the Whites as well as his thoughts on the position of the Shrimps at the moment, on and off the pitch; amongst other subjects.

  • How long have you been a Morecambe supporter? How did you find out about the club?

I’ve been supporting the Shrimps for around 25 years, through my local cub scouts group. Former Morecambe player Keith Galley was the coach of the cubs football team and would organise tickets to go to the games – so it’s all his fault!

  • Where did Morecambe finish last season, what are your thoughts on the last campaign?

Morecambe finished 22nd in the league last season, a campaign that ended abruptly. I think this is a bit deceptive, as we had hit good form and things were starting to look up after a slow start. In the October of 2019, we were sitting bottom of the league and we were managerless. Had the season played out, I think we would’ve finished higher.

  • What are your thoughts on Shrimps’ current manager, Derek Adams?

Derek has done a fantastic job at the club so far – taking us from the bottom of League Two, to the promotion places in just 15 months. He’s brought a lot of new faces in, the majority being quality, many of whom he’s worked with before. Perhaps most impressively he has been able to get the best out of the retained players that were already here. The longer we can keep him, the better in my opinion – he’s only the fourth permanent manager we’ve had since I’ve supported the club (Jim Bentley being manager for eight years).

  • What are your thoughts on Morecambe’s owner, who is he?

The majority shareholding in the club is currently held by London based Bond Group Investments, aka Colin Golding and Jason Whittingham, who also own the controlling stake in Worcester Warriors Rugby Union club. Alongside the current board, they’ve been able to stabilise and fund the Shrimps after a period of instability caused by the initial sale of the club by long-time owner Peter McGuigan – and the period of disputed ownership that followed. It is unclear what the long-term objectives are from the current owners, but they have continued to inject capital into the business, and have looked to reduce the clubs debts. 

  • What are your expectations for this season? What are your thoughts on the campaign so far?

I thought we would do okay this season given how we finished the last campaign and the signings we made in pre-season, but we are exceeding my expectations so far. As a Morecambe fan, to see the club third in the league is great – let’s hope we can keep it up. Based on how we are playing and our current form, there is no reason why we can’t. It’s a bit of a cliché, but it’s a tight league – and every club can beat each other on their day.

  • What players will pose the greatest threats to Tranmere this weekend?

Morecambe midfielders Carlos Mendes-Gomes and Adam Phillips (on loan from Burnley) have built up a great understanding in a short period of time, and it’s a connection that’s been responsible for a lot of our goals recently. We hold a shape well, and are difficult to break down. Added to that we can break forward with the ball quickly down the flanks through Cooney (also on loan from Burnley) and Stephen Hendrie. Sometimes we’ll press high up the pitch, but often we’ll concede possession to our opponents and allow them to pass it around in their own half. Don’t be surprised to have most of the play but not create many clear openings – it’s been a common theme in the games so far, and the efficiency in our play has brought good results to date.

  • What is your score prediction for the game at the Mazuma Stadium?

I don’t want to jinx us, but as Derek Adams highlighted recently in the press, the Shrimps are currently 10 games unbeaten at home in all competitions, something we’ve not achieved as a club since 2005 – before we moved grounds. We’re also in superb league form at the moment, taking 22 points from a possible 30 in our last 10 games. I’m expecting a close game, as they all seem to be in this division, with the Shrimps just coming out on top in a 2-1 win. Carlos Mendes-Gomes and Cole Stockton with the goals for Morecambe.

  • Random fact about Morecambe?

Morecambe FC are currently celebrating their centenary year, having been formed in 1920. During that time the club holds the extremely rare distinction of having never been relegated. Comedian Eric Bartholomew, more commonly known as Eric Morecambe, was born in the town and used it as his stage name (sounds better than Bartholomew & Wise I suppose). Although known as an avid Luton Town supporter, he was also a fan of the Shrimps – and was president of the club for the 1970-71 season.

  • Proudest moment as a fan?

It has to be watching the club gain promotion to the Football League in 2007 at the ‘new’ Wembley Stadium. The Shrimps were a conference side when I first started watching them in the mid-90’s, and developed gradually from a part-time team into a full-time professional outfit that became one of the best sides in non-league. Achieving promotion and becoming a Football League club had always been the clubs stated ambition, and it was great to finally do that and be part of it. It was extra special that promotion happened at Wembley, which had not long been open following the venue’s redevelopment, and such a great occasion for the town. Suddenly the previous play-off semi-final defeats/heartaches that saw us miss out on play-off finals at Stoke City and Leicester City didn’t seem to matter.

  • What is your opinion on Rovers?

When I was growing up Tranmere were a side in what is now the Championship under player-manager John Aldridge. I remember them getting to the play-offs and League Cup finals, so I couldn’t quite believe it when they dropped out of the Football League entirely. It seems that the club is either up or down most years – which must be exciting in a way….Speaking as a Morecambe fan who are currently the longest serving continuous members of League Two. Looking at Rovers recent form, this could be an ‘up’ season, so we’ll have to be at our very best to get a result on Saturday.

