In an era when managers are hired and fired faster than ever before and poorly performing managers are passed from one club to the next, in Micky Mellon Tranmere have one of the Football League’s best.
As we approach the end of 2019 and embark on a new decade, we’re taking a moment to look back over Micky Mellon’s last ten years in management. Few can rival his record.
We will come on to his time at Tranmere shortly, but first let’s jump back to January 2010. Micky was two years into a four-year spell with Fleetwood Town. At the time, Fleetwood were in the National League North battling with Southport for the title.
They were to be pipped to the title, and automatic promotion, by virtue of having three points expunged due to Farsley Celtic’s demise. This decision was made with only a week left of the season and resulted in Mellon seeing his team knocked off top spot, one point behind Southport. While Fleetwood won their final game, so did Southport, so it would be the play-offs.
Mellon is a play-off specialist, so it’s no surprise that they triumphed through the play-offs and led Fleetwood back to the National League. The next season saw Fleetwood flying again and once more they ended campaign in the play-offs.
While they lost the semi-final to AFC Wimbledon, the result would only serve as motivation for the next campaign as Mellon guided Fleetwood to a remarkable 103 points in the National League as well as the FA Cup Third Round. It meant that for the first time in the club’s history, they were promoted to the Football League at the end of the 2011/12 season.
Football is a strange game, and after a poor run of results toward the end of 2012 in League Two, Fleetwood sacked Micky despite his two promotions in four years. The club was fourth in League Two.
The passionate Glaswegian was not out of work for long. Within days he was offered the chance to become assistant to David Flitcroft at Barnsley. The pair had an excellent start, keeping the Tykes in the Championship in 2013 and subsequently signing a new contract.
National League outfit Forest Green were to twice try and attract Mellon away from Barnsley with the lure of their managerial position, but the Yorkshire club rejected Dale Vince’s approaches.
In March 2014, Micky’s time at Barnsley came to an end. He was out of work for less than two months again, this time Shrewsbury Town came knocking. The Shrews had just been relegated into League Two, and Mellon was tasked with taking them back up.
Unsurprisingly, he did so. By the end of April, automatic promotion was secured and Mellon was celebrating his third promotion as a manager. He had also linked up with Michael Jackson who became his assistant at Shrewsbury, a relationship that would become key.
The first campaign back in League One was tough, with Shrewsbury Town always a club that would have to perform well to maintain that standard of football. Perform they did, and Mellon narrowly kept them in the division and ensure a second season in League One would follow.
By now, we’re heading into the 2016-17 season. Tranmere had endured a flying start initially but then tailed off badly. Gary Brabin was sacked and Rovers were in need of leadership and direction on the football front.
Mellon was suffering a tough run of form at Shrewsbury, and despite operating at a level higher, the lure of returning to his former club was too much. In October 2016, Micky made his Rovers return along with Mike Jackson.
As we sit here now in 2019, we know just how instant his impact was. He hauled Rovers up the table and took them in to an incredible title race with Lincoln City, only to narrowly miss out and finish second with a record points haul.
The play-offs were cruel, and despite an outstanding destruction of Aldershot over two legs, Rovers were beaten by Forest Green in the final at Wembley.
Two years ago today, Tranmere were trying to turn a poor start to the following National League season into something more positive. Today, thanks to two amazing promotions back at Wembley, Rovers are in League One and giving teams a good match. Despite our lowly position, the vast majority of fans have absolute belief that Micky will move us up the division.
So, as we head into a new year and a new decade, here’s hoping that Tranmere and Micky continue to flourish together.
Micky Mellon’s decade at a glance (managerial only)
- Games: 585
- Wins: 223
- Losses: 139
- Draws: 101
- Promotions: 5
- Win %: 38.1