Oh, Tranmere Rovers you say? Well, this one has a bit of an unusual back story that harks back to our first meeting in 2011. Not before the 2011-2 League One campaign had we any reason to be in the same postcode as this lot. But that changed when we were promoted (twice) under Graham Westley. The following season saw us set the pace at the top; them first, us second. We fell away sooner rather than later. But it wasn’t a challenge they could keep up either. It then went to pot for both us in 2013-4; relegated together into League Two.
This weird and apparent need to do what the other was doing didn’t last much longer. They plunged out of the wrong end of League Two straight away. We resisted that temptation. And so it wasn’t until the 2018-9 season when we had them back in the Football League after three years away. This time, it was annoying we didn’t follow their lead as they romped through the division (again) and found themselves back in League One. It was short-lived. The decision to do everything on PPG when Covid struck saw them rewarded with an instant return to the fourth tier.
Tranmere Rovers: The Facts
Prenton Road West, Birkenhead, CH42 9PY
In the beginning was the word and, for the Super White Army, that word was “Belmont”. This is a name that came about in 1884 when the team formed to give two cricket clubs something to get up to during the wild Wirral winters. The name stuck for a massive… one year. In 1885, Tranmere Rovers became the club’s official name and the rest was history. That’s exactly why we’ll now be taking a couple of hundred words to explain it.
After finding their feet in local competitions, Rovers started to make the step up after World War One. First, it was the Central League in 1919. Then, two years later, the call came from Football League HQ. The voice said: “We’re expanding, do you want in?”
It started a long association between the club and the Football League that would last almost a full century. More on that later. Promotion took them into the second tier in 1938 – but they fell straight back down. And, once World War Two was out of the way, Rovers would spend much of the next few decades in the bottom two rungs of the ladder. Fast forward to the 1990s, and they returned to the second tier after two promotions in three seasons.
Why do we know the Rovers?
Not content with what was now called Division One, the club set sights on a first appearance in the top flight. And, for three straight seasons, they came so close; losing in the playoffs on each occasion. An outing in the 2000 League Cup final couldn’t hide the fact that they were on a path in the wrong direction. And, in 2001, relegation saw them drop into the third tier. At the time, it was called Division Two. Now, it’s called League One. And it’s where Boro’ would catch them.
How to get to Tranmere Rovers – Travel Information – Distance: 196 miles
Leaving Stevenage, head for the M1 and join the northbound carriageway. At Junction 19, bear left onto the M6 and continue your journey towards the north west. Either follow the old motorway or the newer M6 Toll to see yourself past Birmingham.
Exiting the M6 at Junction 20, join the westbound M56 towards Chester and North Wales. The next step is to take the M56 north towards Ellesmere Port and Birkenhead for 10-or-so miles. Leave the motorway at Junction 4 for the A5137 for Heswall/Bebington.
At the roundabout, take the fourth exit and head onto the Mount Rd/B5151 for Tranmere. Go through two roundabouts and – when Mount Road becomes Storeton Road – go right into Prenton Road West. The ground is on the right; signs saying as much beforehand.
At the ground, you can book a space in the club’s car park in advance – or try your luck on the day. It costs £5 per car or £10 per minibus/coach. To book your space in advance, call 03330 144 452 or email [email protected].
There’s also street parking available nearby – but do be aware of any restrictions that may catch you out and land you with a nasty ticket.
Station: BIRKENHEAD CENTRAL
Services to: LIVERPOOL LIME STREET (for LONDON EUSTON)
It’s a 20-25 minute walk from the nearest station, Birkenhead Central – though Rock Ferry is also listed as being just as close. Exit onto Argyle St/B5147 towards Helena Street and then turn right onto Pearson Rd/B5147.
Continue straight onto Church Rd/B5148 for more than half a mile. Turn right for Prenton Rd E. Soon after, it’s a left turn onto Borough Road and the ground should be ahead.
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