Ah, it really is a funny old game, isn’t it? Our promotion back to the third-tier on Saturday was a great moment, but also illustrated how quickly things change in football.
Promotion back to League One on Saturday is so sweet. After a heart-breaking implosion which saw the club dumped in to non-league in 2015, a stunning re-build on and off the pitch has seen us rise again. We’re run off the pitch better than most clubs outside of the top flight, you’d expect, and we have a manager who understands and loves the club.
It’s a great time to be a Tranmere fan. As the dust begins to settle, we can also take a few moments to reflect on what came our way during our darkest days.
When we went down from League One, and then League Two, in 2014 and 2015 respectively, fans of some other clubs seemed to revel in it. Oldham fans certainly led the way, dishing it out willingly on social media. They even trolled Ollie Banks after he fled the sinking ship at Boundary Park in favour of the ambitious, upbeat, well-supported and forward-thinking environment of Prenton Park.
Enjoy League Two again next season, Latics.
Bradford fans loved relegating us in 2014, they head to a division below us now, too. Bolton fans scoffed at our falling out of the league in 2015 as well. Well, the rivalry of the 1990s can be rekindled now the two clubs are back on an even keel. Oh, and we’re already 12 points better off.
Bury fans have twice given it the big one celebrating promotions on our pitch in the last five years. There’s no debate about which club is in a better position right now.
And then you look at the clubs in League Two this season that threw money at getting promotion – Mansfield, Forest Green and countless others. That was one of the great things about this year’s play-off final; it was contested between two clubs who did things right. Tranmere and Newport do things sustainably, live within their means and depend on good managers with well-drilled teams.
Micky Mellon and Mark Palios have taken a pragmatic approach to building Tranmere back up again. The players have all had points to prove. They’ve been left in no doubt what Tranmere is and what is required of anyone pulling on our white shirt.
You now look at the squad and what they’ve achieved in the last couple of years and you see fight, dedication and a bond with the fans that many clubs couldn’t dream of. Just take a look at some of the videos of the last 24 hours as players and fans celebrate beer-soaked, shirtless, arm-in-arm with each other.
So, while things will no doubt turn in the future and some of those clubs mentioned will climb again and the harmless banter between fans will continue, this is our moment to enjoy it. Football is an incredible leveller – there are highs and lows.
This is our moment to sit back, remember the dark, dark days of 2015, the frustration and heart-break of Wembley 2017 and drink in the sweet taste of success.
The League One line-up for next season is a great one. We’ve gone from playing league games against the likes of Dover, Maidstone, Boreham Wood and Guiseley (with all due respect) to the prospect of Ipswich, Sunderland and Portsmouth – proper games of football.
Not to mention a load of north west games against old foe like Blackpool, the aforementioned Bolton, as well as Rochdale, Accrington and a fair few others.
We will preview League One properly in the coming weeks.
For now, pour another tipple of your choosing and put your feet up.