  • Given that Cole Stockton came through the Tranmere academy and featured many times, including starring in the national league playoffs of 2017, what are your thoughts on him?

Cole is in his second spell at Morecambe, where he seems to have played his best football to date. He is not the most prolific striker – but he plays well for us, and is pivotal to how we play. He does the hard yards as the lone striker, holding the ball up for the midfield runners, and getting stuck in to opposition defenders – generally making life horrible for them. I’m surprised it hasn’t really worked out for him at other clubs yet, but for me he has all the right attributes to do well and he is continuing to develop – he just needs to add a few more goals to his game…. starting on Saturday against his old club!

  • Tranmere academy graduate Cole Stockton, who now plays his football at Morecambe F.C may be able to cause a problem or two to his former club’s defence this coming weekend if played.

I would like to thank Stuart @Stu_Rob_Rae for his time answering the questions that I placed towards him. This league encounter should be an interesting occasion and I hope that readers enjoyed this Q+A.

Thank you very much for reading,

Stay safe,

Ethan Hoijord.

‘Meeting the opposition’ – Harrogate Town F.C

‘Meeting the opposition’ – Harrogate Town F.C

On Tuesday night, Tranmere Rovers will play host to the recently promoted Harrogate Town in a League Two encounter at Prenton Park. With that in mind, I placed questions towards their @FootieFansView correspondent James O’Reilly @OReillySport. I thought it would be interesting to see the thoughts of a fan who’s club will soon face Rovers, to get his opinions of the Whites as well as his thoughts on the position of the Sulphurites at the moment, on and off the pitch; amongst other subjects.

How long have you been a fan of Harrogate? How did you find out about the club?

I grew up around Bradford and Leeds, Harrogate were always a club on everyone’s radar. However, with them being a lot lower down in the divisions they never seemed to get the coverage they most probably deserved. It was only in recent years that I started to take more of an interest in them.

Where did Harrogate finish last season?

Town got promoted last year, they’re a Football League team for the first time in their history now (I believe). They came up through the playoffs and beat Notts County 3-1 at Wembley. County is a club that I’d love to see back in the EFL one day, I’m just glad this didn’t come at Harrogate’s expense!

What are your thoughts on your current manager?

Simon Weaver is the gaffer. He’s the owner’s son but he’s more than earned his place. Understandably, being the son of the chairman is something that I imagine earns him favour behind the scenes but Simon is still young and as promising as the squad he coaches. I can see him being at the helm for years to come and that isn’t something to be disappointed about. 

What are your thoughts on your owner?

Irving Weaver is the owner currently. I think it’s quite hard to talk about anything negative really, given the position the club finds themselves in now. They’ve come from the Conference North to League Two in just over a decade, it’s really quite something. 

What are your expectations for this season? What are your thoughts on the campaign so far?

The expectation has to be survival. I think that’s the case for any newly promoted side. Dreaming big is great, obviously, but at the end of the day you can’t complain if your team comfortably survives in the first season in a new league especially one that they’ve never played in. I think the campaign so far is going okay. Losses are frustrating, obviously, but so long as Town maintain at least a decent form as they have done for the majority of the first half as the season then they’ll have nothing to worry about. 

What players will pose the most threat to Tranmere on Tuesday night?

Jack Muldoon! He’s just cracked double figures for the season in goals. He’s a physical player with enough pace and ability to justify his place in the side, he can be a brilliant player to watch. I also think that Brendan Kiernan is worth noting. I’m not overly sure on what the numbers say, but anytime I’ve seen him, particularly in central attacking midfield he seems to be everywhere. 

What is your score prediction for the League fixture at Prenton Park?

Given how similar the stats are for goals scored and conceded between the sides, I wouldn’t be surprised if the result was a draw. Albeit, Tranmere have won their last two where as we’ve been picking up draws. I’ll say we’re going to continue to improve our form, I’ll go for a 2-1 Town win. Muldoon and McPake to score for us. 

Random fact about Harrogate?

Harrogate has long been famous for their sulphur springs, hence the nickname ‘Sulphurites’, which is definitely an odd one at first.

Proudest moment as a fan of the club?

It has to be the promotion to League Two. Regardless of the fans’ ecstasy, the rest of Leeds were proud of them. Leeds and Harrogate don’t seem to share a rivalry, even though they are so close to each other geographically, so seeing a city overall in support was great. 

What is your opinion on Rovers?

I think Tranmere are a solid side. It’s good to see them pushing for promotion, especially in a season where about half the league seems to be! I think it’d be good to see them in a playoff push, over Salford maybe. That’s probably just my Yorkshire biased coming into it though. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tranmere to be in the playoffs come the end of the season.

  • Jack Muldoon, an experienced striker who has fifteen goal involvements in 25 games this campaign. A physical and fast threat to the Tranmere backline, if he is to play.

I would like to thank James @OReillySport for his time answering the questions that I placed towards him. This league encounter should be an interesting occasion and I hope that readers enjoyed this Q+A.

