It’s been a hard season for Tranmere fans, after early season promise of a play-off push under Les Parry, it simply hasn’t materialised and after a run of one win in 20, Rovers have now taken up a position familiar to them over the last few seasons, around the relegation zone.
Last Saturday Parry was given the bullet, in an aim to keep the Whites in the division, in stepped Ronnie Moore to fill his boots, an experienced manager that we know too well after three years managing the club recently, along with various links in the past.
Moore had three seasons in the Rovers dugout between 2006 and 2009, with his reign ending at Scunthorpe United, where he was two minutes away from securing a play-off place before a late equaliser.
Moore had three generally successful seasons in charge, finishing in the top half on each occasion, so with that came a number of thrilling, classic games, here’s the top 10 from Ronnie first time around.
Tranmere Rovers 1-0 Bristol City – 8/9/06
After an influx of new players in the summer of 2006, and a decent start to the season for the new boys, this victory rubber stamped Rovers pre-season hopes. Tranmere never had a great record against Bristol City, but the Prenton Park faithful love a Friday night under the lights and got behind the team from the start. After dominating throughout, and seeing chances come and go, with five minutes left the win was sealed. Shane Sherrif crossed for Gareth Taylor to nod down to an inrushing John Mullin, he smashed home his volley from 12 yards out as Prenton Park erupted with relief. This win moved Moore’s men to level on points with early season leaders Nottingham Forest, and gave the home crowd plenty of excitement for what lay ahead.
Bradford City 0-3 Tranmere Rovers – 1/12/07
Since the cup years from the start of the decade, Rovers had been starved of any FA Cup success and were determined to not relinquish the opportunity this season. After a hard fought 2-1 win at Chesterfield in round one, where the club lay on free coaches, they decided to do it all over again. What was once an unappealing trip to Yorkshire, turned into a window of opportunity as nearly 2,000 fans made the trip. Bradford didn’t know what had hit it, when a sea of white shirts invaded their city, and the same could be said for on the pitch. Rovers stormed into an early lead when Steve Jennings fired in the opener from range and they never looked back. With the away supporters never shutting up, it was one of the most controlled performances from an away side you’ll ever see. Chris Greenacre scored twice, either side of half time as Tranmere cruised to a 3-0 victory, leaving the 33 coaches to return to Prenton Park happy.
Tranmere Rovers 2-1 Luton Town – 14/9/07
After a season of ultimate disappointment under Moore, Rovers fans were given another bright start to their next season, but unlike last time, grabbed their opportunity to go top at the first attempt during another Friday night game under the lights. After going behind early on, Rovers battled on and a managerial master class brought the game alive, youngster Craig Curran and Antony Kay were released into action and scored in the 83rd and 86th minute to seal a dramatic win, to move Rovers to top of the pile. That was to be one of many important goals future captain Kay, would go on to score in a white shirt.
Tranmere Rovers 2-1 Leeds United – 6/12/08
League One ‘giants’ Lees United were not familiar to the third tier, but after he previously ruined Gary McAllister’s home coming in February, Moore was setting about repeating the act at Prenton Park. Leeds were on a poor run and under pressure, so the cowshed erupted when a future Rovers favourite Enoch Showunmi gave the visitors an early lead. Their joy was short lived however, as soon after Antony Kay headed home the equaliser. The win was complete after the break, when like he did in February, Ian Moore put his former club to the sword by scoring the winner, with a swerving long range effort. To date the last time Tranmere have came from behind to win a game.
Southend United 1-2 Tranmere Rovers – 6/10/07
After losing the first game of the 2007/08 season to Leeds, Rovers then put together an eight game unbeaten run, which was extended to nine at Roots Hall. Ben Chorley had given the visitors the lead with his first goal for the club, before Southend’s Adam Barrett quickly restored parity. After the break however Rovers took the game to the hosts and Gareth Taylor headed in a Paul McLaren free-kick to take the points and send Rovers to top of the table with 10 games gone.
Walsall 0-1 Tranmere Rovers – 11/4/09
Each season under Moore, Rovers had threatened for a play-off push but felt short, this year there was genuine belief things were going to be different. Walsall had nothing to play for, and Michael Ricketts missed an open goal in the first half. Rovers dominated throughout but couldn’t find the breakthrough, until with 10 minutes left Eddy Sonko crossed for Bas Savange to head home from a few yards out, the away celebrations could have been heard from the motorway, as a mini-pitch invasion followed. That win pushed Tranmere up to 6th, with a handful of games left, as the grand-stand finish was in place.
Port Vale 2-3 Tranmere Rovers – 17/3/07
Many may have forgotten about this classic, as the season ultimately finished in disappointment, but this clash at Vale Park showed fantastic spirit and fight by Ronne Moore’s men. With a play-off place well within their grasp at the time, Rovers stormed into a three minute lead when Chris Greenacre headed home. He then doubled the lead from the spot, after Chris Shuker had been floored. Danny Sonner pulled one back for Vale, before Leon Constantine levelled in the 73rd minute, and the game looked like turning sour for the visitors. However with seven minutes left, Kevin Ellison, who was far from a fans favourite, headed home Shuker’s cross into the top corner to seal an unlikely win.
Tranmere Rovers 2-0 Leicester City – 11/3/09
Run away leaders Leicester City came to Prenton Park, protecting their club record 23-match unbeaten run, boasting stars such as Tom Cleverly and Matty Fryatt. Tranmere needed the points for their promotion push and after a close first half, Antony Kay fired in the opener after the break from the edge of the box. The Foxes were stunned and couldn’t respond, instead Chris Powell brought down Bas Savage in the area, and Steve Jennings converted the penalty to seal a fantastic victory, and leave the visitor’s run to die without a whimper.
Leeds United 0-2 Tranmere Rovers – 2/2/08
As mentioned earlier, Gary McAllister’s returned to Elland Road, as Ronnie Moore brought his side to Yorkshire. Rovers had won the last three, and on deadline day Ronnie signed his son Ian, who was to have an instant effect. Both sides hit the woodwork in the first half, but after the break, a modern day journeyman, Jennison Myrie-Willaims curled in a stunner to silence a packed Elland Road. With 20 minutes left, that man Moore sealed the win, heading home a McLaren free-kick against his former club, as the home party fell flat and Rovers sealed a historic victory.
Oldham Athletic 0-2 Tranmere Rovers – 21/3/09
Similarly to the Leeds situation, Rovers were party pooper again a year on, but the atmosphere this day was incredible. Oldham ‘God’ Joe Royal was back at Boundary Park, to kick-start their play-off push, but Moore who previously left the Oldham hot-seat dramatically to join their League One rivals, was taunted by home fans throughout. Keeping with the hatred for the Moores, Oldham also had it in for Ian Moore, who snubbed them to join Rovers on deadline day a year previous. So with a hostile atmosphere guaranteed, the impressive travelling support were well up for it, and when villain Lee Hughes missed on open goal, the game opened up. After the break Ryan Shotton’s cross was expertly volleyed home by Charlie Barnett as the away end exploded, however the clash wouldn’t be complete without some more ‘Moore’ involvement. Steve Jennings was taken out by Stefan Stam, who saw red, in the area and Ian stepped up. He tucked it past Supple, taunted the home fans, and sealed a rare away victory for Rovers and moved them to within touching distance of the play-offs and leave Royal’s party in tatters.
So there we have it, Ronnie’s top 10 games as Rovers boss, hopefully he’ll have plenty more classics up his sleeve, as Tranmere battle to stay in League One.