Tranmere Rovers are at the Fully Charged New Lawn on the 25th of September.
It has been an odd start to the season for Tranmere. 3 wins, 2 draws and 3 losses may be unremarkable. But Tranmere’s opening 8 games have resulted in a total of just 7 goals (4 for Tranmere, 3 for their opposition). Tranmere don’t concede many but neither have they really found their scoring touch either. There are, however, some recent signs of life in Tranmere. Their last outing was a 2-0 win at home to Salford City (the first time this season a Tranmere match has produced more than one goal). Two wins in the last 3 matches have moved the ‘superwhites’ up to 11th in the table with 11 points from their 8 games.
Midfielder Jay Spearing received a straight red card in Tranmere’s last match against Salford.
Tranmere’s most potent striker last season, James Vaughan, announced his retirement over the summer and another of their forwards, Kaiyne Woolery, has moved on. Rovers will remember Kaiyne Woolery, ironically particularly for his Wembley exploits against Tranmere in 2017 when Rovers won promotion to the EFL. Woolery moved to Swindon for 3 seasons immediately after that final, before joining Tranmere on a free transfer in 2020. Kaiyne left Tranmere in the summer, signing a 3 year deal at Motherwell. Of Tranmere’s 4 goals scored to date, 2 have been penalties, so it’s not clear yet where their attacking threat will be coming from against Rovers.
A fond memory of Kaiyne Woolery at the 2017 play-off final.
The Superwhite Army are familiar opponents. Rovers fans will obviously fondly remember the 3-1 win at Wembley in 2017 that took Rovers into the football league. Since then, Tranmere did win promotion to League the following year, beating Boreham Wood 2-1 in another Wembley play-off final. They followed this in 2019 with a second successive promotion, defeating Newport 1-0 in another play-off final at Wembley. This was after an aggregate 2-1 semi final win against Rovers. In spite of being on a good run of form, albeit while in the League 1 relegation zone, the pandemic ended the 2019/20 season and Tranmere were relegated on the ‘points per game’ formula. Their Chairman, Mark Palios, threatened legal action against what he felt was an unfair decision and said that 20 staff would be have to be made redundant as a consequence. Last season Tranmere finished in 7th place in the league with the same number of points but one place behind FGR They were beaten by Morecambe in the play-off semi-final.
Tranmere, with an average gate of around 6,500 are the 3rd best supported team in League 2 so far this season (behind Bradford and Swindon). They are often seen as the 3rd team on Merseyside, living in the shadow of Liverpool and Everton on the other side of the river. One famous Tranmere supporter is Premier League referee, Mike Dean. Many Rovers fans will know this, after the infamous photograph of Dean celebrating Tranmere’s victory over Rovers at The New Lawn in the 2019 League 2 play-off semi-final.
Mike Dean gets carried away with enthusiasm!
Tranmere have been a football league side since the 1920’s. Their relegation to the National League between 2015 and 2018 has been their only spell in non-league football. They had a number of seasons in the 2nd tier in the 1990’s but for the majority of their existence Tranmere have been a 3rd tier club.
The club’s most famous son is probably John Aldridge, a former player and manager at the club. Aldridge scored 50 goals in a 4-season Liverpool career but his Tranmere career spanned 7 seasons in which he scored 138 times in 243 appearances.
Tranmere was once a village but is now subsumed into Birkenhead, on the Wirrall, just over the Mersey from Liverpool. The club have played at Prenton Park (below) for over 100 years.