Thank you very much for reading,

Stay safe and relatively sane,

Ethan Hoijord

Nya Kirby – The midfield maestro looking to set League Two alight in Tranmere’s search for promotion.

Tranmere’s first piece of incoming transfer business has been made today, a day prior to a significant fixture which sees local rivals Bolton Wanderers travel to Prenton Park. The quality in a strong midfield has been increased with the signing of the young maestro Nya Kirby, who has signed a loan deal which sees him stay in Merseyside until the end of the season. This was something that had to be done following the departure of Ollie Banks, a man with a great passing range who was recruited by Barrow on Monday afternoon to the disappointment of many Tranmere fans. Thus, Kirby has a job to do. He has to add to the chances of success this campaign and he has to show his new club the strengths he holds as he embarks on his career’s journey. Who knows what can come from the next few months?

Kirby, a 20-year-old Islington-born creative midfielder who stands at a mere 5ft8inches, started his development at Tottenham Hotspur before moving to Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace academy. On top of this, he has also come through the youth ranks of the English national squad. The strengths the young man has means that he has been scouted by professional clubs for a while now, yet he continues to stay at Palace as he believes that one day he could make it to the Premier League. In January 2019, he was signed by Blackpool and he would make just over ten appearances for the Tangerines in this short spell. Nya would score one goal in these games, earning a penalty on his debut which his teammate would slot to earn a point against Wycombe Wanderers.

He seems to have fun around the penalty box, continuing to create problems for defenders and opposing keepers who are worried by the pace and trickery that he is capable of showing. During his time for the England U17s team, made for the Fifa world cup in 2017, he scored a decisive penalty against Japan to reach the quarter finals. Kirby appeared in the final, against Spain, being the change that manager Steve Cooper would make in the second-half. This is certainly a high point as he played his part in a World Cup win, he now aims to play his part in senior achievements.

As I said above, the youngster has his eyes set on a place in a Premier League matchday squad. He needs to do something which he is raring and ready to do, show quality at a senior level for his dream to come true. However, he has made his debut for Palace prior to signing a loan deal contract with Tranmere Rovers. This game came when he played against AFC Bournemouth in the second round of the EFL Cup.

On paper, this seems to be a very good signing. However, as we have seen before these signings can sometimes fail to pay off. It is up to Keith Hill and the man himself to impress alongside former Blackpool team-mate Jay Spearing. I’d say be excited. 

Going forwards, it is always hard to tell what plans a manager of a promising football league club expects to make. However, due to the departure of Jack Young I would like to see a defensive midfielder being recruited alongside a defender or two. The Whites are looking short at right-back and Mark Ellis seems to be another on the watchlist for Barrow as his gametime has nosedived across the course of the season. 

  • @Jmwalton7’s outstanding edit of the midfielder. This picture shows him in contact with former England senior boss Roy Hodgson, the writing states ‘welcome Nya Kirby’ and partnered with successful performances the Rovers faithful will certainly welcome him.

Thank you very much for reading,

Stay safe,

Ethan Hoijord.

Bolton Wanderers F.C – ‘meeting the opposition’.

Bolton Wanderers F.C – ‘meeting the opposition’.

This weekend, Tranmere Rovers will play host to local rivals Bolton Wanderers in a league two encounter at Prenton Park. With that in mind, I placed questions towards long-serving supporter Sam @BWFC_Sam. I thought it would be interesting to see the thoughts of a fan who’s club will soon face Rovers, to get his opinions of the Whites as well as his thoughts on the position of the Trotters at the moment, on and off the pitch; amongst other subjects.

How long have you been supporting Bolton? How did you discover the club?

I’ve been supporting the club since I was born. In truth, I had no choice as my both grandad’s and my dad supports them. They’re my family’s team.

Where did Bolton finish last season?

Last season, Wanderers finished last in the third tier after a twelve point deduction at the start of the campaign due to financial issues.

Thoughts on manager, Ian Evatt:

He won’t achieve promotion this season. He’s a very good manager with a decent squad but this is his first season doing his job at a professional level after getting Barrow promoted last season from the conference. I think we need to give him time.

Thoughts on owner and chairwoman, Football Ventures and Sharon Brittan respectively:

They care a lot and fans will always be thankful to them as they saved the club in such a desperate situation.

Thoughts on Bolton’s season so far:

We have massively under-performed this season and there is no denying that. I don’t expect us to get promoted, which is what I obviously wanted, unless a miracle happens.

Bolton’s danger men:

Forward Eoin Doyle, who is the club’s top scorer and Arthur Gnahoua if he plays.

Score prediction:

It’ll be tough and if I’m being honest I think your squad has more talent than ours. I’ll go for a 2-1 loss. 

Random fact about Bolton:

We are only the second club in the whole of Europe to have two tunnels. There is one for the home team and there is one for the away.

