Tranmere are entering a crucial period on and off the pitch as relegation becomes a genuine prospect and the question of club ownership continues to go unanswered.
Ronnie Moore started the 2012/13 season a hero, Tranmere led the league mainly until February 2013 which saw an unbelievable collapse to see the team finish 12th overall. Most fans could were prepared to forgive the collapse due to injuries to such a small and financially restricted squad however.
2014 has started with similar frustrations and the same tactical approaches from Ronnie Moore who consistently shows a lack of intuition. A good example of this would be our record to Peterborough this season, so far its 13-0 to Peterborough on aggregate after 3 matches (League & FA Cup). Before the match Moore said: ““The last two times we’ve played them we’ve gone 4-4-2 and we haven’t threatened, so maybe that’s something we have to look at”
This sums Ronnie up well, despite having lost 5-0 twice to Peterborough, the idea of changing the approach to a team who have lost to Kidderminster in the cup (no offence to Kidderminster fans intended) and had lost their last 4 league matches was still a troubling prospect to him. Ronnie did change from 442 to 451 for the latest Peterborough match, but the effect was minimal and Rovers were largely outplayed for the entire 90 minutes. So even after 3 matches, Ronnie was still clueless as how to take on Peterborough.
Apart from Moore’s continued poor tactical approaches, he is also clearly becoming incapable at finding suitable players. So far this season, Tranmere have used 38 players and at the time of writing we are not even in February. I don’t know what the rules are on the total amount of loan players that can be signed, but we can’t be far off? Whilst I can appreciate financial restrictions Moore has, the fact that Les Parry seemed more in control of his signings than him says a great deal.
The other major issue for Tranmere at the moment is ownership. Long standing owner Peter Johnson has finally waved the white flag and decided to give the club away for free, after years of trying to flog a dead horse for 6 million pounds. The supporters trust bid for ownership appears to have failed, the uptake from local north-west supporters was concerning, only 650 donations in total. It would appear that the nonchalant attitude of the club over recent years has now spread to the support and many are prepared for the club to be given away to someone who could in theory sell off the surprisingly large amount of land we own and then do a runner. Fingers crossed this does not happen.
Despite the supporters trust saying that Peter Johnson wanted to have sold the club by 31st December, we are yet to hear any news of sale and sadly the supporters trust are subjected to a non-disclosure agreement, so the only person who can comment is Peter Johnson and he is unlikely to change his usual ‘wall of silence’ approach to PR.
For Tranmere to progress in the short term, I would like to see a new manager with no previous connection to the club and to try and get a consistent and balanced squad. Not an easy task many will say, but it is being done by teams like Walsall and Leyton Orient, so there is no reason why Tranmere cannot aim for such high standards. The amount of loan players on month long deals is becoming a signifier of what is wrong with Tranmere Rovers, short term fixes for long standing problems.
With regards to Ronnie Moore, I don’t like to be so negative towards a club legend, but the time for him to leave has come. I imagine most supporters don’t want to get to a stage were the usual chants and abuse have to start. I’d much prefer if he walked away with some dignity and enabled us to have a fighting chance of staying in League One for next season.
Written by Kenny Orr, We Are Going Up’s Tranmere Rovers Blogger
Kenny tweets at @That_Bald_Owl