Proudest moment as a Trotters supporter:

When we sold the club and Ken Anderson left. It was a huge moment of relief after massive doubts that we would go out of existence. You’ve seen it happen with Bury thus it is possible.

Opinion on the fixture’s hosts, Tranmere:

I don’t have much of an opinion on Tranmere. I think the rivalry seems a little too forced and I also think that Rovers have some very good fans. However, Keith Hill was our manager last season thus it would be nice to beat him.

  • Bolton’s 28-year-old forward Arhur Gnahoua. @BWFC_Sam says if he plays he is a man that is certainly capable of posing a threat to Tranmere’s back line. The Trotters recruited him last summer, when he was a Macclesfield player.

I would like to thank Sam @BWFC_Sam for his time answering the questions that I placed towards him. This league encounter should be an interesting occasion and I hope that readers enjoyed this Q+A.

Thank you very much for reading,

Stay safe,

Ethan Hoijord

An Interview with Adam Siddorn.

An interview with an iFollow commentator and Rover and Out co-founder, Adam Siddorn.

Through this interview Adam Siddorn, nicknamed ‘Sid’, talks to me and you about his media journey, his personal realisation with his sexuality and the work he and others have put in for Tranmere’s LGBT+ friendly organisation ‘Rover and Out’; amongst other subjects. This is how our phone call went.

Hello ‘Sid’, to open this interview I’d like to talk about yourself as a commentator as you are one for the club’s iFollow service. What has your media journey been like? 

‘I started in radio when I was 16, there was a good ten year gap between that and then joining Tranmere. I started out at Cammell Lairds with Phil Wilkinson, we were more nervous then as obviously we were new to it. I hadn’t commentated before so I was shoved in at the deep end. To grow from there was great, to go from Lairds to Tranmere was unbelievable as I’m a big Tranmere supporter. When Wirral Radio closed we got an email from Nicola Palios, the club’s co-owner, that very day, saying to come for a meeting the following day. We went and the day after that we travelled to Leyton Orient to work for the club. It’s a massive lifelong dream, especially as we get to go to games when no one else can in these times. It’s such an honour, it’s brilliant’.

What first made you aware of your sexuality? What was it like to reveal this to others?

‘It was daunting, it was scary because bare in mind you first have these thoughts when you’re 11/12 and you start to question them. Surely this isn’t what other people feel like etc. So when you do realise them you have to think about what you are going to do with them, who to tell. You have to tell people that you can trust. You do worry and you do panic. I’ll never forget the day I told the first person, a mate of mine, it was sports day at the Bebington oval. There were rumours going round saying that I fancied her, which I obviously didn’t, so I told her that we needed to talk. I told her about the way I was feeling and we’ve been best mates ever since. Everyone has accepted it, even if I had to wait until my 18th birthday to tell my parents. It was difficult’.

Do you feel that sexuality, you think of the cases of footballers when there are stories of a footballer being afraid to ‘come out’, should remain personal or should it be told to the public?

‘To be fair, I’ll go back to your previous question as I was a Tranmere fan going to all the games when I was experiencing those thoughts and feelings and you think is there anybody else in the ground got the same thought as me etc. You feel a little bit cautious of saying anything as you’re worried if they’ll say anything back to you, the biggest one for me was if I should tell anyone at the football. I didn’t for years, it wasn’t until we started Rovers and Out that people started to notice my sexuality. I didn’t feel it was too necessary to tell people, it doesn’t change who I am’

Do you feel like the stories about footballers are slightly unnecessary?

‘It’s not unnecessary, my views on that are different to other people. Some people think that a gay footballer should ‘come out’ and say their sexuality. I feel sorry for any footballers that are gay because there is too much pressure from the media to come out, as the second that they do ‘come out’ their whole career is going to be defined by that. I know that there are gay managers and players in non-league football, I feel that there is a fixation around having a big name to have as a sort of superstar poster boy for the media’s stories. Why not use the lower league athletes and coaches? I think it’s totally wrong. It’s not going to happen for a long long time, in my opinion. The pressure will be and is unbelievable. You see people after football, you think of Thomas Hitzlsperger when he retired and came out the media weren’t bothered. The gay footballer has to be present and high profile, it’s wrong’.   

In today’s society, do you think more is being done to promote being homosexual than it would be in previous societies. Do you think the idea of being homosexual has changed and it is more accepted by the world?

‘Yeah, there’s certainly a lot more going on. I think it’s good that football clubs do have organisations such as Rovers and Out. West Brom have the Proud Baggies, Charlton have one and there are tons of others up and down the country. Rainbow laces as well, it is things like that which are superb and it is important that we form close bonds and we work together in our areas to promote. I tell you now, honestly, if there was this group at Tranmere when I was finding myself I would’ve felt a lot more comfortable in myself. It would’ve helped me personally, knowing that there is that kind of organisation and other welcoming people like yourself. We’ve seen ourselves, we’ve seen through what we’ve done, the amount of people who’ve come to us and told us about their sexuality. It’s comforting to know that there are people there that are proud and happy to have us as part of their club. I find it sad that there are others that don’t feel comfortable’. 

Have you ever experienced any homophobia anywhere in football?

‘I’ll be honest, at Tranmere, no. I’ve never experienced anything whatsoever at Prenton Park. I think our fans and the majority of others up and down the country aren’t too bothered, their accepting of it, it’s part of today’s society. I also think that if there was any slurs made of a homophobic, racist or sexist nature that people would stand up against it. If anything was to be said, say in the Kop, you know that people wouldn’t stand for it. People have enough intelligence and nous in this society. I’m obviously in the media box, not in the stands, so I don’t hear, see or experience anything but I have never experienced any homophobic abuse at any ground ever’.

You spoke about people and society in general, if you could compare today’s society and their attitudes etc with others do you feel like it is progressive?

‘People are being made aware of the abuse and what those feelings mean and what it’s about. In bygone eras you’d be told that you grow up, have a wife, have kids and that’s it. I think that times have changed and education has improved. People are starting to believe that it is okay to be themselves. I know people who have waited until their parents have passed until coming out, as they live in a sort of fear of what their parents will react like.  They’ve had a long life lived with a lie and when you’re an adult, or older, life is less enjoyable and so they’ve missed out on the best possible experience as they can’t be themselves. I think that is still going to go on but I think that with the education and the acceptance of society and young people it is progressive and the future looks brighter’. 

What do you think can/must be done for homosexuality to be more accepted. We’ve obviously got groups like Rovers and Out and others but do you think anything else can be done?

‘I’ll be honest mate there is definitely always something that can be done. However, the aim is that there will be a day when these types of things aren’t needed as being accepted and feeling comfortable within yourselves is the norm. That is the end goal, not to add but to be able to take away. I hope there is a day when groups like the one I am part of can say that it is no longer needed as the job is done. Can I see it happening? No, of course not but that is the pipe dream. It is a generational problem, you look at the posts and you look at the ones for instance the FA put up around LGBT issues and the majority of people that send abuse are of a certain age bracket. You’re in the same twitter fan group that I am and if anything was ever said in there, okay I am a bit older than most of you as the group is full of mostly teenagers and people in their early twenties, not one of them lads would accept homophobia. I know people push the boundaries but it wouldn’t happen within that age group, there are some exceptions but I think it is mostly to do with that age group’.

As we have mentioned social media, you get ‘bots’ who aim to put negative harmful opinions on the sites. What are your thoughts on this?

‘Oh yeah, of course, the bots. I think it’s frustrating as they automatically send things to a post/page and you have to be careful to see what is a real image. You see the angry reactions but not until you know who has reacted that way, you click on the account and realise that it’s not even a real person. They’re showing a false image, which brings animosity, which makes the abuse look a lot worse than what it is. Society, the majority of it anyway, would certainly not behave in the same way as a bot and share the same thoughts’.

Do you feel like football clubs are doing their best to tackle homophobia, whether the abuse comes in the shape of a bot or a person?

‘The social media platforms have to take care of the bot’s, that is something that is out of football clubs or organisation’s hands. That is a social media problem and they have to start putting things in place to remove them. I saw something today, I think it was a racial remark that was sent to a Brentford player and instagram immediately acted. Thus, they have started to act and it is encouraging’. 

In terms of clubs doing more for LGBT+ related things it is a case of learning on the job. Tranmere are relatively new and we have added things and I’m in regular contact with Scotty Davies as I was with Steve Mcnulty and they’re superb, they’ll do anything to help out. I can’t praise Davies and the rest of the squad enough, they have all done their bit and have come to many events. It’s great to see, it shows the character and the togetherness of the players, the club and the dedication to ourselves and other clubs. Most players up and down the country are proactive and are happy to get involved, that is something that we are proud of as that is the case at Tranmere.’

You’ve moved that on pretty well for me, I wanted to talk about Rover and Out. Are you a co-founder of that?

‘Co-founder? Yeah, me and Nina Crombie. We have elected somebody else as chairman as we felt it was important, without me being big-headed, to get other people who are lesser known to take care of the group themselves and step forward and show that it wasn’t just the group with only my face in. I like to sit in the background with the group, I like to help out behind-the-scenes whilst helping people out and moving things along, we’ve got plenty planned for the next few years. I think that is something that I am stupidly proud of, it came from just me posting an idea in the supporters group on Facebook to where we are now with the T-shirts, the badges, the hats etc. We even came second in a national competition, getting beat by Lincoln (that’s not the first time that has happened). It’s great, it’s brilliant and everyone’s doing so much and again speaking to Davies he is keen to get involved. I’d like to give praise to him’.

You’ve spoken a lot about it but if you had to give a short description of what Rover and Out is, could you?

‘Absolutely. For me, a lot of these groups are there for different reasons. I want this group to show that Tranmere Rovers are a LGBT+ friendly club, we’re an accepting fanbase, we’re a forward thinking group of fans and anyone is welcome at Prenton Park. We’re there to support people and have a network of people to help with anything such as getting involved and coming to events. We want people to feel welcome to come to our club’.       

I would like to thank Adam Siddorn for his time answering the questions that I placed towards him whilst also thanking him and others for their continued excellent work for the ‘Rover and Out’ organisation. The group is excellent at what they do and I wish them all the best for the future.

Thank you very much for reading,

Stay safe,

Ethan Hoijord

‘Meeting the opposition’ – Forest Green Rovers.

‘Meeting the opposition’ – Forest Green Rovers.

On Tuesday night, Tranmere Rovers will face Forest Green Rovers in a league two encounter at Prenton Park. With that in mind, I placed questions towards long-serving supporter Ollie Smith @olliesmith24. I thought it would be interesting to see the thoughts of a fan who’s club will soon face Rovers, to get his opinions of the Whites as well as his thoughts on the position of the Green club at the moment, on and off the pitch; amongst other subjects. We’ve had some battles over the years, they’re all mentioned.

How long have you been a Forest Green supporter? How did you discover the club?

  • ‘I’ve been a Forest Green supporter for around ten years now, having had a season ticket for seven of those too. They’re my local team and my dad grew up not too far from the old stadium. He used to take me to games from an early age and then we started going more regularly as I started secondary school. Pre COVID I used to go to basically every game home and away, only going to three games this campaign has been devastating. I really do hope that fans are allowed back ASAP’

Last season.

  • ‘Last season we finished 10th, which was relatively disappointing due to our impressive form up until December. We were top of the league, in November, after our win against Cheltenham. From then onwards we suffered a horrible spell, with lacklustre performances seeing us slide down the league to a mid table finish’

Thoughts on manager, Mark Cooper.

  • ‘Mark Cooper achieved promotion to the Football League in his first season at the club and in our second season in league two we were in the playoffs, unfortunately losing to Tranmere. Overall he’s done an exceptional job at the club but his relationship with the fans has certainly had its ups and downs. We’ve also had a very high player turnover, with over 100 players in 4.5 seasons. He’s in the last year of his contract and if we aren’t challenging for promotion I feel it could be time to move on because the squad is more than capable of success.’

Thoughts on owner, Dale Vince.

  • ‘Without Dale Vince the club would still be the longest serving members of the conference and would also be struggling financially. Some supporters aren’t his biggest fans with all the changes at the club since his arrival, but you can’t argue with Vince’s work and effort. A tiny village football team is now known all around the world and we are knocking on the door of League One with a very good squad’.

This season.

  • ‘For this season, my expectation is a playoff spot at least. We have recruited very wisely, with lots of EFL minutes and promotion experience in our new signings and the start of this season has impressed me a lot. The team’s consistency stands out in particular with many small margin victories, goals late on in games and regular starting 11’s. A few key players have left this month but hopefully the replacements fill the holes in the squad and there is little disruption because the plethora of changes last January was one of the reasons we slid down the table’. 

Danger men.

  • ‘Against Port Vale I felt we missed Odin Bailey’s creativity and willingness to drive forward with the ball and take players on. I would like to see him return to the side against Tranmere. Another danger man who has started to kick on recently is Nicky Cadden. He was brought in as an exciting winger but has played at left wing back so far this campaign. Cadden likes to surge forwards and get plenty of crosses into the box’

Score prediction.

  • ‘I think we’ll win 1-0, I’ll go for Jamille Matt to be the goalscorer’

A random fact about Forest Green.

  • ‘Our stadium is the highest in professional football in the UK, it’s on a hill. This was measured by @OrdnanceSurvey’

Proudest moment.

  • ‘It’ll have to be when we won promotion to the football league at Wembley Stadium. We were outnumbered as fans and were generally seen as the underdogs on the pitch too. The team was immense that day and in my opinion we played you off the park. Christian Doidge’s goal is one of the best I’ve seen live and overall the day was simply brilliant. 

Thoughts on Tranmere.

  • ‘I see Tranmere as a rival simply due to the clashes we have had over the years, in particular the playoff battles. I feel like we were hard done by in the playoffs a couple of years ago with Gunning being sent off and Banks scoring a worldie at Prenton Park. In the home fixture at the new lawn, Norwood scored and shushed the South stand which was infuriating as he’s a player who did so well with us’
  • ‘I’m surprised at Tranmere’s spot in the table as you have some very good players in your squad. Mark Ellis, Manny Monthe and Kaiyne Woolery were all great for us and defensive midfielder Jay Spearing has premier league pedigree’
Dale Vince, a controversial football owner but one that has certainly turned Forest Green’s fates around.

I would like to thank Ollie @olliesmith24 for his time answering the questions that I placed towards him. This league encounter should be an interesting occasion and I hope that readers enjoyed this Q+A.

Thank you very much for reading,

Stay safe,

Ethan Hoijord.

Liverpool v Manchester United – Examining a great history of rivalry.

Liverpool v Manchester United – a history of rivalry, this rivalry will spark once again this Sunday.

Manchester and Liverpool, two great North West cities who hold a lot of resentment towards each other. The areas are steeped in great success, created by the people that have grown up there. When we think of music, we think of Oasis and the Beatles. When we think of television, we think of Coronation Street and possibly even Brookside. However, when we think of English football .. It is Manchester United and Liverpool that sink into our minds. Two great clubs who host successful histories and many trophies. This weekend, the game may decide who will win another trophy .. the league title in four months time. The two cities, as well as clubs, continue to compete against each other.

The first meetings between the club came in 1894, two years after the Reds were founded by John Houlding. Newton Heath, as United were called then, travelled to Anfield for a ‘Test match’ and they returned to Manchester disappointed with a 2-0 defeat.

The two other most iconic games in this decade were fixtures that held many goals. A league division two tie in Liverpool, Heath winning 5-2. Revenge for what occurred a month previous, a 7-1 league defeat for the Red Devils in Manchester.

This rivalry has existed ever since, as both clubs have gone on to put their name into global lights. Liverpool have won six European cups, their last being in 2019, as well as nineteen league titles. On the other hand, United have won three European cups and twenty league titles but haven’t been awarded a trophy since 2017.

Considering they won the league last season, you may be in good mind to say that Jurgen Klopp’s reds have better league form. However, since Bruno Fernandes’ arrival to Old Trafford in January 2020 no club has managed to pick up more points than Ole’s devils.

Before we take a look at the upcoming league encounter at Anfield, let’s first take a look at what truly separates the cities and clubs.

Cities:

  • The Manchester ship canal.

The North West cities, separated by 56 km, have since the industrial revolution been also separated by a rivalry based on economic and industrial competition. Manchester were originally the more populated city which held a position of significance. However, due to Liverpool’s major seaport growth they had grown to supersede their counterparts and were often described as the British Empire’s second city. 

The construction of the Manchester ship canal, was opposed by Liverpool politicians and a great sense of resentment grew from this. The canal would mean that less money would come into Merseyside and Manchester would thrive, cotton was rife here. Thus, tensions between Scouse dockers and Mancunian labourers was heightened in 1894 just three months before the first meeting of the clubs. A fixture that would see Newton Heath relegated. 

Clubs:

  • Success. 

Before Shankly came to Anfield, he was questioned by the Liverpool owner if he would like to come to Merseyside to take charge of ‘the best club in the country. The Scotsman replied ‘Is Matt Busby packing in?’. Shankly would soon sign on the dotted line to become the Red’s head coach and four years after the Munich air disaster he would take the club up to the first division. It is here where we can see a rise of resentment as Liverpool would dominate the 70s and 80s before United took charge in the 90s and 00s.

  • 1977 FA Cup final.

The two clubs met, in a final, for the first time when they reached the 1977 cup final. United ended Liverpool’s treble dreams with a 2-1 win, with goals from Stuart Pearson and Jimmy Greenhoff.

  • 2003 League Cup final.

Liverpool won the league cup final, academy graduates Steven Gerrard and Micheal Owen were the two scorers that day.

  • March 2009.

In the 2008/09 season, the two clubs fought against each other in a title race. The Reds were managed by Rafa Benitez and the Red Devils were managed by Sir Alex Ferguson. Prior to this fixture, Benitez gave an impassioned compiled speech to the press about ‘facts’. The fact of the on-field matters was that Benitez’s team would win 4-1 but would lose out on the league title to their great rivals.

  • Suarez v Evra.

Liverpool’s star man Luis Suarez was declared as ‘guilty’ for racially abusing United full-back Patrice Evra in 2012. In the aftermath of this game, the Merseyside club’s players wore shirts to signal their respect for their team-mate as he declared to them that he was innocent. Time and the truth soon caught up on this team and when the pair met again, the phenomenal goalscorer would refuse to shake hands with Evra. United’s key player would celebrate the victory in front of his abuser, in an acceptable but controversial style.

  • Penalties.

Going into this weekend’s fixture, a game which sees two clubs that are fighting for the title come head to head, one sense of resentment is Klopp’s recent comments about United’s penalties. Following a defeat on the South coast, to Southampton, the Liverpool manager stated that he was unsure how the Red Devils had been awarded so many penalties. Last season, the Old Trafford club were awarded 14 spot kicks and from this position Bruno Fernandes is so clinical. Ole hit back saying ‘I don’t know why he has said that, maybe it is to influence future officials’. A Facebook ‘meme’ has joked this week saying that a potential start of World War 3 is if United are to win 1-0 with thanks to a penalty, this is funny, whilst also being not too far away from the truth.

  • Hooliganism.

The rivalry is one that steps off the field, as seen in these instances as well as many others. The abuse is, in my opinion, sickening and uncalled for as both clubs and their respective tragedies should be honoured. 

1966 cup final – An unidentified Liverpool fan spat at Eric Cantona and threw a punch at Alex Ferguson as a victorious Manchester United walked up to the royal box to collect their awards.

2006 cup match – Liverpool fans threw objects at United fans, including human excrement.

2011 youth cup game – A match was called off due to disgusting Hillsborough and Heysel chants from United fans. John Aldridge, talking to the Liverpool Echo, said that ‘the level of abuse was sickening’.

  • However, despite all of this, some players have played for both clubs.

Paul Ince, Peter Beardsley, Micheal Owen.

  • Quotes from club legends, who shared a dressing room with one or two of the above names.

Gary Neville: ‘I can’t stand Liverpool, I can’t stand the people, I can’t stand anything to do with them’.

Steven Gerrard: ‘A mate owned a Bryan Robson, Manchester United shirt, I wore it once on the estate and my dad screamed at me. He said no one should take the family name through the mud like that. I thought we’d have to move house’ 

  • The Manchester ship canal, you could argue that this is the start of the resentment between two great North West cities.

This Sunday, as both clubs aim for victory in their respective title charges, this rivalry is about to spark yet again. It should be a very interesting league encounter and you can watch it on Sky Sports.

Thank you very much for reading,

Stay safe,

Ethan Hoijord

‘Meeting the opposition’ – Stevenage FC

Stevenage FC – ‘meeting the opposition’.

This weekend, Tranmere Rovers will travel to Stevenage for a league two encounter at the Lamex Stadium. With that in mind, I placed questions towards Reece ‘@BoroFCCentral’ who supports the ‘Boro’. I thought it would be interesting to see the thoughts of a fan who’s club will soon face Rovers, to get his opinions of the Whites as well as his thoughts on the position of the Hertfordshire club at the moment, on and off the pitch; amongst other subjects.

How long have you been a supporter of Stevenage. How did you discover the club?

My first game was actually the first ever final at Wembley. Stevenage 3-2 Kidderminster, FA Trophy. From 2-0 down too. Not a bad game to kick off with! It’s been on and off since then and now I go every game home and away and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Where did Stevenage finish last season?

We finished rock bottom. Much like Tranmere we felt a little robbed with the PPG system and then just three weeks before the new season after court battles, appeals and arguments between Macclesfield and the EFL we got the mightiest reprieve of all time and against all odds here we are in League Two.

What are your thoughts on your current manager?

Alex Revell had/has a very difficult job. A player as early as the January of last year so he understands the demands of a modern athlete and he cares deeply. It’s hard to argue he hasn’t been thrown under a bus thus far but there have been good things. He’s learning a lot. Hard to argue that his inexperience is leading to some failures so far though.

What are your expectations for this season? What are your thoughts on the start of Stevenage’s season?

More wins than managers this season would be a start! I think this year for Stevenage is all about building again. Building trust and the connection  from the supporters and building a team. We don’t have lots of money for this level. If you don’t have wealth at this level, stability gets you competing. We have everything to prove this year but nothing to lose. Refreshing in many ways. 

This season has been rough. It appears we didn’t learn certain lessons and it’s cost us. Every game has fine margins. But not getting relegated is the aim so i suppose we have to expect rough moments. We’ve had a good period of form going into this game.

Which one player is your danger man, why?

Tom Pett has been outstanding since coming in. Drives the team forward and his incisive passing have been important in getting us some kind of results and some attacking threat.

What is your score prediction for the game against Tranmere?

I think Tranmere are struggling to put together some consistent performances at the minute and I’m yet to be convinced by the midfield under Keith Hill yet this weekend’s visitors to the Lamex Stadium are clearly still a dangerous side. Boro have one loss in seven, the performances are improving and unlike when our first game was going to be our confidence is at a good point. I just have to edge it to the Boro 2-1, I fancy a good game.

Random fact about Stevenage? (Famous fans, something about the town etc)

We are the first team ever to win a trophy at the New Wembley. That’s pretty unique.

Do you support/like any other clubs other than Stevenage , why?

Not anymore. Used to be a Chelsea follower because my family but have since fallen in love with Stevenage and the feeling of supporting my local team.

Proudest moment as a supporter of Stevenage ?

Has to be the FA Cup moments we’ve had. Deservedly beating high flying Newcastle 3-1 at the Lamex. That was special. Forcing Spurs to a replay was up there. I think many Stevenage fans would tell you the pride they felt at our boys walking out at White Hart Lane was special. Beating Sheffield United 4-1 and Sheffield Wednesday 5-1 are also contenders.

What is your opinion of Tranmere Rovers?

Tranmere are a big club for this level. A proper football club with proper values. Very unlucky to be at this level this year but doubt anyone ever looks forward to playing you. The supporters are some of the best I’ve seen in recent times, to add.

I would like to thank ‘Reece’ @BoroFCcentral for his time answering the questions that I placed towards him, this league encounter should be an interesting occasion and I hope that readers enjoyed this Q+A.

Thank you for reading,

Stay safe,

Ethan Hoijord

  • Stevenage’s home ground, the ‘Lamex stadium’.